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When Your Child No Longer Believes In Santa...

This Christmas I am in mourning. No, don’t worry. Nobody has died, but something very important to me has.

Just a couple of weeks ago, my 12-year-old daughter said to me “Mam. I know Santa’s not real.” As it turns out, she’s known for a couple of years but didn’t want to tell me. I didn’t want to have THAT conversation with her either, so nothing was said by either of us. In hindsight, 12 does seem a bit old to still believe in Santa, especially now she has started secondary school, but what mother wants to see her children grow up and leave all the magic of childhood behind?

Sadly, other children can be only too quick to gleefully pop that bubble of illusion. This seems to happen earlier and earlier these days, so I guess I can be grateful for the fact that my daughter’s belief in Santa lasted as long as it did.

At the time, I just felt a little sad, but it’s only now, as Christmas approaches, that I realise how many of our Christmas traditions are at an end. There’ll be no more trips to see Santa. No more watching the wonder and delight on my daughter’s face as she watches the Portable North Pole videos from the man himself. No more tracking of his progress across the world on Christmas Eve. No more leaving out the mince pies and the carrot for Rudolph. So yes, I feel like I’ve lost something. A twinkle of stardust has gone out in our home and the magic of Christmas has dimmed.

It seems like just a few brief years ago, that we were celebrating ‘Baby’s First Christmas’. Commemorative Babygro’s, baubles and bibs were the order of the day and as she grew, we saw Christmas anew through the eyes of a child and wondered at how magical it felt. Visits to Santa were photographed and documented, letters were written and ‘posted’ and we shared the wonder and awe of waking in the early hours of Christmas morning to see the miraculous pile of gifts that Santa had delivered. Good times.

But (and there is always a ‘But’), while some traditions have ended, new ones are beginning. Now that my daughter is older, we can go ice-skating together, bake Christmas cupcakes and mince pies. There will be carol-singing, late-night shopping trips, and midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Children grow, life moves on and we must move with it whether we wish to or not.

So yes, while I will miss the Christmas traditions of early childhood, we will continue making memories in a new way. My children’s letters to Santa are packed away in a box to treasure, along with the memories of Christmases past.

So, I say to all parents; if you have young children, make the most of each Christmas and enjoy every magical moment. But remember that when they grow up, there will be new ways to celebrate together. Whenever something ends, something new begins. Merry Christmas. x


About the Author

Jennifer Roche lives in North Dublin with her husband and two children. An avid content writer, Jennifer is passionate about food, nutrition and healthy living. Currently, Jennifer is studying at Griffith College, loves music and is a radio show DJ with her local community radio station, NearFM on The Grove Show.

Comments

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Nicola Fanning
This will be my first year too with no Santa, having only told my 2 boys ages 13 and 12 so I did well to last that long, but as you say we will have to make new traditions. As I love Christmas, I will miss Santa but I have lots of nieces and nephews, so I can enjoy Santa through them :)
21/11/2017 18:37:15

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