Christmas is magic - for now, anyway

I’M NOT panicking.

There’s roughly 17 days left until Christmas and I have written no cards, wrapped no presents (make that bought no presents) and have yet to organise any food for the Big Day.

Why would I be panicking?

My son, however, is taking it all in his stride as unlike me, he has only one thing on his mind. Presents.

He is writing numerous letters to Santa, almost daily, in fact: a new one every time he thinks of an extra ‘must have’ item.

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This is another reason for my panic. He can’t have them all - finances and ethics won’t allow. But how will he cope with being ‘let down’ by Santa.

I have tried to prepare him for the worst.

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“You know, Father Christmas can’t fit everything on his sleigh. He’s only got a limited amount of space and a huge number of children to deliver presents to.”

“Yes, but (there’s always a but) he is magic, so of course he can. That’s how you said he can get down chimneys, remember?”

“He is magic, but it’s not as easy as that?”

“Why? Anyway, if he doesn’t bring all my presents you can get them. Who is Santa anyway and how does he know about me? When was he born and how old is he? Is he married and who are the elves?”

Too many questions: questions that cannot be answered, with any degree of honesty anyway.

It’s all getting too uncomfortable. Here I am, weaving a web of deception about the existence of a benevolent bearded man in a red cloak when most of the time I am preaching the importance of telling the truth to my five-year-old. How will my son cope when he finds out the terrible reality. Will he ever trust me again?

I know. Too much angst. I need to relax. I coped with the knowledge that I had been duped by those I trusted most. It hasn’t made me bitter.

And anyway, I have another concern. I need to do something to try and hold back the tide of materialism that seems to be washing over my son. I want him to be more than a consumer, someone who doesn’t look to the endless pursuit of commodities to bring happiness. Is it possible?

I decide to involve him in helping me make a gift to a charity working with children in developing countries to try and make him see another side to life. He’s nonplussed and his thoughts soon go back to Santa and his sleigh.

I move on to the real message of Christmas and the birth of Jesus. This seems to be going better until he asks about Jesus’ parents and the role of Joseph in the whole arrangement, not to mention God.

“How can God be Jesus’ dad,” he asks. “Where is God anyway?”

Suddenly, answering questions about the whereabouts of Santa and the logistics of his Christmas gift-giving seems a whole lot more straight forward. Can we rewind?

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