Shared stories and learned truths.

A reasonably long time ago, when I was a very new parent, I had a highly strung little girl as my first child. Many things worried her. The idea of a man breaking into her house, even to bring lovely things, was utterly terrifying. So we let her into a secret. That father Christmas is a shared story of generosity and giving. That he doesn’t exist in corporeal form and certainly wasn’t going to be posting himself down our non existent chimney.

Other adults in my family were horrified. We were ruining the spirit of Christmas, taking all the magic away. If the magic consists of a gibbering three year old, to scared to go to sleep, you’re right, we were.

But I don’t think that is what the magic is supposed to be about. You don’t need to believe in a coke advertisement personified to enjoy Christmas and perhaps it’s better if you don’t. Perhaps you can value the thought and care and love put into finding or creating the perfect present by an individual for an individual.

And let’s not even get started on the religious aspect of it all. Because the mixed messages our society is sending there are way too big to untangle for a child.

What stories or explanations do you share in your house at this time of year?

About Jax Blunt

I'm the original user, Jax Blunt I've been blogging for 14 years, give or take, and if you want to know me, read me :)

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  1. We decided not to do the Santa thing when DD was still a too-tiny-to-know baby. I just couldn’t imagine how I would ever look her in the face after she found out it wasn’t true. The vast majority of kids gradually come around to the idea of it being pretend without any obvious ill-effects. Every now and again, one is utterly devastated by what turns out to be a big fat lie. It just wasn’t a risk I was prepared to take.

    Like you, I had people tell me that I was robbing her of “the excitement”, but frankly, I dispute the idea that desirable levels of excitement in children are without limit or ceiling of any sort. They get presents, they know who they’re from, and their excitement, whilst high, is usually within manageable levels. Because, really, who enjoys Christmas if the kids are at fever pitch, and it all ends in tears?
    Ruth J recently posted…nonsense noticeMy Profile

  2. I’m fairly sure my son knows full well it’s just a ruse by adults. I don’t remember actually believing it myself!

  3. Great post. There’s a lot for young children to take in at Christmas time. My baby cried when we visited Santa’s Grotto this year and now when she sees a picture of Santa she gets upset. So Father Christmas and Santa are not in our vocabulary this Christmas!

    Lydia x
    Only Best For Baby recently posted…Painting FunMy Profile

  4. I did have a conversation with Big and Small some time back – I think they had been arguing about it – went something like

    Them: Is Father Christmas real?
    Me: Who gives you Christmas presents?
    Them: Father Christmas.
    Me: So, if he isn’t real, you won’t get Christmas presents?
    (Glum Expressions)
    Me: So what do you think? Is Father Christmas real?
    (Eager nods)

    Our children are, when it comes down to it, very pragmatic. 🙂

  5. I never remember having a problem with believing in Fr Christmas but at the same time knowing it was a myth brought to life by people… it didn’t make him any less real to me, just because he was an idea… in fact, that made him indestructible and eternal!

    I’ve always taken that line with our children. That he’s real because we make him so. That, as parents, we become part of the franchise! In fact, the kids have often helped Edd help FC get things for my stocking… Doesn’t seem to spoil the excitement, at the end of the day, they get a haul of pressies so noone’s complaining!
    mamacrow recently posted…Picture this…My Profile

  6. It’s abit like the tooth fairy isn’t it. At a certain age you realize it’s not real but you play along with it anyway.
    When I was a teenager I once babysat for a 3yo boy on Christmas eve. Usually one to stay in his bed and go to sleep, on this night he kept coming downstairs again no matter how many times I took him back to bed. He and I are both Jewish but at one point I suddenly thought to ask him: Are you scared about Father Christmas coming? He nodded and burst into tears. After a big hug I told him the truth – that he doesn’t exist and it’s the Mummies and Daddies who bring the presents. He then went to bed happily. – As I said, they were Jewish so technically they weren’t even on Santa’s list but he’d heard enough about it (at nursery I suppose) to be afraid.
    Midlife Singlemum recently posted…4yo On Her Phone AgainMy Profile

  7. Christmas is all about Jesus in our home. I have always had a policy “no lies” with regard to myths – so when they ask an outright question they get an honest answer. I don’t encourage belief in Santa (have never allowed ‘Father Christmas’ because he is quite simply NOT the father of Christmas), or tooth fairy, or leprechaun, or elves, etc… but I let them ‘go along’ with the story for as long as they chose to. This year Stitch out and asked me, “is Santa real Mummy?” To which I replied that as I wouldn’t lie to him, no he isn’t. His response… “Oh well, I’m going to believe in him anyway!” I told him it was his choice, but Santa really isn’t real. The fact is, I think, that at 5 years old the lines between reality and fantasy are not well defined – and for him they most certainly are not! So he is happy to accept fantasy and reality right beside one another. My kids don’t even go to nursery etc, and like I say we don’t really ‘do’ Santa at home, but still my children enjoy the myth for as long as they chose it. At the end of the day, each to their own on the Santa issue – to me it’s WAY more important that each of them understand the whole reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place and the significance of THAT story for each of them, personally!

  8. I have to say I’m planning not to teach my kids (if/when I have them) that Santa exists, more that he’s a fun part of the season, I think the magic comes from family and that’s far more important
    Mrs Teepot recently posted…Silent SundayMy Profile

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