Maybe when you’re about to say something that is potentially controversial the best thing to do is just to rip it off like a Band-aid. So here it is:
We don’t plan to do the whole Father Christmas thing with The Duchess.
(Cowers in corner and covers eyes) Is anyone screaming at their computer yet?
Here’s the thing, we don’t think badly about the people who spark the imagination of a child by telling them about Santa and how his sleigh is pulled by reindeer or how he comes down the chimney, or through the mail slot, or if you have neither – breaks into your house through the window like a criminal of the night. We know that there is fun and excitement in that element of Christmas. I’m not suggesting that other people should adopt our position, I only want to explain why we think what we think. So, before The Native and I are accused of being killjoys, hear me out:
In it together: I wouldn’t take this approach if we didn’t both feel this way. I believed in Santa Claus until around the age of five, maybe six, but The Native never believed and the thing is guys, he is not scarred for life, even if he cries himself to sleep every night about his lost childhood. But seriously, he doesn’t resent never believing. Plus, it’s pretty hard to believe as a young boy when your own dad is Father Christmas at your toddlers’ group (who must have been the skinniest Father Christmas ever. I am told it was his real beard that was the important casting factor).
Emphasis: That’s not why Father Christmas wasn’t a fixture in his home, as far as he remembers his parents simply never put an emphasis on believing in him. And so The Native and I will not villainize Santa. We will not hand The Duchess a Christmas present and say, “Now remember, sweetie, Father Christmas is a fraudulent home invader and this present is from your superior Mummy and Daddy,” we just won’t make any big fuss about him.
Since she will know that Mummy and Daddy buy her the gifts we will, of course, swear her to secrecy because for those children who believe, it isn’t fair for her to ruin this time for them for the sake of being a know-it-all. And I trust that she’ll be able to do this. When I was growing up there was always that kid who still believed at 11….12…..17. The other kids would just listen, as they looked at each other with knowing eyes and a slight nod, when the believing child would speak dreamily about what Santa might bring them. It’s kid code; you don’t tell.
Meaning: I think the biggest thing I question is whether Christmas will be as magical to her if we choose not to tell her that Father Christmas is real. I love this time of year. It does feel special and I want her to feel that it’s special, too. But when questions come about presents and why we do what we do, what will we say? Instead of saying that there is a rotund stranger dressed in red that she’s never met who decides if she deserves the presents based on whether she’s been good or bad this year, I would rather tell her that we buy her presents because no matter what she’s done, no matter what has taken place, she is ours and we love her. We buy presents because as a family we want to celebrate an incredible event in history. Surely, it is just as magical to know these things and that she is loved beyond measure by those who see her at her very best and at her very worst.