In the middle of November, we took the boys to see the annual arrival of Tomten (Father Christmas) at NK, the large department store in the city centre. We had prepared Little O for what was going to happen by showing him pictures of himself, aged seven months, sitting on Tomten’s lap two years ago and by playing Santa Claus is Coming to Town. So he knew what to expect.
On our way, I remembered that at the same time that Tomten arrives in a horse-drawn carriage, the Christmas windows (which are always fabulous at NK) are unveiled, so we were expecting there to be a bit of a crowd and, as we had left it quite late, that we would be standing way at the back.
You know, one thing I love about Sweden is the lack of Health & Safety concerns and the more casual attitude to events like these. In London, I am sure that we all would have been far back behind barriers, but here we wandered down to NK and found ourselves near the front door, despite arriving only ten minutes before Tomten. Helpers were handing out glögg (Sweden’s version of mulled wine, but much much better – just ask loulouloves) and pepparkakor (thin ginger biscuits) and after partaking of those, Husband managed to get right up to the front with Little O up on his shoulders, just in time for Tomten’s arrival.
Baby E and I stayed a little further back and got a glimpse of one of the windows as the curtains went up.
People then made for the front door to follow Tomten in and sit their children on his lap. We decided to head off and get some lunch as there were just too many people going in. And that’s when Little O started asking to see Tomten. And this went on every few days for the next week. So, the following Thursday, we decided that I would pick Little O up from förskola and head into the city with the boys, meet up with Husband and we’d visit Tomten.
When I collected Little O, I told him where we were going and he was so excited. All the way there he asked “See Tomten now? See Tomten now?”. We rendezvoused with Husband and walked to NK. And when we arrived, we found this sign on his chair:
Yes, he was eating his porridge and would be back soon…
So we waited about 20 minutes, with Little O getting more and more excited about meeting Tomten.
One thing you should know about the Tomten at NK is that he is just the loveliest man and he has been doing this for many years, so he’s a pro. And I expect you can see where I am going with this story now, can’t you?
Oh, yes. It was something of a disaster…
And then, once we’d calmed them both down and apologised to Tomten and put snowsuits back on and were just heading out the door, a little voice asked “See Tomten now?”.