The Santa DebateWednesday, December 22, 2010
Father Christmas is coming to our house, whether we like it or not. I thought we were going to get some choice in the matter, but I was wrong. At the tender age of 18 months both of our girls were fully aware of the man in red and the magic surrounding him. In the interests of world peace, we are going with the masses on this.
I remember overhearing my 5 year old sister being told a few hard truths about the man in red. I could see her bottom lip crumpling as she asked me if her friend was right. There followed some explanations that not everyone believes the same thing and some arm waving about what you believe being the most important to you. All the while I was silently vowing that my children were not going to be that friend.
I like the idea of keeping to the bare bones of what Christmas means. No unnecessary snow or seasonal trimmings that tie you to one location. Perhaps Santa could be pulled back to the feast of St Nicholas on December 6th too? We had every intention of a simplified Christmas, until we had children. From the earliest age they started to bring home ideas that they picked up from elsewhere – Father Christmas, sleighs, reindeer.
It’s been fun listening to Little E sort out the logistics of Father Christmas. We have told her that adults don’t get presents from Father Christmas because there isn’t enough room in his sleigh. Little E has, sweetly, offered to help carry them for him.
Already there are signs that the illusion is waning – Little E turned to Grandad and pointed out “That’s You!” when she saw the above photo of herself waiting for her presents. There was some very quick denial and my father is considering hanging up the red hat next year, just in case. It seems that this moment of belief is, at best, fleeting. As the illusion fades, I wish for my children to treat others with a fair tolerance, understanding that what they believe and know, may be different from other children.
While it is true that we do have a choice in the matter, in the interests of world peace we will be letting Father Christmas in this year. Our children’s stockings will be hung over the fire and should we happen to hear the patter of reindeer hooves the door will be wide open.