Thursday, 20 December 2007

Difficult question

I blame The Polar Express.
I rented it as a Christmassy end-of-term treat and we all five snuggled on the sofa to watch it under a duvet last night. Bloody rubbish it was. Total mish-mash of ideas, weird bunch of characters, and worst of all, it dared to suggest to kids the possibility that not everyone believes in Father Christmas (why do kids' films DO this?)

This morning at breakfast, I was literally just thinking how relieved I was that my three (aged 7, 5 and 3) still believed in FC and the wretched film hadn't been one huge spoiler, when my eldest daughter said, "Sometime I think it's really the parents who put presents in children's stockings and not Father Christmas at all."

Don't think that! Luckily I was making a coffee and had my back to her so she couldn't see the aaarrgggh face I pulled. I turned round and her eyes were upon me, questioning. Shit. I was really stuck for what to say. I didn't want to tell a whopping great lie but at the same time, I didn't want to bludgeon her with the truth, especially as son was listening in.

"Oh, you've got to believe," I said, "otherwise you'll have to go on the Polar Express."
Her eyes brightened. "Oh cool!" she said. "I really want to go on the Polar Express!"

I made an escape with the coffee before we had to talk about it any more. (It was a crap answer, though, wasn't it? What should I have said??)

Ahhh well. Apart from this little blip, life is good, school's finished for Christmas and we are all feeling festive. And on that note, I'm going to sign off for a few days with a big fat Merry Christmas to blog readers everywhere. CHEERS!


Leigh said...

The 'truth' is going round our school too, and my pal, Jane, is desperate for her eldest not to ruin it for the three-year-old this year.

I am horrified! I must have been ten or eleven before I knew the truth about Father Christmas. Jane's eldest is six...

I feel (quite strongly) that this is one occasion where it's OKAY to tell whopping great lies to small children.

Debs said...

How ghastly you would think the makers of these films would know better. I remember when my son who is 3 years older than my daughter threatened to tell his sister that FC didn't exist. I told him that he could if he wanted to but that he would only received a stocking for as long as she believed and as soon as she didn't it would all stop. He soon shut up.

Lucy Diamond said...

Hi Leigh, oh no! Six is way too young to know the truth. I think I was about eight, I remember reading it in a book (a children's book!! talk about irresponsible publishing) and being devastated, but pretending I believed for a good few years after that because a) I couldn't bear to accept the truth and b) I didn't want the presents to stop.
Next time she asks, I'm going to come out with a whopping great lie. Thanks for your permission!

Debs - that was the perfect come-back to your son - inspired! I must try to remember that one. I just hope I don't have to use it too soon, though...

Lane said...

What do you mean whopping big lie. It's the truth!!!

Mine are 10 and 15 and they still rush into the living room on Christmas morning (after stockings upstairs of course:-) ... and shout 'He's beeeeeeen!!!!'.

Happy Christmas Lucy x

Lucy Diamond said...

Oh bless them!! I just love hearing that shout go up on Christmas morning!
Have a great Christmas yourself. xx

Jen said...

This is one of the things that, as a non parent, I find soo confusing. I mean isn't wrong to lie? Don't children find it weird when they find out. But on the other hand - how harsh is it to say, 'no darling, Father Christmas was invented by Coco Cola?'

It actually stops me from wanting children, so many dilemas.

Caroline said...

It's a vile film.
You really should just watch Elf again :)

My eldest is 10 and I think that this is the final year ... *sigh* .... *sob*

I still believe.

SpiralSkies said...

My No 2 son is 11 and at secondary school and he really still believes! No 1 son thinks it hilarious but plays along brilliantly.

When the 'truth' came out some years ago, I told No 2 that if you don't believe in Father Christmas then he doesn't come so that's why some parents have to buy presents.

It obviously worked :0)


Lucy Diamond said...

Jen, you're right, it IS wrong to lie to your children as a general rule, but I feel the Father Christmas bit is kind of an exception - don't ask my why it's all right though. Having said that, I remember as a child when I found out about the tooth fairy and Father Christmas and I felt so DECEIVED. It's a thorny one. I really don't know what the right answer is.

Caroline - I'm so glad you think it's vile too! Everyone else seems to think it's wonderful. It left me cold though - and you are absolutely right, Elf is definitely THE best Christmas film (my family is forever in your debt for recommending it!) Enjoy all your Father Christmas joy this year, hope it isn't quite the last yet.

Hi SpiralSkies Jen, I love it that your youngest son still believes. Fantastic. And that is a perfect line to use when asked about 'the truth', it's not even exactly a fib. Hoorah!

CTaylor said...

Hi Sue. Just popping by to wish you a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS! x

AussieKate said...

Hi Lucy
Long time reader, first time poster....
When it was hinted by my children (now 15 and 11 but probably 11 and 7 at the time) that Father Christmas might not be real, I suggested that perhaps as children got older Santa didn't need to come to them as he was needed for all the new wonderful babies in the world, and as each year has gone by the "stocking" has got less and less. MIne have thought this a wonderful thing, and now that they know the "truth" are happy to go along with the Santa routine, especially for the benefit of younger cousins. I thought it was a great way to ease the shock of the Santa realisation which, as parents, we all dread. Just a worked for us. Merry Christmas!

Dulwich Dad said...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Dulwich Dad!

Lucy Diamond said...

Merry Christmas Cally, Dulwich Dad and all other blogreaders!

And Aussie Kate - that's a lovely idea. Thanks for the tip!