The weather’s nice, very mild for this time of year. Whilst we hurtle as a nation past 500% of our income in debt the Christmas lights are on. The tills are open, the false bonhomie of Christmas parties is in the air and Didsbury Son is weighing up whether or not Santa will come if he confesses that he no longer believes that a man and reindeer will deliver his presents on 24 December.
It’s our fault. When the tooth fairy failed to deliver after an incisor he soon recanted his disbelief.
When, as a small boy he declared support for the wrong coloured football shirt it was easy. I panicked and flapped at this squeaking vision; imagining a lifetime of trips to the wrong place and shirts with the wrong sponsor. Didsbury Wife remained calm. Beaming with love she appeared with his bag packed. With light in her eyes and love in heart she told him it was okay. Okay, but he would have to go and live with Nana and the cat would probably never again talk to him. It worked. It worked so well that Didsbury Son has no interest in football. He is neither red nor blue and it’s probably a good thing. As I spend my weekends gurning and grimacing at 5Live, planting my potential joy on the slender shoulders of skilled mercenaries who have no concept of the Bovril : Pie necessity I feel a little envious of his indifference.
I digress as usual. Being Jewish makes it easier. Santa never brought us presents: but he did occasionally pop around to try Grandma’s soup. This year Didsbury Son, now in High School, is faced with a huge ethical dilemma; logic versus faith.
Faith could, should and will win. However, he is now (almost) sure that Santa doesn’t actually unhitch the reindeer on the roof, pop down the chimney with Prancer, eat a pie, sniff the wine and give the reindeer a carrot.
It is nothing to do with the logistics, the fact we don’t have a chimney or that his present has tags in Didsbury Wife’s handwriting.
This important vestige of Christian childhood is potentially going to be scuppered as Didsbury Son cannot see how St. Nick and his pet could find space between the bouncers, baby gyms, changing mats and feeding cushions that now fill our living room