The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Father Christmas

Christmas gooseMy sister’s bedroom door was ajar. She had just started school and was closeted with her new friend, May Ashmore. Two years younger, I was feeling the age gap. Sara was five and out in the world and I was stuck at home. I hated being excluded.

When I quietly opened the door my sister spun round,
“This is a private conversation.” The tone was sharp. And they looked complicit.

I crept away but hovered in the corridor, intrigued by the whispers.

May Ashmore had come to tea. At the table Sara’s new friend had announced that she was beautiful. I believed her and studied her carefully. Eventually after the whispering epsiode her mother arrived in a car to collect her. Only one family in our road had a car.

Finally alone with my sister, I badgered her to reveal the “Private Conversation.”
“You are too young.”
“No I’m not.”
“If you knew this fact it would spoil things.”
“What things?”
“Well, Christmas.”

How could anything spoil Christmas? Even a fact. I continued to needle. The more I was rebuffed, the more I was determined to know. I pestered and cajoled – just couldn’t rest. Finally exasperated she turned to me.

“If I did tell you, you’d have to be very grown up about it and not respond like a three year old.”
I assured her that I wouldn’t.
“You are going to hate hearing this. ”
“I won’t. Pleeeease tell me.” I’d love it if she shared the secret.

“You are not allowed to cry or ever tell Mummy.”
Now I wasn’t so certain. But I needed to know.
“I won’t tell Mummy.”

Looking back I feel for my sister. Children don’t want to lie to each other about important things and she must have been upset herself. She looked me straight in the eye and swallowed.

“Father Christmas doesn’t exist.”

No news flash, however terrible, has ever had quite the same impact.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Eleanor the Great,

    It’s good to read other peoples Christmas memories.

    Your Santa Claus was given a much more wholesome diet than the sherry and mince pies that are traditional in the UK!

    Glad that you are enjoying the blog. The tip on reviving hard jelly was handy for me too. I meet so many people on my travels that want to share their tips and discoveries – it’s great.

  2. Eleanor the Great

    This story made me all teary! I really don’t remember when I learned about Santa Claus, but I was the oldest, and I remember at a fairly young age being involved with helping Mama prepare in the evening, especially on those years that my father had to work the holidays.

    Our tradition was one of cookies for Santa Claus (ALWAYS home-made), and usually some milk, but we never forgot to leave a carrot or two for the reindeer. They did hard work, too! I don’t know if my sisters remember differently, but I really think that they didn’t hear the ‘truth’ from me! I was too much of a suck-up to Mama around the holidays to tell them such a thing. *grin*

    I love reading your blogs, especially hearing about your recipes. The post about saving a batch of hard jelly was a life-saver for me – I had overcooked some blueberry preserves. Keep up the brilliant work!

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kate

    I can’t remember the pretending part just the facing up to the fact that there wasn’t this really good bloke who wanted to make everyone happy.

    Quickly forgotten when I stretched out and felt the weight of the stocking laid on the end of the bed!

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