This post is also available in: Français
(Note: In France, they celebrate Christmas and give presents in the evening of 24th December. They can’t have a big, drunk, messy, Christmas celebration like we do on the 25th because they don’t have Boxing Day, 26th December is a working day for them – Cheryl)
Christmas as a Child
We all remember our family Christmas Eves when we were kids. But if we can’t, then we can easily imagine them because between then and now, they haven’t changed much.
I remember, or I imagine myself, that when it was midnight on the evening of December 24th, with my brother and sisters, we rushed to the tree to finally discover the gifts that ‘Father Christmas’ had brought us. We were very excited and hoped that this man in red and white had received our letters. Or, failing that, had read our thoughts and that he would satisfy all our desires.
Unfortunately, ‘Father Christmas’ was sometimes no richer than our parents and offered us only what his wallet allowed him, such as a small Matchbox car or an articulated doll of Steve Austin, the man who was worth six million dollars.
I remember, or once again, I imagine, I was disappointed not to receive the remote-controlled police car, or the much-awaited electric train. And, feeling betrayed, I told myself that Father Christmas didn’t deserve my admiration because he was really not nice with me and my brother and sisters!
When I think about it today, I tell myself that this ‘Father Christmas’ had merit because in fact, ‘Father Christmas’ was my ‘Mother Christmas’, and she did her best to raise her four children alone. And I remember, or I guess, that it wasn’t really easy. The end of the month, just before getting her next pay, was difficult. She would have wanted to make us happy at this special time by giving us all the gifts that we dreamed of.
But, that’s life, as we say, and we can’t always have what we want.
Now I’m in my fifties and I haven’t believed in Father Christmas for a long time. Also, I’ve lived in Moscow for ten years and the Orthodox religion doesn’t celebrate the birth of Jesus on 25th December, but on 7th January. Therefore, the holidays don’t start until 31st December. Which means that we usually work here on December 24th and 25th (and 26th!). Indeed, the Russians don’t do anything special at this time, so for Cheryl and me, this holiday has fallen into disuse. And also, we are thousands of miles from our loved ones, which further accentuates the distance between us and this special holiday.
However, the evening of 24th December, 2016, will remain in my memory for a long time, and in the memories of my Australian relatives. Since that evening, I tell myself, “Finally, this bearded and potbellied man really exists!”
Here is the reason. I swear it’s true!!!
The Christmas miracle present
At the end of 2016, Cheryl’s daughter, 6 months pregnant, and her husband visited us in Moscow.
They arrived from Perth (Australia) on December 23rd for about ten days. We planned trips and visits to different places in the Russian capital for them to discover the city, as well as a small stay in Saint Petersburg, another very interesting city.
On the evening of 24th December, we decided to go to the centre of Moscow to have dinner in a small Soviet café that we like, which has traditional Russian cuisine and is decorated in ‘Soviet Union’ style.
After eating some specialties such as Pelmeni, Chebureki, Borsch soup and other tasty things, and drinking a little vodka to warm us up, we all smiled as we left the cafe and headed for Red Square. We’d been walking for just a minute when I stopped and exclaimed, “Oh! Wow! Look at that! What’s Spiderman doing here?”
And there was Spiderman!
Cheryl and the kids looked in turn at Spiderman. It was actually a huge, helium-filled balloon, which can be found in all Christmas markets, or in all the amusement parks floating in the air. And it was in the form of an almost life-sized Spiderman! He was in an archway, behind an open gate, his head wedged between the bars.
Without hesitation, Cheryl took out her camera and took a photo of me, posing next to my favourite superhero, with a smile from ear to ear. Yes, if you know me you know that I’ve loved Spiderman for years. Don’t ask me why! Even I don’t understand it. And despite the passage of time and the wrinkles that are forming on my face, my passion doesn’t fade. I’m still happy when I see Spiderman somewhere!
After Cheryl took the photo, I asked, “Good, and now? What are we doing?”
“Take it!”, Cheryl said.
“I don’t dare, he must belong to someone. And besides, his head’s stuck between the bars, I can’t get him out.”
“I’ll do it, then!” exclaimed Cheryl, always in authority.
I stepped aside and let my wife try to free Spiderman from his trap.
It only took her about ten seconds to do it, and that’s how I ended up with Spiderman in my arms.
The best Christmas present ever!
We went as planned for a walk to Red Square. And if we look closely at the photos, we can see the joy and happiness in my smile. I’d just received one of my best Christmas presents ever!!!
Since then, in our living room, as if there weren’t enough of them, sits this huge Spiderman!!!
Despite my great age, I now wonder if this man in red and white exists, because if not, where did this Spiderman come from on Christmas Eve, 2016?
And you, do you believe in Father Christmas? Have you ever receive an unexpected gift like this?
Tell us in the comments below.
Want to receive our newsletters? You’ll get latest news, events, and other goodies first! We send newsletters no more than twice a month – we won’t spam you and we won’t sell your email details!Follow us: