Secrets again…

Yesterday I wrote about secrets and the effect they can have on friendships. I’m in the process of losing a friendship and I’m finding that hard to accept and I wrote what was floating about my head and I felt better for it. I’d just read my blog to Hubbie who said he thought it was a good one and then he went to put Ollie to bed. He came back after a few mins and then said ‘Ollie has just asked if Father Christmas really exists, what the heck do I say?’ Now Ollie has asked this before and we’ve managed to head him off at the pass but this time when asked by Hubbie why he wanted to know he said that it was ‘because he looks like a cartoon character..’ Whilst Ollie was putting his pyjamas on we had a quick chat about what to say. This was a secret that once told we could never get back again…

Hubbie felt that to admit that yes, Father Christmas isn’t real, would ruin Ollie’s Christmas’ for ever. The magic would now be gone and nothing would ever be the same again. I agreed though did think as Ollie keeps asking at more and more random times that this is something we really needed to face up too. He’s 8, goes to a boy’s school (you’d be amazed at what they talk about at school!) and has 2 little brothers that he could easily ruin Christmas for should he ask at totally the wrong time. We decided to come clean. We would tell him that he was right that there is no Father Christmas.

After Ollie had dug out the uniform that he should have left out last Friday, his room is a pigsty, and putting away the sharp pins he had out all over the carpet, not an anti-little brother device (thank GOD!) but just part of his construction set he was using, we snuggled him in bed and said we wanted a chat. We asked him if thought Father Christmas was real and he said no that the story isn’t true –is it? We said it wasn’t but he was created to add a further magic to Christmas. We told him that it was us that brought the presents and that we stay up ridiculously late on Christmas Eve wrapping them and sorting them into the right piles. He thought it was hilarious the mental picture of his mum and dad sneaking round the house in the dead of night trying not wake them all up while filling stockings with presents. We told him that daddy nearly always trips over something and we have to hold out laughter in but it’s fun. It’s all fun and we love doing it.

We talked about the magic of Christmas being what you make it. It can come from the original story of the birth of Jesus, it can come from the myth of Father Christmas but most of all it comes from all the traditions that each family creates of their own. The leaving out of the port, the following Father Christmas on Google earth and the biting of the carrot, eating a bit of the mice pie and drinking some of the port (no hardship really). We told him that he was on the other side of the secret now; he is in the know of the true story. (He actually said he heard us clattering about last Christmas which I’m not too sure isn’t true as we had this conversation last year but didn’t actually tell him the truth) He seemed okay with this as he does like to know the truth and is a very ‘black and white’ (there be no grey areas with Ollie) sort of boy.

We mentioned that some of the boys at school might not know and he shouldn’t be the one to tell them. We told him that it wasn’t his place and we know that he’s not a malicious boy in the least and he nodded in agreement. We also made it perfectly clear that his 2 little brothers absolutely believe and that as Ollie had 8 years of believing we think it only fair that they have as many as we can make happen. We chose to follow this path and we want it to last as long as we can. We told him that a letter to Father Christmas would still be written as that’s what we always do and he seemed fine what that.

Are we still lying? Heck yes. Have we ruined a little boys dream of Christmas? I’m not sure as I think he knew already but we both felt awful for telling him outright…

He seems to be quite chuffed that he’s now on the ‘other side’ of the secret, that he’s in the know and it’s just his brothers left that don’t. I think it makes him feel just that little bit older. This year I’m going to ask him if he’d like to start a new tradition that we’ll do every year, something like wearing new jammies on Christmas Eve to watch a Christmas film or perhaps he stays up with us and helps us wrap some presents (though I hope he takes after his father in the wrapping stakes and not me!). Maybe he’d like to write a letter to the boys from Father Christmas just like we used to do or maybe, just maybe, he might just ‘forget’ we had the conversation last night and find himself wrapped up in the magic and excitement of Christmas just as we do and pretend that Father Christmas really does exist.

I don’t know yet but what I do know is that we told the truth to a determined little boy and we explained why there is a Father Christmas at all. He knows that he’s not real but what is is the love for him from his parents as they creep around a creaky cottage on Christmas Eve trying not to wake small children by putting stockings in their rooms. He thinks we’re daft anyway but after that even more so.

It’s tough being the first born but there are good bits too. You can’t ride in the supermarket trolley anymore as being so big means you tip it over yet you watch your brothers have all the fun but you do get to go to the cinema and have nights out because you’re old enough to cope the next day. You take the good with the bad but you do, invariably, get to find out that Father Christmas just isn’t real…


About littlewhitecottage

Emma is a qualified teacher with 14 years of teaching in many different settings. From teaching adults and children at a music school to choosing to work in a demanding primary school that was failing (which meant moving from an outstanding school – her colleagues were aghast!) to running her own sewing business for the last 5 ½ years teaching all ages how to sew: Emma loves to teach.
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9 Responses to Secrets again…

  1. lisa says:

    Such a difficult one. My little boy has been asking this since he was 7. At 8 it became more of a statement “Santa is not real” but all we have said is “Well it’s up to you what you believe”. We took this position because we too have a younger child (who at the time was only four) and honestly I don’t think my son could ‘keep the secret’. Maybe we will tell him this year…we’ll see.

  2. Alison Lamper says:

    Aged 8 seems to be the average age when they find out. Peer pressure is the main culprit for ruining the magic and making them question it. But by creating something else ie. letting Ollie stay up later to watch a Christmassy DVD gives him something else to look forward to. Well done u. Tho I think ur deluding urself if u think he’s gonna forget the conversation ever took place! Lol! 🙂

  3. cara says:

    Hehehe… Mine are 30 & 25 and I still haven’t owned up!

  4. Mel says:

    Do you really have mice pie on Christmas Eve??!

  5. Sue says:

    my little (or not so little!) girl is 10 and still hasn’t asked outright about Father Christmas or the tooth fairy. I’d be really surprised if she still believed – I think she dare not ask in case these magical visitors don’t visit her any more! Plus she is very aware that she has 2 younger siblings – 1 of whom is not even 2 yet – and she wouldn’t want to spoil the magic for them :o) My mum (despite us know FC wasn’t real) still filled mine and my sister’s stockings on Christmas eve right up until I had my 1st child….it’s all part of the excitement and anticipation of Christmas…..I still love the mince pie, carrot and tipple moment in our house – it gets me in the mood for the next day 🙂

  6. fiona says:

    i had to fess up to my own ‘Ollie’ he was 9, and tbh he was a total believer until we moved north a few months before his 10th birthday and xmas, i suddenly found kids were alot more savvy round here, i knew i had to tell him as i refused to make up more and more lies to the questions, also i didnt want him to get teased at his new school as i suddenly realised he was the only believer x

  7. Alison says:

    held on to my girls belief until she was 11 when we wnet to watch Polar Express at the end she held my hand and whispered Mom I don’t hear the Bell any more ,I cried all the way home.but I still creep into her room on Christmas eveand fill her stocking with silly stuff and she is 20 this Christmas.x

  8. Tania says:

    This brought back so many memories of when my children were small. My eldest daughter hung on to Father Christmas to the bitter end it was her sister who told her young brother and boy was she in trouble. They are all adults now but we all hide presents, write letters and try to secretly fill stockings. We have another generation in the family, William is the eldest at 4 and we are all so enjoying living the magic again. Because of my childrens ages FC and his antics survived for 12 years until the story ‘broke’, your eldest son will love it all as much as you do. Enjoy – and Merry Christmas! – its only a little early ……

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