Why I’ve written to Santa to ask for a Spider-Man costume for myself

A couple of Spider-Man costumes are top of Chris McGuire's festive wishlist

A couple of Spider-Man costumes are top of Chris McGuire's festive wishlist - Credit: Archant

Christmas excitement is building in Chris McGuire's house with superhero costumes top of their festive wishlist

They usually don't last more than a few weeks - a month tops.

No, I'm not talking about the leaders of the Liberal Democrats, I'm referring to the manias that take hold of Sam, my three-and-a-half-year-old son. In the past we've had, dinosaurs (a lot of roaring) trains (a lot of chu-chu-ing) and Postman Pat (a lot of daddy humming that bloody tune early in the morning, and all day long). The thing is, as a parent, you ride the rollercoaster of obsession with the kid - there's no getting away from it. I know, I've tried. "Daddy, why does Postman Pat wear a hat?"

"Because he's a postman."

"But our postman doesn't wear a hat."

"OK, he's a fictional postman."

"What does 'fictional' mean?"

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"It means he's not real"

"Postman Pat's not real?"


"If he's not real, why does he need a hat?"

In the run up to Christmas, however, the little fella has latched onto superheroes. It's a stage lots of kids go through, and while all the masks and capes are undoubtedly fun, they can leave parents pulling their hair out as the little ones throw themselves into all sorts of gymnastic contortions, 'safe' in the knowledge that their superpowers make them invincible.

My son's superhero of choice is Spider-Man. I'd like to say that the obsession with blue and red spandex-clad fella is driving me up the wall, but it's my son who's doing the climbing in our house.

Watching him play, I keep being reminded of the old Spider-Man joke about the hero who only struggles with one thing - getting out of the bath. He'll stand by a wall, palms flat against the brick, then attempt to climb vertically. Nothing happens. Yet Sam doesn't seem to notice that he's getting nowhere fast - much like a house spider stuck by a plug hole. As I watch him, I can't help feeling amused and a little bit jealous. The passion and enthusiasm that possesses him during this period of Spider-mania is beyond anything most of us experience in our adult existence.

"Eat your breakfast Sam."

"My name is Spider-Man."

"OK, eat your breakfast, Spider-Man."

"I don't like toast."

"It's special 'Spider-Man toast'."

It isn't - but the inference is enough to make him gobble up several slices. If only everything in life were that easy.

Father Christmas, it seems, will be bringing my boy a Spider-Man costume on the big day. This present has created so much excitement in our household that I do worry he might spontaneously combust on unwrapping it. Every morning the first thing Sam says, upon opening his eyes, is: "Has Father Christmas come with my Spider-Man costume?" The crushing disappointment displayed, when I explain it's not Christmas Day yet is heartbreakingly tangible. I've the feeling that once on, that Spider-Man costume is never coming off. How we'll end up parting him from the outfit long enough for it to go through a cycle in the washing machine is anyone's guess.

It's a cliché to say that you rediscover Christmas when you have kids. I've never been one to worry too much about lapsing into cliché. This year, as my son's Spider-Man excitement builds towards a crime-fighting crescendo on the 25th, I'm beginning to remember what it was like to be filled with the magic of Christmas.

So, I've written a letter to Santa myself. In it I ask for two things:

1: The guarantee that the Spider-Man mania doesn't pass before Christmas Day.

2: A Spider-Man costume of my own. (It seems appropriate - with all the chaos of the big day I'll sure I'll be climbing the walls anyway!)

<BLOB> Chris McGuire is a writer and stay-at-home dad. @McGuireski