And this year I have a new challenge and I need your help. For the first time my daughter will be old enough to know what is going on and to ask about Santa Claus (to our American friends) or Father Christmas.
I really, really value honesty. I rather be punched than someone lie or dissemble to me. It’s extremely disrespectful, impedes progress in projects and creates barriers in relationships. So I go out of the way to try not to say anything untruthful to my daughter. No weird stories about what will happen to her if she doesn’t behave, no idle promises to get her out the door on time (that can be tough!). That doesn’t mean that I tell her everything about everything – Children should be children as long as possible.
I also think that truth is not just a set of logical propositions, but found in stories and actions, so I try and model and convey ‘true’ things through these methods.
The Santa Claus Conundrum
So I don’t want to lie to her about Santa Claus.
But I’m not a kill joy and I don’t want her shouting across nursery ‘FATHER CHRISTMAS ISN’T REAL!!!’ leaving other children in tears or leaving the workers to patch children up after the ensuing Nursery Wars.
So here’s my idea.
Like all small children my daughter loves playing pretend games with me. At the soft toys’ tea party it doesn’t even matter whether she’s got a real cup in her hand or a made up one. I’m thinking of explaining that at this time of year people(including grown ups) play the ‘Father Christmas game‘. Most people join in and will assume you’re playing too and it’s fun. This way she’s free to join in as she pleases, but it also gives us a way of talking about parts of the Father Christmas game we as parents aren’t so keen on.
I said I needed your help.
Do you remember when you realised that Father Christmas wasn’t real? Did anyone feel deceived?
From those of you with older children I need you to help peer into the future with me. How have your children grown out of believing in Father Christmas? How do you think the ‘Father Christmas game’ approach will work out in practice?
Please also vote in the poll below and let me know what you think…