Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Tis the season to celebrate...your birthday?

December the month we’ve all been waiting for since New Year’s Day. After Easter, Bank Holidays, weddings and the summer holidays we impatiently anticipate the end of the year festivities. Yet for those of us with a family birthday in December it’s a time to do battle with the Christmas hijackers. Already a seasoned gladiator in this month’s sport I decided this was the year to be prepared for the slaughter.

Before the shopping centre had decked their halls with holly, I had bought the December birthday presents and invited her friends to the party. In fact I was feeling a little proud of myself until I realised I’d forgotten to organise where we were going to take the birthday child for a ‘treat’ day out.

In my naivety we choose the National Trust’s Tatton Park as the place to escape the advent of December 25th. A popular heritage attraction with a deer park, gardens and farm we believed this place would be, just a little, exempt from exploiting the message of Christmas to its members. A quick trawl around the park’s dedicated website informed us that Father Christmas was in residence. Not unexpected we decide the farm’s animals still warrant a visit as well as a trip to the park 18th Century mansion, which we envisaged would be magically dressed in traditional and seasonal embellishments.

On Saturday, December 11th we arrived at a bitterly cold Tatton Park. After a long drive to reach our destination, the children are thrilled to see a challenging and pleasurable playground. Conveniently located near to a refreshment van, the playground wins everyone’s vote and that’s not just for the tea and chips butties.   
When the adults’ noses starting turning blue, we decide it’s time to leave and take in the delights of Tatton’s mansion house, and this is where the story goes sour.

A stroll from the park to the house takes in a stable yard, where the muck has been replaced by a brassy parade of till ringing outlets and fairground rides.

Once we get to the house we are in no denial that the exterior of the mansion looks inviting and we’re eager to thaw out and see more. But if we do we’re going to have to pay, even though we’ve paid our annual Natural Trust membership. Round one to the Christmas hijackers. We decide our next move is to try the farm. After a long ramble from the house to the farm, we are once again hit by the Christmas hijackers at the entrance. Tatton Park has decided that everyone has to pay full entrance fee to see the farm animals and if they like it or not, Father Christmas. Maybe I’m just cynical but why does everyone and everything have to be about Christmas during December and do I need to be a spook to discover where Tatton Park’s website detailed these seasonal price hikes?

Just because our daughter celebrates her birthday in December does this mean she will forever have to wear themed outfits, dine out on turkey and dance the night away to Slade? I hope not…but then she may embrace the tinsel and baubles and put my rant to bed, until next year.
Merry Christmas 
       The birthday cat cake


  1. I'm with you on this one, my little man is the 23rd, my biggest rant is the people who give me a present & tell me its our decision if he has it for birthday or Christmas, yet for my October child they provide 1 for each occasion. Or its wrapped in Christmas paper 'because I just couldn't find any birthday stuff' gurrrhhh! Last year & this year we said no birthday, instead on the 23rd he got a small present from us only, he chooses what he wants to do with us & a family birthday tea. In February half term he will have his official birthday, all presents then & party. Last year he said he felt he had a proper birthday, this year he choose to do it. I really feel for December birthdays, which incidently also includes my husband, best friend, grannie, grandma, mum & sister in law! Not a good month!

  2. My daughter's birthday is the first of December so the hype isn't too much but still there. I don't think she minds but she won't allow the Christmas tree up until after her birthday and if she's having a party after then too. I always leave her birthday cards up a couple of weeks as well before giving in to Christmas cards. Any later in December though must be a nightmare. Well done for trying so hard though...just a shame it wasn't possible. :(