Peta Todd on the importance of keeping the magic of Santa alive.

IT’S that lovely time of year where parents can talk a child down from the slightest wobble with a gentle reminder that the big man himself, ol’ Saint Nick, is watching and judging them.

Quite a sinister thought if you think about it for too long, so we just skim over the details and skip back to the jolly guy all rosy and merry.

 Peta Todd believes it's important to keep the magic of Santa Claus alive

Peta Todd believes it's important to keep the magic of Santa Claus aliveCredit: Stewart Williams - The Sun

I will not tell a lie and say I have never used this tactic, because just today it was as beautifully effective as ever.

But I do draw the line at one of those “Elf on the shelf” creeps – never will that shady little dude be visiting my house, life is hard enough without forgetting to set a scene for that pretend hooligan.

But back to the bearded guy, the magic really steps up when children start being aware of Father Christmas. I remember with my eldest son Finnbar just loving the complete wonder he had about the whole thing and how he just didn’t question it.

It was magical and that was that.

 Peta admits it’s hard when you have children of different ages and at varying stages of belief

Peta admits it’s hard when you have children of different ages and at varying stages of beliefCredit: Stewart Williams - The Sun

By the time he was five or six he started asking innocent questions like, “How does he fit down chimneys?” and “What if you don’t have a chimney?”
But he was still appeased with “it’s magic” and general whimsical foggy answers.
Then he made friends with a child at school who had an older brother.

‘What a horrid sister I was’

Well, an older sibling is one surefire way to blow the glitter off and ruin the make believe.

Just like that, Finnbar’s eyes were opened. However, there was a twist as Finn had a baby sister, Delilah, and she was still small enough to not really understand the season.

The conversation had to be had. “Obviously we must never say anything that would take any sparkle away from your sister’s Christmas, must we?” I said with a nudge, nudge and a wink.

I casually explained it was a win-win for him because if he continued the act, the Santa presents would keep coming, but if he said he didn’t believe, poof, no more. That worked a treat.

It’s hard when you have children of different ages and at varying stages of belief but just like a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, Christmas is only as magical as its youngest, most nausea-inducing excited member.

It’s a no brainer when reasoning with the older ones about how to buy their silence . . . “You want ‘Father Christmas’ to be good to you then you best keep silent night!”

I say all this with a slight guilt as I have a sibling who is nine years younger and I vividly remember telling them that Santa wasn’t real and that it was Mum who gave us presents, and that I even knew where they were. What a horrid sister.

Luckily I think they thought the idea that my mother was “making” the toys (which I didn’t actually say) was so ludicrous my cruelty was wasted.

Basically, silence has a price . . .  and you have to keep those older siblings sweet in order to keep hearing those sleigh bells on Christmas Eve.

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