I can still remember the tightness in my chest.
I still can feel the maelstrom of thoughts racing through my head.
It couldn’t be, and yet somehow I knew it was.
But above all else, what remember most most clearly was the sense of betrayal.
The people I believed in most in the world had betrayed me and even now I can still recall that hurt.
It was a beautiful summers day when I ran sobbing though our pub, into the kitchen beyond.
There I hid behind the kitchen door, hiding but wanting to be found, hiding but sobbing loudly.
Granny rushed in to see what the problem was.
I couldn’t tell her and so Mum was called. Again I couldn’t bring myself to tell them, I just kept crying, and repeating the words ‘ you lied’ over and over.
They had no idea what I was talking about.
I couldn’t believe that I had found out about the greatest deception that they had ever spun, and they still didn’t get it. Maybe it was the sunshine that threw them off, the fact that last Christmas was long forgotten and next Christmas was yet to be thought of.
When I eventually managed to blurt out that I knew about ‘Santa’ I saw Mum’s face crumple.
Who told you? she asked
‘What difference does it make’ I replied.
It was she who had lied, she and Dad and Granny and every other grown up I had known, and now all she wanted to do was apportion blame!!
I look back now and can see it with a different perspective, but I can also still feel that sense of betrayal, that shaky feeling when you wonder what other lies were told.
And here I am repeating the same lies to my children, conscious that someday their world will be rocked when they find out the truth.
I wish I had done it different, I wish I had been brave enough to stand up against the idea of Santa.
I adore Christmas, I love the sense of gathering, of sharing, of being on holidays but staying put. Of being surrounded by people you love and spending time with them.
I dislike the frantic shopping, the feeling that people can ‘buy’ a good Christmas.
I dislike hearing of children that see their Santa letter as an order form with no thought to the immense sacrifices made by their parents to get them gifts.
I would love to have been brave enough to stand up against this, to give our children gifts but with their knowledge that they were from us, and given out of love.
I know now that this would never take from the magic of Christmas, but enhance it, because the magic of Christmas does not come wrapped under the tree, but in the family gathered around it.
I hope when my children grow up, before they have children of their own, that they read this and choose differently, choose better, choose to opt out of the lie and yet keep the magic that really is Christmas.