(the following post is inspired by this utterly beautiful piece by Libba Bray)
(also, if you're under the age of, say, 10, I wouldn't read on if I were you)
When I was six or seven, I walked in on my Mum in the shower (in, like, March), and demanded that she tell me the truth, once and for all. Was there really a Father Christmas?
Mum said later on that she wasn't going to lie to me. She'd pretend along with me, but she wasn't going to lie. So she told me the truth.
And I was sad, but not particularly shocked. I mean, it's not like it was a particularly plausible thing, and old guy on a sleigh delivering presents.
The next year, Mum was in China over Christmas for her Uni course. I wrote Father Christmas a letter that said that I still believed in him anyway, and that I didn't really want anything for Christmas, but I wanted him to deliver a present to my mum, who was in China where they didn't have Christmas. This may have been the most adorable thing I ever did as a child.
I also remember finding a tooth in a little box in my parents' room. It was my first tooth (here is where I lost it). I confronted my parents, and they confessed.
Then, a while later, I was bragging to my babysitter about how I knew the truth about the Tooth Fairy and Father Christmas. She laughed and said "yeah, I remember when I found out about the Easter Bunny.' And I sort of lost my shit. The Easter Bunny was all I had left! Never mind that it was by far the least plausible of the gift-giving trinity of childhood. They took that away from me too.
Mum asked me the other day if I would do the Santa thing with my children, and I replied that of course I would. How could I deny my child the magic and excitement of Christmas? The reindeer, the elves - it's all happening up at the North Pole, and I loved to imagine it. Tolkein's Letters from Father Christmas is one of the most beautiful expressions of parental love I've ever seen.
I know the truth about Father Christmas now, but that doesn't stop me from getting that twinge of excitement at Christmastime. And I look forward to believing it all over again with baby H, and with my own kids one day.