The bonus baby was sound asleep. We fetched the trampoline that had been hidden in the neighbours’ garage for weeks waiting for us to assemble it in time for our youngest child’s Christmas morning surprise. But our anticipation was short-lived: when we opened the box and stacked up bars, nuts and bolts, we discovered there was no mat.
Because it was such a big present we hadn’t bought any other toys and there was absolutely nothing of the older kids’ stuff (they were all teenagers) that would be appropriate to share. It was so late by now that every single shop, even the milk bars, had closed for the holidays.
After a drive to the factory where we had bought the trampoline, calls to the security firm whose sign was outside and the discovery that they no longer worked for the company, desperate calls to the local police, we had everyone racing to find somebody who could unlock a factory late on Christmas Eve.
Luckily, we struck gold – an employee was tracked down at least an hour’s drive away. The vision of a small child without a Christmas present to open had obviously tugged at everyone’s heart strings and engendered the most tangible evidence that there were indeed angels on high.
Long after ‘Carols by Candlelight’ had finished, my husband arrived home with a new trampoline – complete with all the bits and pieces. A bit of Christmas cheer later, we decided it was far too dark to assemble a trampoline, so we stuck bows all over it and collapsed into bed for the few hours left before the first rays of Christmas sunshine woke our boy.
Although this Christmas saga had a happy ending, there has been a long list of Christmas ‘stuff-ups’ in our house. From the time I forgot to thaw the turkey (because I had too many tastes of port as I made the Christmas mince), and the rainy Christmas day when the kids got new bikes (they had to ride round outside and track the mud back in!), to the time the dog got into the Christmas stockings and we woke to purple bubblegum stuck all over her fur, the carpet and the sofa (what was I thinking anyway – that Christmas would be a better time to allow bubble gum?).