Wherever you are in the world I think there is a sense of excitement in the air, that feeling of Christmas and in Doha there is no exception. The Christmas decorations came out in the stores about a week ago and slowly there are subtle signs of Christmas emerging through out the city.
This weekend the boys and I decided to get in to the Christmas Spirit by taking in the Christmas tree lighting at the Ritz or as the boys call it “The Hotel”. We were lucky to live there for 2 weeks when we first moved to Doha so we kind of consider it our first home here.
The boys were so excited. “Can we see the pool Mom” asked the oldest, “Is Santa gong to be there, is he bringing the reindeer?” “What kind of car does Santa drive?” The questions continued and continued and continued and the excitement grew as we walked down to see the giant Christmas tree.
Christmas music played as parents stood arounds sipping hot chocolate. There were kids were running around chasing each other, eating cotton candy, and other sweets. It really felt Christmasy. The big moment arrived with the singing of Christmas carols and cheers from the crowd… but no Santa! “Where is Santa?” asked the middle muppet his eyes wide looking ready to burst in to tears at any moment.
I was sure they said Santa was going to be here… I was sure that they said he was going to light the tree! Now I was going to have to figure out how to tell my children that he probably wasn’t coming and that Mummy messed up! Thankfully there was a bouncy castle to distract them from Santa’s non appearance!
Just as I was about to round up the troops and head home the smallest muppet told me he had to use the restroom so we all headed back in to the hotel. The older two were with a friend outside the bathroom looking at the oversized gingerbread house when the big man himself walked through the door followed by a mob of 75 parents and their screaming children!
Santa was apparently going to be taking pictures in the gingerbread house that we were standing in front of. The mob came towards us pushing me and the boys up against the gate. This was the most sought after man in Doha and there was not going to be anyway to escape the madness unless we sat with Santa and got our picture taken.
In Canada people line up one after the other and wait patiently for their turn. In Doha there are no line ups, if there are they are usually one person long and 46 people wide. Basically the first parent to toss their child over the gate gets to have a picture with Santa. If we were not right in front of the gate I don’t know what we would have done… I might have left with three screaming children just to avoid the absolute chaos. But we were one of the lucky ones.
I left with three happy boys that had smiles a mile wide on their faces. The middle muppet hugged me when we got out to our truck and said “Mummy I am so happy I got to meet the real Santa, this has been the best night ever!”
Pretty sure I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.