It was inevitable, there was no question, that there would come a day without rehearsal,when I would have to rip off Santa’s beard, pull down his jolly red pants and expose him as the fraud he was.

For my 11 y/o son, it seems that regretfully, this was the year. In years gone by he had admitted to his waning belief in the idea that Santa could consume a truck load of mince pies and 70 gallons of eggnog in one evening and still drive the sleigh without incident. Or for that matter, fit a BMX bike down a chimney. However, he had bravely carried on with the farce, perhaps in fear of going without gifts if he allowed the illusion to be shattered. I too, bravely soldiered on. Scoffed mince pies, avoided bikes and crammed Play Stations into Christmas sacks to negate the chimney argument. Unfortunately, in this harsh reality-driven world, there is only so long a mother can flog a reindeer.

I had agonised over when this moment should come. Surely I could not consider myself a caring parent, if I allowed my child to continue blundering into a playground full of non-believers like a lamb to the slaughter? Yet here I’d been, masquerading as a bearded saint for so many years, how could I explain the lie and take away the magic? Luckily for me it seems, Australia Post did it for me. The final straw was being asked to accept that Christmas wish lists were delivered to the North Pole un-addressed. The charade was up.

Funnily enough, a few days later he lost a tooth. What a blow. He only got half way through explaining where the fang would be left for the tooth fairy, and there it was. The slap of reality…. Oh, and yes, the floppy-eared carrot muncher? – also your mother with a hand full of Cadbury’s. I think it was the bunny that finally conjured a bittersweet tear. He laughed at the secret we shared and the absurdity of the fantasy but also welled up with sadness at the loss.
This Christmas, he has vowed to keep the dream alive for his younger siblings as long as we split the mince pies. …….My pain is still fresh but his has clearly passed.