The sweetest lie..

I didn’t quite uphold my promise.

I suppose it shouldn’t surprise. Not because you know me well, not because I have failed too often or you’ve known a few blethering skites in your time. No matter how new to me and this, we all know: Nothing is so certain in life as disappointment.

And we begin with Santa. A simple childhood myth, the promise of innocence, now under threat, because what is it except the greatest disappointment of all?


I don’t know if I ever believed in Santa. One of my earliest  memories is looking out the window one Christmas Eve. It had started to snow and mum and dad had dragged us out of bed to watch it fall. I loved snow. I remember resting chin on  hand, white flakes lighting up the black night and thinking, wouldn’t it be wonderful if he were real? if he were flying over us right now?

I think I was six. I even remember wondering if I stayed up, watching, if I would see him. If I tried hard enough could I bring him?

Disappointment is something we offer up too much of. Should we start with something that shines quite so bright in a child’s heart?

but you know what I don’t remember? I don’t remember the moment disillusionment arrived. I don’t remember it arriving for anyone, not friends, not my sister, not my brother. I remember the spirit and the fun and the bright lights, and hope…

Nor do I remember investing Santa or a bunch of presents under the tree with my childhood innocence or measure of my parent’s love.  Christmas meant parties. It meant a new  dress and shiny patent shoes. An excuse to sing and tie up the world in ribbon. It meant all my family got together, the ones I never saw and the ones I wished I didn’t. It meant mum’s cheesecake and granddad’s Rudolph tie. It meant films on tele and bulging mail sacks. Christmas wasn’t made by a myth, it was made by us.

It is the oddest thing – the strange relationship we have with story and reality. I think in many ways our ability to distinguish the two fades with time. We never have to explain that Cinderella is not real to children. That pumpkins don’t turn to carriages. And we don’t have to break their love of Santa. Mine remains. Yet as adults this strange idea of the disillusionment of Santa Claus as a key life changing moment has somehow bled out of story and into our consciousness. Its become real simply through our belief.

I’m starting to wonder if I can bring Santa here after all…

but why is it so important? The presents still find their way under the tree, the lights still shine… Why does a fat man with a big beard and fondness for red velvet matter? I think its unity. For one night across the world, all children turn their eyes to the sky looking for one thing, one thought shivering down their spine. For a little while we’re all locked in the same struggle, to survive the eleventh hour turkey run, to dodge the in-laws, to circumvent the chocolate fuelled meltdowns.. we’re all in it together…

And its petty and its silly and its frivolous – its a very fat man in red velvet. Its little men with bells on their toes. And that’s what matters. Its not about morality or shame. About righteousness and dreariness. Its about just once joining hands not to fight or to shake but to dance. And that’s why you can’t break Santa Claus. Not unless you believe in that silly myth about growing up…

Have a very merry Christmas.. 🙂



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