Watching Didsbury Son grow up makes Christmas different every year. His sudden sense of self and what is cool, a.k.a “sick”, a.k.a. “bum”, a.k.a. “top” (c.1985) means we are on the cusp of a change.
The major part of him wants to indulge the love of reindeer, snow, endless sugar and plastic toys. This general month-long spoiling is the magic of Christmas. Being little at this time of year is a great gig, who wouldn’t want to keep it going for as long as is possible?
But a growing part of him wants to be adult, to be surrounded by screens, hang his jeans below his waist and to begin the process of disbelief.
We have been here before. In 2009 Didsbury Son announced that he knew the Tooth Fairy did not exist and it was me (usually a day late and scraping change), or more efficiently Didsbury Wife (on time and with shiny coins). Breath was taken in sharply and with all seriousness we told him the truth.
The tooth fairy is very touchy, always getting hassle from the elves and the Easter Bunny, like all bullying it makes her insecure. If you say out loud she doesn’t exist… She stops coming until you apologise and admit she does. This direct approach works. We had previous experience when he announced, aged 6, that he thought he might support the red team. His suitcase came down from the wardrobe and we sadly explained that he would have to go and live elsewhere; but Santa is a whole different story.
Being Jewish has been useful in this conundrum. I am neutral in the battle of logic over love. I am also a staunch believer in magic and was brought up to believe that fairies, elves and goblins live happily among us and love Chicken Soup and kosher meat.
So this year the question of whether Santa exists has not been asked. The letter was dutifully written and contained a good balance of the unlikely, the un-buyable and the un-missable. We have an unmentioned truce. Although there have been knowing looks and nods, it’s all quiet on the existence front.
Our pastry for mince pies is in the fridge ready to roll and we have discussed what Santa likes to drink. Questions about why Santa left a receipt for Decathlon lying around last year have been swept under the carpet until Didsbury Son develops a greater handle on rationalism or I give up on trying to interest him in football.