How did I get myself into this situation?
Is it possible for a 10 year old not to know that Santa doesn’t exist? The problem is that I don’t know if my son knows or not. If he still believes then I’d like him to enjoy at least one more year of the fantasy, for once we have eaten of the fruit of knowledge we can never go back. But at the same time, I’d hate for him to suddenly find out at school and suffer that awful, gut churning embarrassment by being teased mercilessly.
What is the parental role here? At what age am I supposed to sit down and have a heart to heart talk with my son and explain the reality of Father Christmas? And how am I supposed to break the news without it shattering not only the enjoyment of the fantasy, but his confidence in the honesty of his parents? If your parents can lie to you about Santa, then how can you trust them about anything important ever again?
I’ve tried dropping hints to see if he suspects anything, but he has utterly failed to respond. On Saturday I went for my biggest shot yet, when the two of us went into Dumfries to get a bit of Xmas shopping. After fighting our way through heaving crowds and getting completely disorientated in only a handful of shops, we felt we deserved a break. We headed off to a café for a hot chocolate and to create a more viable plan of action.
We discussed what he wanted to buy and then I said he could help me look out for wee presents for his mum, as I liked to create a Christmas stocking for her. Did he flinch? No. Did his eyebrows knot ever so slightly? No. Did his eyes narrow? No. “OK then” he said without the slightest flicker of concern.
So I’m still left wondering whether he’s known for years and long since come to terms with it, or whether he thinks that because he’s a kid it doesn’t apply to him – Santa only delivers to children after all.
I mean, he’s an intelligent lad. Haven’t all the logical inconsistencies of the Santa story occurred to him yet? But at the same time, when we let slip about the tooth fairy last year, he was devastated.
We have friends who completely refused to indulge their children in the Santa fantasy: they were not going to lie to their kids and were very principled about it.
I don’t know. The fantasy seemed like a great idea at the time. And my 7-year-old daughter absolutely loves it. She got as excited as could be when she saw Santa in the supermarket the other day and got her photo taken with him.
Being caught up in the fantasy is great. Having known the truth for a while is fine. But it’s that transition between that’s the killer, and I’ve not found the bit in the parenting manual that explains how I guide my son through.
Still, as it’s only 5 days to go, I guess I can put off the decision until next year...