The End of The Age of Innocence

christmas gift

“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.

Bugger. Again.

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?”

“We did.”

“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.”


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


21 comments on The End of The Age of Innocence

  • Tori Gabriel

    Thank you! I just woke the baby because I laughed and I’m not even sorry. “Is Santa part of ISIS?” Brilliant (but wrong on so many levels).

    Thanks for the giggles. I’ve not stumbled on your blog before but I’ll be back later.
    Tori Gabriel recently posted…How the NHS sabotaged my Breastfeeding JourneyMy Profile

    • @adadcalledspen

      Apologies for waking your baby, but glad you got a giggle. Thanks for reading. 🙂

  • Bec

    It’s heartbreaking is what it is. I wonder if christmas will ever be as magical once mine come over to the dark side! A few previous years left I hope. Maybe we leave him whisky for a very good reason, to drown our ‘they no longer believe’ sorrows. Bottoms up Santa!

  • Becky, Cuddle Fairy

    Oh no!! We haven’t hit that stage yet – our oldest is 8 & going strong although there are “other kids” saying Santa isn’t real. It’s always another kid who blows it. I laughed at the is argos real bit lol I’m afriad my kids will be upset with me for lying to them! x
    Becky, Cuddle Fairy recently posted…Eating Out With a ToddlerMy Profile

    • @adadcalledspen

      It is always some other kid who blows the whistle. Or they find out on Wikileaks.
      I’m sure your kids will understand why you told them about Santa. If not, then best start saving for the psychotherapy now. 😉
      Thanks for your comment.

  • Michelle Murray

    I think my whole world will come crashing down when my children stop believing in Father Christmas. Its so magical when kids believe.
    Michelle Murray recently posted…National History Museum Shop – Personalised T-ShirtMy Profile

    • @adadcalledspen

      I’m sure they’ll remember the time they believed in Santa for the magical time that it was, and pass on the same traditions to their children. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. 🙂
      Thanks for reading and for commenting.

  • Amanda

    Oh NO!! I am dreading the day my own little lady finds out! I have 3 children and my two youngest have special needs so don’t really understand Santa at all so Hailey is my only little one really for the Santa.x It will be so upsetting when she finds out!x So sorry someone spoiled it for your little one.
    Amanda recently posted…Magic Biscuit BunsMy Profile

    • @adadcalledspen

      It’s okay, I’ll get them at the school gates and get my own back, tell that that that’s not really their dad or something. 😉
      I’m only joking. I won’t really do that. I think.

      Thanks for reading and I know it’s probably a tad premature but I hope you all have a lovely Christmas.

  • Erin - Yorkshire Tots

    Ahh.. I feel so torn by this! I love Christmas and my kids have picked up on Santa but I feel so strange lying to them about it. I didn’t believe my mom when she told me about Santa but then I felt like I was missing out as a kid! On the other hand you can understand the anger a bit when kids find out they’ve been duped for years. Like many parenting issues there’s no perfect solution.
    Erin – Yorkshire Tots recently posted… review & £25 voucher giveawayMy Profile

    • @adadcalledspen

      I guess we just try to make sure their time as kids is, as another commenter said, as magical as possible.
      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  • You Baby Me Mummy

    Ha ha, well we have a way to go yet as Baby hasn’t even figured out that Santa exists… well you know what I mean. I want to preserve the (lie) magic for as long as possible! x
    You Baby Me Mummy recently posted…Brittany Family Days OutMy Profile

  • Emma

    oh so true, the stories we tell eh! We actually trip ourselves up with our own tales! This made me chuckle!
    Emma recently posted…When is the best time to start revising for GCSE exams?My Profile

  • Emma T

    I’m dreading this, although I can’t really remember when I found out myself. I’m sure it’ll be N’s cousins who tell him.
    Emma T recently posted…Going back in time with Legends inflatable dinosaurs from PrezzyboxMy Profile

  • Shirley

    I think my 9 year old knows but chooses not to know – having said that she has already written her Christmas list to Santa and if I’m not careful she’ll have posted it without me having read it!
    I have a sneaky suspicion that my almost 7 year old also has a pretty good idea.
    But hey I chose “not to know” until I was about 25!

  • Sarah MumofThree World

    Eek! My daughter is 9 too. I’m pretty sure she still believed last year, but just in the last couple of weeks we’ve had ‘Will you get me this for Christmas?’. To be honest, it’s a relief. I can’t even be bothered to say ‘Well, you’ll have to ask Father Christmas’. Her brothers are 11 and 14 and we’ve kept the lie up for a long time. But I’ve told her she has to keep the magic alive for her little cousins and not spoil it for them.
    They cottoned on to the tooth fair YEARS ago, but I still refuse to just hand over a quid in return for them giving me the teeth and I’m not telling them where I’ve lovingly hidden them for all these years!
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…OverwhelmedMy Profile

  • Jenna

    I had a chat with my nearly 4yo the other day. We have no plans to do the whole Santa thing but I didn’t want him to spoil it for others so I told him it’s a game that people play at Christmas time & part of the game is that we don’t say it’s a game. He’s spent the last couple of days announcing to everyone we’ve seen that Santa’s going to bring them presents & then laughing like it’s the funniest thing ever. It’s often followed by “but shhh, it’s a secret”. 😀

  • Katy

    Loved this Spencer. Makes me giggle every time I read it.

  • Annie

    Brilliant! Love the “clinically obese man”! Well, I don’t actually love him, but you know what I mean. Very funny post on one of THE trickiest subjects, both my kids worked it out at a young age, probably partly because I had such strongly ambivalent feelings about the whole issue anyway, but the biggest problem was making sure they didn’t tell anyone at school. Keep writing!

  • Suzanne

    Oh yes I remember my last one finding out (2 years ago) and I was deeply scarred….far more so than him. He seemed to take it in his stride. My middle one however? Not so much. Goodness she HATED me for lying about the tooth fairy and she said as much – I was in the dog house for a very long time 🙁 I didn’t see that one coming at all! Makes you think though…
    Suzanne recently posted…Photo of the Week 42 / Celebrating AchievementsMy Profile

  • Izzie Anderton

    One of my kids completely flummoxed me on the Santa thing one year by posting her letter without me seeing it first. She refused to share what she’d asked for, saying only… ‘It’s OK, Santa has the list.’ She already knew that Santa wasn’t real, but thoroughly enjoyed watching me squirm as I tried to guess what she wanted.
    Izzie Anderton recently posted…The Week That Was – 19th OctoberMy Profile

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