Friday, 17 December 2010

Countdown to Christmas Day 17: Granny Bloggings ponders the fat man in red...

I’m afraid I have fallen by the wayside recently with all this blogging business, luckily it was not a snowy ditch, just laziness and lack of oomph.

But here I am, Back With A Vengeance and, assuming that none of our readers are under seven, I thought I might tackle the difficult one at this time of year – do you tell them the truth or do you not?

It is difficult because you don’t want to ‘spoil the magic’, but do you want to spend the first few years of your childs’ life lying through your pearly whites to them? Do you want to confuse and maybe terrify them by persuading them that on one night of the year a complete stranger, an old man with a sack, (though, tonight not wear a stripey t-shirt, a black beret and mask, carrying a bag labeled ‘swag’, no, not a passing Frenchman but burglar Bill) can climb down their chimney and leave them sweets and toys which you will then encourage them to take and eat despite spending all year drumming into their innocent little heads that they must never, ever, take sweets or toys from a stranger!

I told CKs’ mother when she was a small child that I would never lie to her and I told her that the Santa story was just that, a delightful tale which she could enjoy in the safety of her perfectly secure home. I told her that if she believed in the magic of the story then it would be alive for her and I am willing to bet a very small amount that my 31 year old daughter will be leaving out a sherry for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph this Christmas eve, and still loving every minute of it.

I grew up in the small Dorset village of Corfe Castle and every year Santa arrived in the village in a spectacular way; sometimes on the steam train (as he does now) sometimes on a sleigh drawn by my friends’ cart horse, once, I remember, he appeared up on the roof of a building in the village square and climbed down a large red chimney, which I am sure was not there the day before or the day after. He appeared in the bedroom window below and carefully place many colourfully wrapped presents at the foot of a childs’ bed – the child dutifully stayed asleep throughout this, his five minutes of fame. I was awe struck, I remember loving every second of every Santa-coming every year and often I had been present when the plans were made by my father and the other village worthies, so I usually knew who ‘Santa’ was and what was going to happen. Did it spoil the magic? Not one bit.

Granny Bloggings


  1. Ooh, this is a tricky one isn't it? Little Miss is 2 1/2. She's only starting to know who Father Christmas is but she was justifiably terrified of him when we visited the other night. This is OK in my book. I'll cross the lying bridge in a few years! :) Thanks for linking to the Countdown to Christmas!

  2. We always told the truth. Everyone thinks we were mean as heck, but it never seemed to make any difference at all to their enjoyment when they saw 'Santa', especially when they saw him 53 times in different shops on our trips out.

  3. Fran, that is such a good point - never thought about the confusion that would arise. You would really be drawn into a web of deceit!

  4. I tried to write a letter to Santa with my 4yo today, thinking this is what I 'should' be doing, and it hit me she just thought it was barmy and wasn't very comfortable with the idea.

    Wow you grew up in an amazing place, we went to Corfe Castle once, before kids, it's gorgeous!

    Mummy squared are you there? Did you just write that fab poem on my blog?

  5. Hey Penny, yep - that little ditty was me he he! Not the real Julia after all! Love that your daughter is more sensible than you are :)

  6. If I'm remembering correctly, I think kids soon know it's a load of b*ll*cks but go along with it. I do remember being very dubious from a very young age. We never had a chimney. But it was all very exciting nonetheless.


  7. I seem to remember that when I found out I was a bit sad, not because Mum had lied, more because I didn't want to grow up! I went along with it for a year and the next year told my Mum I knew the truth but asked if we could pretend I didn't!

    You are probably right but I know I'll go along with the story just as my Mum did!

  8. To me the magic of Father Christmas was so alive in my childhood, that I want to share that with my children.
    At 9 and 7, the eldest is questioning more, but I think he believes in the magic - there's someone out there looking out for children all over the world. If it isn't FC, who is it? Hopefully, that's what the man in red is all about!

  9. What a lovely post. I never believed in Father Christmas because my 3 older brothers told me the truth earlier than I can remember. They also showed me where our presents were hidden, so no magic for me.

    With my own daughters I want to keep it alive for as long as possible, and they will find their own way eventually. Part of the 'magic' of Christmas is the belief that comes with it, and it'll be so different when that isn't part of our Christmas day anymore.

  10. I love how kids are willing to be part of the conspiracy - as far as I am concerned that is the most fun thing! Clearly this is a contentious issue... As long as everyone feels the magic of Christmas, that is what counts. Ah, I feel a carol coming on (the choral kind, not the vorderman kind).


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