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Costumed Capers (better known as ‘School celebrations’).

As Christmas draws near, the parents in M’s pre-school begin to have worried looks on their faces. Every day, as we gather to leave and pick up our toddlers, the mothers ask each other: Any news yet?

Baby Jesus is on his way, but thankfully that is not the reason for our collective unease. With bated breath we wait for news, any news, of the upcoming Christmas celebration that will inevitably be foisted by the school upon the children and their very reluctant parents.

As parents, we don’t mind celebrations, especially when we don’t have to host the party ourselves. The school does a good job of engaging the children in the festivities, drawing them in with art and music and generally making the time more meaningful. If only they could come up with a creative way to dress up the kids instead of making parents buy “costumes”, this would be a season of joy indeed.

The “costumes” are not the DIY wear-what-you-have embellished with paper angel wings or wire halos. Things have moved on a lot since you and I made that guest appearance on the school stage. For Independence Day, M’s class was given the theme of national leaders. Children who are barely 2.5 years old look cute in anything, especially costumes, but by God, do you know the prices of those outfits?!

M got away easy. Nehru is the simplest national figure to emulate (as far as his dressing goes). Inexpensive white kurta-pyjama with a topi and rose in the buttonhole. M has worn his kurta-pyjama several times since, making it worth the purchase.

I can’t say the same for the other kids in his class, though. One ambitious parent went all out and dressed her daughter as Rani of Jhansi complete with matching jewellery and sword.

Celebrations at M’s school are a’plenty. Besides Independence Day, there was Teacher’s Day (which the parents had to organise), Annual Day (yet to come) and Christmas. I suspect there might be a Sports Day too – I’m not sure as this is our first year in the fray.

These days, M has been coming home singing “I am a Christmas tree, I have lights all over me”. Nice tune, but hopefully, my not-yet-three-year-old will not take it literally and reach for the fairy lights when he sees them.

So, while we wait for Santa to make his pot-bellied appearance at the school, we hope that the children will be encouraged to participate and have fun without too much emphasis on costumes (rented or purchased) or gifts. Simple songs and games, a treat or two – that’s what a child’s Christmas should be all about.

What will M’s first memorable Christmas be like? We’ll know in a few days.

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