“Lucy said she doesn’t believe in Father Christmas any more” said the 9-year-old.
Thus it begins. The unravelling of an idea, festive fibbing, that’s been pedalled in order to keep the children in check. Leaving out whisky and a mince pie, and a carrot for Rudolph, floured footsteps in the kitchen and living room up to the Christmas tree to show someone came in and left the gifts, the concept of behaving yourself because otherwise Father Christmas won’t bring you any presents if you’re naughty… all this, this beautiful period of innocence and unquestioned parental authority, is now coming to an end. It’s the end of the age of innocence.
I can imagine the fallout. Getting them to eat broccoli because it’s “little trees” and cauliflower because it’s “fairy cabbages” – all gone.
To be fair, I never bought into all that. I didn’t believe everything mum said. I didn’t believe that if you ate an apple seed an apple tree would grow out of your head, I didn’t believe if you pulled a face and the wind changed it would stay like that (and joyously disproved it one winter morning at a bus stop, much to mum’s displeasure), I didn’t believe if you left your shoes on the table there would be a death in the house. I quickly figured that these things were are there to control what we did. A bit like Santa and the Elf on the Shelf really, but now Lucy has spilt the beans I can imagine the inquisition that’s coming.
“But who ate the mince pies if Santa isn’t real?”
“Who drank the whisky? Is mummy an alcoholic?”
“No. We pretended that Santa was real to keep your childhood joyous and to spare you of the responsibilities of grown-up life for a few, precious years.”
“So did YOU buy the presents?”
“Yes. From Argos.”
“IS ARGOS REAL?”
How can they trust us after this grand deceit? How can they trust anything we say? If Santa isn’t real what about atoms? You can’t see them. Prove atoms are real! And electricity. And history and Luxembourg and other things we say are there but can’t prove immediately. The idea of being good, otherwise Santa won’t bring you presents, has been disproved for the tissue of lies that it is. Now they can do what they want because parents can’t not buy their children presents. Unless they’ve been really bad and set fire to the school, how can we NOT buy them presents?
We’ve been rumbled.
The lie should never be started. A clinically obese man knowing where you live, and gaining access to your safely and securely locked house with the aid of a Magic Key or via the chimney, at NIGHT! WHILE YOU SLEEP??? Sleep peacefully kids! But Father Christmas is good and kind and we’ve spent ages trying to make sure you don’t get frightened witless by the idea of a stranger breaking into your house. He comes in on Christmas Eve, eats some of your food, leaves parcels…
“Is Santa part of IS?”
“No, these parcels aren’t bombs. They’re presents for us.”
“You said never take presents from strangers.”
“Yes, but Santa is different, and we’re going to meet Santa in town later!”
“I thought you said he lives in Lapland, at the North Pole?”
“He does, but he’s come to Sheffield for the day. You can have your photo taken with him and tell him what you want for Christmas!”
“But you said never to talk to strangers.”
Just got an image of the children shouting Stranger Danger in his grotto and all the elves being arrested.
I don’t remember a Santa. My aunt and uncle tried to do it but my mum, the rather blunt and joyless soul that she was at times, told me, straight off the bat, it was she who got my Christmas presents, so I’d better be good when I was with I her, or at school, otherwise I wouldn’t get anything. But my aunt and uncle carried the idea on and my uncle used to give me a card each year with some money in it. The card simply said “To Spencer, From Father Christmas” and every Christmas Day I opened it and look up at the ceiling and say “Thank you Father Christmas” and feel a little silly, but I’d look over at Roger who’d smile. I did this even when I was in my early twenties.
So now the 9-year-old has smelt a rat, because of some blabber-mouthed friend, the fear is that the 7-year-old might get a whiff too and then it’s all downhill from here. I can imagine THAT conversation.
“So the money under my pillow DOESN’T come from the tooth fairy?”
“You decide how much goes under the pillow? You.”
“It’s not quite like that but…”
“How come a big tooth is worth £2 and a small tooth worth £1? There’s a toy I’d like that costs £5. Where are the pliers?”
“Now you’re just being…”
“What do you do with my teeth? Do you keep them? Ugh, that’s GROSS!”
“No, they go in the recycling. Or we donate them to a charity for children with no teeth. I need a whisky.”
“Isn’t that for Santa? No. It’s all yours. It’s all you. You and your lies and your excessive alcohol consumption and predilection for carrots. You’ve ruined everything.”
“How much was that toy you wanted? £5?”
“It’s £10 now. It’s gone up.”
I wish Lucy had kept her mouth shut.
How did you deal with your little ones finding out the truth behind Santa? Please share any amusing stories and, as always, thanks for reading.
Photo credit: The Dollar Photo Club