Downplaying Father Christmas
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!