At what age does it become right to burst the magical bubble of Christmas?
A nine-year-old girl from Sunderland was left devastated after recently visiting a fake Santa in the town’s shopping centre.
Sophie Robinson was told by the Saint Nick impersonator that Father Christmas is not real.
Her shocked mother Kirsty said: “When she got to the front of the queue the man dressed as Santa Claus turned round and said; “you are old enough now to know that Santa doesn’t exist and that it is people who buy your gifts”.
She added: “I couldn’t believe it when they told me. Sophie was really upset and I had to make sure she was all right. I told her he was a naughty Santa but she couldn’t understand why he would say that.”
The family later received a £20 gift card from the shopping centre manager for the distress caused to Sophie.
But why do we insist on telling our children about the mythical characters of Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny?
It is all to do with teaching our children about imagination and creativeness, we want them to be active and happy.
After all, imagination is a normal part of development and helps to develop creative minds from a very young age.
It is no different to reading your children bedtime stories.
The question is when do parents shatter the childhood beliefs that they help to create and continue?
Instead of being direct and saying “Father Christmas is not real”, parents could simply say “people like daddy and mummy take turns to help Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible”.
Also instead of hard facts, you could simply tell the story of St. Nicholas – someone who gives without expecting anything in return.