Unmasked (partially)

At tea-time, Gabe asked L & me: “Is it you? Is Father Christmas real? Be honest. Tell the truth.”

We didn’t tell the truth, not right then. The conversation continued. Eliza wanting to know where he lived, why he wasn’t seen and when Father Christmas had stopped bringing us presents – was it when we stopped putting something out for him and his reindeer. Robin offered the most penetrating insight: “How is he magic, if there’s no other magic in the world?” But the mask didn’t slip as the debate moved to which stocking each of them would have in December.

Later that evening, with Eliza and Robin in bed, I said to Gabe that he had asked to be told the truth and so I would. He wasn’t very surprised and said he had thought we were behind it all. We gave him a stern warning that he must keep this to himself, as he had had nine Christmases of believing – more than the other two. As I put him to bed he asked the question that I suspect had enabled him to suspend his scepticism for so long: “Now I know, does that mean I won’t get presents from him?” I reassured him that the presents would still come.

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