Christmas and the Joy of Childhood

Well another Christmas has passed, decorations have been put away and hot cross buns have hit the supermarket shelves.

I love Christmas, although I am finding I am not so good at the present giving anymore. I really enjoy hanging with my family and the cooking and preparation that goes into the big day.

I have very fond memories of my childhood Christmases spent at our beach shack with a mountain of presents covering our native cherry tree for all of my brothers, cousins, grandparents, aunties and uncles, my parents and me waiting for us to discover early in the morning.

In the lead up to Christmas this year, I was struck by the online discussions regarding telling our children the “lie” that is Santa or Father Christmas.  Now I do believe families need to decide what works for them, I am not here to judge your choices, as parents we deal with enough of that on a daily basis, but I thought I’d share my thoughts.

Children live in a different world to adults, they have active imaginations, they are free thinkers, creators and pretend to be whoever and whatever they choose to be every day. It is us adults who have become hardened to the realities of responsibility who are robbed of the fantasy and fun that is Christmas and childhood.

We give children dress ups and play corners so they can pretend, make believe and practice the real and the unreal all around them. Do we tell a 4 year old they are lying when they dress up and pretend to be a fireman, an astronaut or Elsa? No, we understand the fun, the joy and the importance of letting your imagination run free.

So why do we get so upset with the story of a generous and kind man in a red suit who brings children presents? As adults, we place the sinister connotations on it, children don’t see the negative.

I also read a mother’s response as her children reached the age where they guessed, or some school friends told them, that Father Christmas isn’t real, it is the parents who give the presents. She took each child out for a date and explained they had become grown up enough now that they too become Santa’s. Her children experienced no sense of loss, but of graduating to the ranks of being a Santa too, it was a beautiful transition from the story to the reality.

I continued the story this year with my children even though my youngest is 15, they all had a present from Father Christmas under the tree, although it wasn’t the iPhone 7 she was hoping for…

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