You don’t need to be a parent to understand that one of the lessons our children must learn is to always tell the truth.  Interesting concept considering we’ve all just happily lied to millions of kids around the world in the last week about the overweight bloke in the red jacket.

We’ve looked those innocent little eyes straight down the barrel and warned them that if they haven’t been good through the year, that Santa may give our chimneys a wide berth.

As part of our campaign, we’ve laid a deceitful trail out to dupe them along the way.  Asked them to write letters to a man that doesn’t exist.  Left food out for reindeer that fly through the air, lead by a man on a sleigh whose time management on Christmas night is nothing short of exceptional.

We’ve snuck around the house on the big night polishing off food and drink we left for the fantasy posse.  I still remember thinking it odd that Santa and my mum were both huge fans of liquorice, but who was I to question?

And yet, knowing this universal porkie, I still found myself debating almost heatedly with author Joanne Faulkner on 5AA about her book The Importance of Being Innocent.

See Joanne made a comment in her book that we might doing the wrong thing by telling them the ‘Santa story’. “The Christmas and Easter stories are nice but I regret ever having let them believe in that,” she said.

“My oldest daughter was extremely upset when she found out about Santa. She felt like she had been lied to and it’s an awful feeling.”

Her daughter was aged three when apparently she asked “mum, what’s the go with Santa?” or words to that effect.

But as is usually the case with liars, it catches up with you.  Just ask any parent that’s kid has reached the age where our stories appear to have a few gaping holes.  One word mum and dad – BUSTED.

So as my friend recently found out, her eldest has reached the age where things ‘aren’t quite washing’ anymore, whilst her youngest is still peacefully ‘on board’.

She learnt the hard way that rolling out the Tooth Fairy story as her youngest proudly displayed her bottom tooth sans mouth, wasn’t going to be a walk in the Enid Blyton park.

No sooner had she delivered the exciting news that the Tooth Fairy would be popping through with compensation, came the big sister’s Spanish Inquisition.

So Mum, she starts begins, “what does the fairy look like?” “How big is she?”  “Does everyone have their own Fairy?”

Yes, fair to say, mum and dad had made their bed, and now it was getting a little tricky to remove the covers.

Not satisfied with Mum’s answers, she writes a tiny note to TF, with a tiny pen, and leaves it at the end of her sister’s bed.  Desperately seeking the truth!

With Daddy (aka regular Fairy) away that night, frantic calls are made, “what the hell do I do, she’s onto us?”

Counting on her 8 year old, future CIA operative falling asleep, she creeps in to check on them around midnight.

Alas, she has one eye open. “Hi Mum. What’s wrong?” Clearly she’s not going down without a fight.

Realizing the Mexican stand off is going to cost her a night’s sleep, she sets the alarm for 4.30am, and prays for exhaustion.

Thankfully, the plaintiff had finally nodded off.   Mum slides the five dollars under the pillow and scurries off’ leaving the note untouched.  Safe to say, she’s had a gutful.

The next day, whilst her little sister excitedly runs around waving her fiver in the air, big sis approaches mum suspiciously and says, “So, the Fairy didn’t write back. Why would she not write back Mum?”

“I don’t know darling, I can’t speak for the Tooth Fairy” she responds.

Creative response or not, even the greatest storytellers in the world get writers block at some point in time.



  1. My kids all believed in Santa and I don’t think it was detrimental in anyway. I’m 46 with now a 23yo, 21yo and 17yo. They all had great imaginations as kids. So it wasn’t really that difficult for them to believe. They played dressups, make believe, and 1 even had sort of an imaginary friend in their stuffed bunny who went everywhere with us. When the eldest found out he was about 10 and it was only because i accidentally used wrong wrapping. He then thought it was great and felt so important that his younger brother and sister didn’t find out. In fact we almost had to tell his younger brother(by 2 years) because we didn’t want him to get embarrased with his friends at 11 going on 12. But that was just him. He never questioned it. It probably helped that one night walking home from midnight mass at around 9yo he heard what he thought were reindeer bells from a neighbour’s house. He’d never gotten into bed and asleep so quick before. My daughter well she guessed at around 10, but wasn’t upset and once again felt special that she knew the ‘secret’ and now is in her element with her cousin’s kids who are 5, 3 and 18 mths.
    I don’t see the issue. Like I said, they had great imaginations and didn’t see us as liars, just saw it for what it was. Probably because they were older. Whereas now kids seem to find out so early that they only see it as a lie, not for the beautiful thing it is meant to be.

    • I don’t have children but I was a child and of course I like most people, know that the Santa story and the rest was one of the most wonderful stories ever told as it allowed our imaginations to run wild. The only disappoint through these stories were finding out that they weren’t true, but it never effected my feelings about my mum as I instinctively knew that the story was for the right reasons. It was sad to find out it wasn’t real but I guess that was the first mini moment of growing up. And even with that, there came a little bit of pride that I’d grown up and was a big girl then. Kids love to evolve. That moment is strangely part of the early growing up and the feeling of being ‘clever’ cause you worked something out for yourself. it’s a lovely tradition, and have any of us been damaged by it? No, we have a whole heap of other things to get damaged by. ha ha. Thanks for your story Sharon.xx

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