Does Father Christmas like Spaghetti Bolognese?” asked my son. I told him that I was sure he did, as Father Christmas always eats up all his food, especially broccoli (you have to grab these chances while you can!). “I’m going to leave him Spaghetti Bolognese on Christmas Eve.” So concerned was my son that Santa might be bored of mince pies, he was planning an alternative feast to entice his sleigh in our direction. It made me realise the power that the man in red has over his believers.
Last year, when I told him that we would be at Granny’s house for Christmas, he promptly burst into tears, as he didn’t think Santa would know where to leave his presents. I had to ‘phone’ Santa to give him the address. My mum even invested in one of those ‘Santa Please Stop Here’ signs to put his little mind at rest. He is still so small and it’s so lovely that he still believes: I’m sure I’ll be distraught when the day comes that he no longer wants to leave a three-course meal for Father Christmas and crudités for Rudolph. My husband will miss the whisky too.
But how do I keep the dream going? His friends at school will eventually catch on and fill him in. Friends with older siblings may let on earlier than I would like, but how can I stop it? I can’t keep him at home throughout December! He’s already enquiring how Santa can be at the local garden centre and shopping centre at the same time. The dodgy Santa impersonators out there don’t help my cause either – last year we visited Father Christmas at Brighton Pavilion and his beard was grey, not white – it took me weeks to convince my son that it really was him.
When asked by grey Santa last year if he and his cousins had been good, my son took it upon himself to grass up his cousin by telling Father Christmas that Bella had been naughty that morning by upsetting her sister. He even told him she’d been put on the naughty step. The look he was given by both of his cousins showed that they too are most definitely still believers.
I am a little torn though. I can’t help thinking that once the penny drops and my son has recovered from the disappointment of knowing that everyone who loves and cares for him has been lying to him all these years, Christmas may be a little cheaper. My son truly believes that Santa makes everything himself and that he has all the time in the world to do it, so Christmas lists are lengthy affairs. Every time he passes a shop window or sees an advert on television, another couple of items are added to the list. I try and explain that Santa may not have the time to make everything or try and reason that Santa can’t afford to give every little boy everything on his list. To this I’m simply told, “ He will” and “He can”. So who am I to argue? I wish Christmas still had that magical, wonderful feeling for me. As adults, the magic can get lost a little along the way. That’s why I’ll most certainly be making extra Spaghetti Bolognese so we can leave it by the chimney on Christmas Eve. As if I haven’t already got enough to do.
Children’s belief in Santa Claus is all part of the magic of Christmas. but it's tricky keeping the fairy tale going as they get older. Laura Jandac looks forward to another year of trying