Jamie was sat up in his bed staring at the door. He couldn’t believe it.
He had spent the past twenty minutes crying into his pillow. His beloved Santa was gone. He didn’t believe it. He couldn’t believe it. They must be lying; he’d seen him at the shopping centre last year. He’d told Santa that he wanted a bike and that’s what Santa had given him. Is he supposed to believe his parents had done that?
What about the years before that when he’d written a letter and stuck it up the chimney, how did his parents know what was on those lists? The letters flew up the chimney and then all the way to the North Pole, or had they lied about that too?
He thought about this for a while, and tried to piece everything he could remember together with this new information. Santa’s “helper” at the shops; the letters up the chimney; the presents under the tree; everything he could think of could have been done by his parents, so it was possible. He started crying again.
He wanted Christmas to be over. He wanted his mum to take it back. He wanted to feel anything but what he was feeling right now. He wanted to curl up and die.
He tried to pretend he didn’t know. He scrunched up his eyes, put his hands over his ears and said out loud “Santa is real” over and over again. He opened his eyes and looked around. Had it worked? He caught a glimpse of his stocking, and it all came flooding back.
He tried it again, first hiding his stocking under his bed. This time it was the tinsel around his doorknob that brought it all back. He scrambled around his room grabbing everything that had anything to do with Christmas and stuffed it all under his bed. He tried again. It still didn’t work, but he didn’t need anything to remind him. He knew, and that wasn’t going to change. He gave up.
He started to wonder if any of his friends knew. Had their parents lied to them too? Had they been lying to him too? He wanted to know, but it was far too early to call them. He decided to email them.
As he waited for his computer to start up he had a thought; what if his friends didn’t know? He didn’t want to make them feel the way he was feeling right now. Not on Christmas day. If they didn’t know then they had to be told. They had to know. He decided to talk to them at school so he didn’t ruin their Christmas like his parents had ruined his. He turned the computer off and slumped back to his bed.
He lay back and stared at the ceiling. This wasn’t what Christmas morning was supposed to be like. It was nearly 6am which is when he’d usually be waking up. He’d see his stocking at the end of his bed and would remember what day it was. He’d be happy. By now he’d be ripping into his stocking, finding lots of interesting and curious presents to play with.
But not this year.
He was determined to not let the adults of the world get away with this. How could they possibly think they could lie to their kids about something so important to them. It was crazy.
He started thinking about his stocking, wondering what might be in there this year. He didn’t want to get excited, but he could feel it happening. He tried really hard to ignore his desire to see what was in his stocking, to ignore his anticipation about what might be under the tree downstairs, to suppress his mounting excitement about the whole thing.
Within minutes his bed was covered in wrapping paper and everything from books to toys to the requisite orange and shiny coin. He spent a couple of minutes building the small model aeroplane and added it to the collection on his shelf. He raced out into the hall and burst into his parents room and leapt onto their bed.
“It’s Christmas,” he screamed, “time for presents!”
“Don’t you want to talk first?” asked his mum with a confused look on her face.
“Talk about what?” said Jamie, equally confused.
His parents looked at each other and a sense of relief danced across their faces. They both started grinning.
“How about some breakfast then?” asked his dad.
“No, presents now!”
“Alright, come on then.”
With that Jamie jumped off their bed and more or less fell down the stairs. It was Christmas day and there were presents and chocolate and his favourite meal of the year waiting for him. Nothing else mattered… at least for today.