What Does Father Christmas Bring to Your House?
When I first had S, I was determined that we wouldn’t do the whole “Father Christmas/Santa is watching and he won’t bring any toys if you’re naughty” charade. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I felt I didn’t want to join in with the whole Father Christmas lie at all.
The problem is that as parents you don’t really get to decide on that one; schools, nurseries and people in the street will all bring Father Christmas into the conversation with your small child from a really young age, and to me it seemed more cruel to not do a Christmas stocking than to just go along with it all. I didn’t want S to think this big bearded character was bringing presents to all of her friends, but not to her. And really, it can be fun to visit a grotto or two during the festive season and get into the Christmas spirit.
And so, for her first Christmas I made S a stocking and that’s what we hang every year. It’s not very big; every year I find that I’ve bought more stocking presents than will fit into it. The contents of the stocking are the only things Father Christmas brings, though.
When I was little, we had a pillowcase each with Father Christmas on, which we used as a stocking. As well as presents in our stockings, several of the gifts under the tree were from Father Christmas. Looking back, I think my stocking was mostly full of things like the breakfast cereal my parents couldn’t afford all year round, and toiletries and sweets – nothing expensive, but presents that were great for filling up a whopping great pillowcase!
While it’s nice for kids to think Father Christmas has brought them lots of lovely things, I still remember that feeling when my sister whispered to me, they’ve been lying all along; I saw Dad creep into my room with my stocking! I don’t want S to feel like I’ve been lying to her all her life! More importantly though, I am a self-employed single parent. I spend a lot of time working. I try to keep my work for when she is either at school or in bed but there are inevitably times when I need to do something urgent while she’s there. Each day on our way home from school we talk about how our respective days went, and mine usually involves a lot of “and then I did some work.” She knows I work, and that I spend most of my day working. I want her to associate that with the presents under the tree: Mummy does work; she gets paid; we have nice things.
I don’t want some red-clad stranger taking the credit for the things I’ve worked bloody hard to buy for her. But also, it’s important that she understands all the time I spend in front of this laptop does bring nice things for her; there is a reason for it. Obviously, she’s four years old so I don’t expect her to grasp this idea just yet – but it needs to have been there from the outset so that as she begins to understand the concept of money and working.
I’ve seen several different suggestions on social media as to how parents should approach the situation when children realise Father Christmas is not real. Some say you explain that Father Christmas is the spirit of Christmas, so it’s alive in all of us. Others say “he’ll exist as long as you believe in him.” In one example a lady made a big deal of telling her son he had been very kind that year, and she thought that now he was ready to become Santa by secretly buying a present for someone who needed it each year – a nice idea, but which parent has the time (and money) to facilitate buying random gifts for strangers in the run up to Christmas? And of course there’s always the option of just holding your hands up and saying “yep, you got me; it was all a lie.”
I’m not sure how I’ll approach the subject with S when the time comes, but I do know that the revelation will be easier for her to deal with when Father Christmas has not been the main present provider for her entire life.
What does Father Christmas bring to your house?
Yes i am totally with you when it comes to stockings and what Father Christmas brings. Especially even more so now that I too am a single parent and I work hard to earn the money to buy Keira things. I have always said, like you that I need to work so that w can have nice things and today was the day she actually repeated it back to me! We were driving home and i said that I would have to do some work when we got home as I'd not done anything for a couple of days due to festive goings on! She answered back with " I know mummy and that is fine. You have to work so that we can go out and have fun and buy nice things" This child is going places!! Also why the bloody hell should a fictional character get all the glory?! he never did as I was growing up so i am not starting now!