by Barrie Bramley , a father, a husband and an eager student in the art of loving life. His passion is to create and see the world differently. From time to time he writes for ‘‘Jozikids’. Visit Barrie on his web or twitter page.
Meet Jordan and Carli. Ages 10 and 7 respectively. This is an important piece of information. Important because it’s Christmas time. Important because the odds of a 10 year old and a 7 year old still believing in Father Christmas are remote. With respect to these two beautiful little girls, I’m afraid that this is the case.
I’m Barrie. Father to said beautiful girls. 41, and afraid (see above). Afraid because I have learned that once children work out that Father Christmas doesn’t exist, things change. And when it comes to purchasing presents around Christmas time, everything changes. Dramatically.
I long for days gone by when my two girls looked to that rather portly man, with the long white beard, from the North Pole to meet their Christmas present needs. Those trips to the local shopping mall to sit on his lap and feed him specific hints and clues as to what they expected he’d drag down our chimney to be opened on Christmas morning. And the letters we wrote together, and then posted, and recently e-mailed to him, in his mystical toy building city in the snow.
And on Christmas day, as we gathered around the tree at 04:30 in the morning, there was always a sense of amazement and magic that he’d delivered anything at all. It didn’t matter that their entire list hadn’t been executed. He was a busy guy. He had a lot of kids to visit last night. That he stopped in at our particular geographic location was beautiful and fatty with the beard deserved all the gratitude my girls could muster.
<deep sigh> Those were the days. The good old days as many might say.
This Christmas things are different. This is the first year that Jordi and Carli have both known that fatso with the whiskers is a hoax. A cute fantasy invented by parents to create a romantic and magical energy around Christmas time. Together, I have learned, their new found worldview is powerful in it’s double pronged attack on me.
I have also learned that whoever invented tubby-in-red, didn’t do it for romance and magic. They did it for economic health and safety. This year, instead of a letter to his majesty of the north, they have a wish list for me. Two wish lists. And honestly, they’re not wish lists as much as very direct shopping orders with a double helping of expectation thrown in for good measure. I have nowhere to hide. I have no-one to blame when half of Incredible Connection and Toys R Us aren’t sitting under our Christmas tree on the 25th of December. I’m exposed. Naked. I have no escape from having to face the consequences of keeping this lie alive for so long.
I feel wronged by parents who have gone before me. Why didn’t they warn me of the regret I would one day have to face? I know why! They’re in the same boat as me, except with teenagers. They’re facing bankruptcy this year once again, and the only amusement they have is knowing that an entire new class of 2010 is being inducted as they were so many years ago.
Still it’s a wonderful time of the year in my home. I’ll recover financially by October 2011. And even though they know Father Christmas isn’t real, there’s still a magical feeling in the air. And why shouldn’t there be? When we stop for a while and think of those we love, and do our best to find some treasure that will light up their souls for a while, there can only be magic in the air. You’re a good guy St Nic. I just wish you’d survived for a little while longer in my home.