November 21st, 2017

Demythologising Santa

Ivy, our eldest grand-daughter, came back from school saying, "There's someone in my class who says Santa isn't real".

I forget how I handled that one as a young parent  but I don't remember having to face direct questioning.  If I had I'd have practised evasion until I was sure the game was up. I don't believe one should lie to children. Sooner or later they'll work things out for themselves- and that's good. Sometimes I think they pretend to go on believing so as not to upset their parents. 

When I was a kid myself I wrestled long and hard with the theology of Santa. It seemed incredible to me that one man could deliver presents to the whole world. I concluded there had to be two of them.  How old was I? Five, probably. Same age as Ivy...

I imagined the two secret Santas, disguised in overcoats, flat caps and mufflers- like petty crooks from an Ealing comedy- rendezvousing in pubs and cafes to plan their yearly strategy.