Father Christmas

A Christmas Tale: Daddy, is Father Christmas real?

The leaves are turning crisp and falling from the trees. The days are swiftly becoming colder. And, of course, we’re now approaching that time of year again – Christmas… The season of goodwill. I question that last bit, but that’s another story.

For me, this now means that I have two very excitable children running around the house. Cassia is just over a year old and kind of aware that something magical is about to happen. And Elodia, being eight, is especially clued up and thinking carefully about the presents she wants Santa to bring.

I do love this time of year, but it’s not without its headaches and considerations.
Last year, Charlotte and I were discussing what to get the girls. We both like the idea of giving them educational toys, so were very happy when Elodia asked for a telescope.

She also wanted a new Lego set. But, at four-hundred quid, I wasn’t sure that Santa could stretch to that. We were going to have to wait and see – perhaps good old uncle Bill could take that request. When I was a kid, I was happy with an orange, a bag of nuts, and a Christmas cracker. What happened to those days?

Anyway, apart from the expense, the other problem was ‘belief’. Elodia asked me: “Daddy, is Father Christmas real?”

The first thing that struck me about this question was “you’re only seven years old”!
I was getting on for late teens before I’d even considered such a prospect.
Oh well, modern times and all that.

Anyhow, she asked an honest question… so, I told her: “Elodia, darling, of course Father Christmas is real, how do you think he knows what presents to bring you?”
To which she chirpily replied: “Oh, I thought you and mummy just ordered everything from Amazon, like you do with your beer and crisps, and mummy’s gin and chocolates”.

At this point, every fibre in my being wanted to tell her “you’ve got that right”, but how could I?

“Oh no, my love. We write to Santa, telling him what a good girl you’ve been during the year, and then he comes on Christmas Eve and puts the presents around your bed whilst you are asleep”, I told her, whilst forcing a happy, smiley face. She seemed contented with that. She does try to stay awake, but she’s never managed to do it. However, I dress up as Santa, just in case.

So, Christmas Eve night finally arrived. Elodia was bursting with excitement and was adamant that she’d stay awake to see Santa. We left him some cookies and a large glass of brandy, naturally. Plus, some milk for the reindeer. Yeesh, we were stretching the boundaries of imagination that night, even by a young child’s standards.
Charlotte took her up to bed. I then went in and read her a story, and she gently drifted off to sleep… we were winning. Me and Charlotte had a few drinks downstairs and watched A Christmas Carol – the 1938 version… It’s great.

We finished watching and I was now in full-on Christmas spirit – possibly had something to with the gin we’d drunk. Anyway, it was time to don my Father Christmas suit and beard.
We’d filled a sack with presents. And, yes, uncle Bill had come up trumps – he’d bought the Lego set.

Right, I was ready. All I had to do was be quiet. Get in, get on, get out.
I crept in and spotted the brandy. Obviously, I had to drink it otherwise it would have looked odd. After all, everyone knows that Santa loves his brandy.

I knocked it back in one, forgetting how much we’d put in there. I then started to cough, and could see that Elodia was stirring. I prayed she wouldn’t wake up and kept deadly still. I’d got away with it. I then knocked back the milk and scoffed the cookies.

As I turned around, I knocked over the light, tripped over the sack of toys, and landed face down in a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle which was only a few pieces away from full completion. Suffice to say, we’re now back to square one with that. Yet still, Elodia remained asleep.

I gently laid all the toys around the foot of the bed, and quietly congratulated myself on a job well done. I then turned to exit the room. “Daddy, can you get me a glass of water, please?”, Elodia quietly asked, completely out of the blue, giving me the shock of my life.

I panicked. She was clearly awake. I put on my best Father Christmas voice and exclaimed: “Oh hello my dear child. You must be Elodia. It’s me, Father Christmas, not your daddy. But I will tell him to bring you up some water. Merry Christmas, young lady”. I then bolted out of the door.

The next morning, I was praying that she would have forgotten all about it. But, as she was excitedly opening her presents, she turned to me and asked: “Daddy, that was you last night, wasn’t it?” I felt bad about lying to her, but I couldn’t let on that Santa didn’t exist.

So I told her: “Yes darling, it was me. Father Christmas caught Covid so he had to ask all the daddies if they could just take over for that one night. After all, he didn’t want to infect all the children across the world.” And with that, she was happy. “Daddy, you were an amazing Santa. By the way, can you have the jigsaw puzzle you knocked over completed by the end of the day?”

You can read last year’s Christmas tale here.

Buon Natale and have a fantastic New Year.

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