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Downplaying Father Christmas

December 5, 2015


I was 6 when I stopped believing in Father Christmas, but I tried not to disappoint my parents by telling them what I thought just in case they still believed in him. I didn’t realise that they were just playing along with everyone else. It was quite disappointing to find out I’d been lied to by grown-ups.

If I had my way, I would have been more honest with my son about Santa. The only reason I’ve kept quiet is that other family members asked me ‘not to spoil the magic’. So I’ve tried to steer a careful course, treating the character of Father Christmas like any other beloved fictional character. I never said, “You do know Buzz Lightyear isn’t real, don’t you?” and I’ve resisted saying that Santa isn’t real.

I don’t ask my son to write a letter to Santa. It’s important to me that Christmas is not seen as being all about presents. One year, my son came home from nursery with a Christmas list consisting of a piece of paper with pictures of toys cut out of an Argos catalogue. It annoyed me very much.

Also, I think the whole idea of a stranger spying on children to decide whether they are ‘good or bad’ is creepy. There is no ‘Elf on the shelf’ in this house!

A couple of years ago, my son wanted to put some snacks and a carrot out on Christmas Eve for Santa and Rudolph. I ate the food rather than let it go to waste. When asked whether I had eaten the snacks, I admitted that I had. My son was a bit cross, because he had intended this to be a test to find out whether Santa was real or not. However, this was soon forgotten in the excitement of Christmas day.

I’ll let you know how this year goes!




17 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephanie permalink
    December 5, 2015 5:07 pm

    It’s really hard as my parents kept the magic going for years. I must have been about your age 6/7 when I woke up, as “Santa” came into my room ! Full beard, red suit and I could hear sleigh bells outside my window. Little did I know this was my parents! They did this just in case for years which is an amazing deception, but it kept me believing for years. I have done the same for my daughter which until the other day she was becoming increasingly sceptical about so I told her. To me a very small part of her childhood died that day. I don’t do the Elf on the shelf it’s just creepy, but part of me does struggle with not being honest about Santa, Easter Bunny and The Tooth Fairy ( I will not apologise for the tooth fairy dance! ). However with a child who has for a long time felt she was an Atheist, I do struggle as I loved the magic.
    I think you are doing the best you can, I also would have been annoyed over a stuck on catalogue list from nursery. I have always asked K, occasionally had the odd letter. Most include pony, puppy, world peace and something you think I would like! Which I guess says it all about our daughter.

  2. December 5, 2015 6:58 pm

    I remember the point I knew Santa wasn’t real. I asked for something and i got some Aladin toys – I was gutted. I will let Hayden believe in the fun of Christmas for as long as he wants … I won’t take the fun away from him 😀
    Charlotte x

  3. December 5, 2015 7:22 pm

    I never believed in Santa – I don’t think I personally missed out on anything (I decided for myself very young that he wasn’t real), I guess it’s each to there own. x

  4. December 5, 2015 10:31 pm

    My daughter sussed it out last year. She pulled her father aside on Christmas Eve no less and said “Daddy, I don’t think Santa is real”. She had already figured out the tooth fairy. I’m pleased, really, because we have brought her up to think scientifically, and to challenge things she doesn’t think are right, and she worked it out by herself. I’ve explained it to her as being a big game that we all play because it’s fun. To be honest she never liked the idea of Santa – she used to cry when we went to see him when she was little, and she got very freaked out by the idea of a strange man coming in to her bedroom overnight. She chose not to visit him at the school Christmas fair, which was fine by us. Her brother is still very much enthralled by the idea, and spent a long time explaining to Santa what Shopkins are, and exactly which set he would like for Christmas!

    I have a whole Elf on the Shelf rant, but may save that for another day!

  5. December 5, 2015 10:38 pm

    My children properly believe in Father Christmas and I love it. It does worry me about the deception a little but I remember a friend decided from the start to tell her child there was no such thing and I thought that was so sad. It’s part of childhood and growing up so I feel like a little deception to keep that childhood magic alive is ok!

  6. December 6, 2015 9:23 am

    I love the magic of Christmas and will encourage Father Christmas to be part of our festivities for as long as possible (even I still put a stocking out for me each year). For me the ‘being real’ part isn’t what we concentrate on, it’s the whole magic of the season. I ensure the girls are thoughtful and care for others, they buy girls for a our local giving tree, donate to the food bank and spend most of December in church through their school – I don’t personally believe that by asking Santa for a few treasured gifts makes December ‘all about presents’. Each to their own. Merry Christmas.

  7. December 6, 2015 7:26 pm

    Wow, you’ve really set me to thinking as you make a lot of really valid points in a way I’d not thought of before. But I do remember the year I myself stopped believing and how it happened. I keep meaning to get Aaron to write to Santa, but we haven’t pulled it off yet and as a result I don’t actually know what he wants. I asked him the other day and he said an electric train track but I don’t know was he serious so getting him to do the letter would be a sure fire way of checking and making sure he’s happy on the big day with what is under the tree. Liska xx

  8. December 7, 2015 1:52 pm

    I am glad I am not the only one, who now a grown up, finds it odd that children believe this weird old man has a key to their house to let himself in whilst you sleep!

  9. nessjibberjabberuk permalink
    December 7, 2015 2:48 pm

    A friend of mine has two daughters and the elder one took great delight one year in telling the younger one that Santa didn’t exist. On Christmas day they came day and found no presents and were told Santa hadn’t been as they didn’t believe he was real!

  10. December 7, 2015 5:02 pm

    I understand your point of view but I loved believing in FC, fairies, and anything else magical when I was a child, and my kids were the same when they were small. On Christmas Eve we still leave out sherry and mince pies for FC and carrots for the reindeer, even though my youngest is now 13! For me it’s a fun tradition rather than anything sinister.

  11. December 7, 2015 8:52 pm

    Each to our own I say. Whatever works for you.

  12. December 8, 2015 5:15 am

    Interesting, I can see where you are coming from, I never say he’s real but I do let them know I believe in him, My eldest is a teen and doesn’t but he still plays along with the younger two.

  13. December 8, 2015 6:41 am

    I remember when one of our neighbours spoiled it for me and she was severly reprimanded for her efforts. We had stockings well into our teens though and mine do now

  14. December 10, 2015 5:29 pm

    As a family who has been through the hell of losing a child, it would be very easy to let it all slip into skepticism and tell Emma, who at 6, does already suspect that Santa is not real, that she is right. But I refuse to do it, as I still want her to have a bit of magic and innocence in her life. She will have plenty of time for reality when she grows up.xx

  15. December 14, 2015 10:24 am

    My daughter is only 4 (five on Christmas Day funnily enough) so I like to think we can keep the magic alive a while longer. She loves the idea of Father Christmas and while it won’t last, for now we’ll do our best to make it a magical Christmas and birthday for her 🙂

  16. December 18, 2015 9:07 pm

    I think it is a very personal thing – I kept the magic alive with my three older children until they were 11! Pickle is only 3 and the magic has come flooding back 🙂 Kaz x

  17. January 15, 2016 6:53 pm

    Definitely agree Elf on the Shelf is creepy and I struggle with Santa too. I don’t have a problem with him believing in Santa, he’s just got to the age where he is sceptical and asks lots of questions. I hate lying to him, however ‘white’, so end up trying to dodge the questions!

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