Christmas is magical. When I was a little girl I remember the heart banging, hand shaking, brain encompassing excitement of Christmas eve night. Hanging my stocking by the fireside with care, leaving out mince pies and whiskey (because in our house Santa liked whiskey), and going up to bed to pretend I was asleep.
I’d lie in bed for hours, staring at the ceiling, longing for it to be Christmas day until I eventually passed out in exhaustion, then when 5am came and I could wait no more, I’d tiptoe to my mum’s bedroom door and creep in to see if she’d let me get up yet. As my mother was invariably as excited as I was, we’d then be able to go downstairs to see my stocking. That first tentative peer around the stairs wall, that first glimpse of the stuffed stocking, the mince pie crumbs and the VERY empty whiskey glass, all illuminated by the flashing of the Christmas tree lights was so breathtakingly magical that it makes my palms sweat just thinking about it now.
When I worked out that Father Christmas wasn’t real, it was a real kick. I was gutted. It came to me slowly, not in a hit by an older child breaking the news to me, but still, when it was confirmed that it was a lie, I remember the thud in my chest and the magic was gone. Not totally gone, I am a huge Christmas geek, and until adulthood I still hung my stocking by my mum’s fireplace and excitedly hurried downstairs to get it. I still gathered it up and took it into my mum and dad’s bedroom. I still carefully went through it examining each thing carefully and scoffed chocolate buttons for breakfast whilst my mum jiggled about with uncontrolled joy and my father covered his head with a pillow and complained about the time. But still, it never quite glistened in the same way again. Not in that way of childhood innocence where reindeer fly and elves make toys in a candy cane filled workshop in the snow.
Then I had a child and suddenly the magic was back. I hand made her a stocking and embroidered her name on it. I delighted in filling her first stocking, for the month old baby girl, with bath toys and tiny socks. And now, for the three year old, I have a bag filled with dinosaurs and spinning tops and chocolate snowmen upstairs just ready for her. And I am so excited. I’m fairly certain that the number of toys I’ve bought for the children’s stockings are so excessive that most won’t actually fit inside and they’ll need a stocking gift heap instead. I love it so much I cannot explain it.
So why the question? Why do I ask: Santa, yea or nay?
However much I love the magic, however much I love taking Rose to see Father Christmas, however much the stocking presents make me feel the same magic of childhood in a whole new way, I am hesitant.
Do I want to lie to her? Do I want to tell her that yes that strange man does come into your house via the fireplace (being gas is irrelevant, Santa has magic), and yes he gets to every house around the world at midnight?
Before I had her I swore I wouldn’t lie. I was totally okay with taking her to see Santa and being part of the Christmas tradition, but I had no intention of actually telling her the whole Santa shebang, more that people BELIEVE in Santa and if she hangs up her stocking there will be gifts in it. So basically I intended to half ass it. I actually, until recently, thought I was still sticking to that plan. At least I intended to. I didn’t want to lie to her, as an adult I find the idea of Santa creepy (I don’t really want her keen to sit on strange men’s laps and thinking strange men creep into her house at night when she’s asleep), and I wanted to stick to my plan of “some people believe this”. I do genuinely think lying to kids is a bad move!
The reality though? I’m pretty sure I’m all in. Hopelessly so. I want the magic for the kids. We’ve got both Miss Rose and Z on Christmas eve so there will be two stockings hung, two heaps of presents waiting, two excited faces peeping through the living room door to see what they’ve been left by the power of Christmas magic. Mince pie crumbs will be left and Santa’s beer (in this house Santa likes beer) will be drunk (several times probably… in this house Santa REALLY likes beer).
When she’s old enough to actually ask, to doubt the story and question me to see if I’d lie to her, I might go back to my original plan because I don’t know if I can actually face lying to her outright. I want her to trust me and if I say to her face “Of course Santa exists!” and a year later she finds out I am capable of lying like that, will she ever trust me again? Or will it forever coat everything I tell her, everything I promise her is true, with a layer of disbelief? If I say “Well, a lot of people believe in Santa” and try to talk around it in full half assed mode, I might be able to maintain the magic without doing the thing I’ve always sworn I wouldn’t.
But for now? Three year old Miss Rose and two year old Z will have the magic. And for as long as she accepts it without question and allows the stories and music and Santa visits and excitement to give her the experience she deserves she will have the magic. Because Christmas is magic and my Christmas memories are some of my favourite, and I want Miss Rose to grow up with that same heart banging, palm sweating, head swirling excitement!
Santa, yay or nay?
It’s a yea. It has to be.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!