We might still be in November but my little boy has already seen Father Christmas and got his order in early for the big day. He waited patiently in the queue, anticipation building, and he may have even sneaked a peek inside Santa’s grotto before it was his turn.
He was softly spoken and polite when he went in, even sitting on his knee to talk to him, despite being almost taller than the man himself. As soon as he left though, gift in hand, he turned to me and said: “Mum, that wasn’t the real Father Christmas.”
“Oh I think it was!” I replied. “Why do you say that?”
“Because he took off his beard and I just saw him holding it in his hand!”
Oh. Ok then. “Well maybe love, the real Father Christmas doesn’t have a real beard and he sometimes takes it off when he gets hot,” I replied, trying to bluff my way out of it. But it wasn’t to be.
This exchange came just a few days after the bombshell: “Mum, I don’t believe in Father Christmas.”
My heart sank, I was stricken with panic and also I must admit mild amusement. But you’re only five! I thought. Surely this can’t be true.
“What?!” I asked. “But why on earth not? Of course there is Father Christmas.”
I could tell he’d been mulling something over. “Well because mum,” he said. “How does he really know what you want? Because by the time the letters get to the North Pole they will be all icy.”
“Aha,” I said. “The thing is, the postman has a special bag, which keeps the letters free of ice until they arrive.” He seemed to buy it. “Ok, I DO believe in Father Christmas!”, he said. Thank heaven for that.
Each year, as the Christmas lights switch on, the trees start going up and excitement mounts, I find myself stressing slightly over whether or not I’ve got my story straight about Santa. Does he bring all the presents, or just the ones in the stocking and under the tree?
Are some gifts from St Nick, and others from mum and dad, or does the bearded one just bring them all?
Do we buy some of the presents and send them to Santa, or does he just know?
So many questions, which are bound to be asked when you’re stressed, multi-tasking and off guard. People, prepare for the Spanish Inquisition, festive style.