If you're a small child look away now.
I've been trying to remember the day that I stopped believing in Father Christmas.
I must have believed in Father Christmas at some point. I'm not a very cynical person and I was an especially gullible child. Until I was seven my Mum convinced me that when I lied, a big letter L would appear on my forehead. It was so she would know when I was lying. I'd casually try and hide the L with my hand whilst telling her untruths. My early believe in that magic L is probably the reason why I have worn my hair in a long floppy fringe for most of my life.
I only have two memories of Father Christmas. The first is of queuing up to sit on his knee with my friend Stuart. Whilst waiting, we had invented a game that involved biting hard on a rope and then letting the other person karate chop it. I managed to lose two teeth. Actually lose them. They never turned up. I remember being very concerned that the Tooth Fairy wouldn't give me any money without them. So as a child, I must have believed that at least one fictional character was real and it wouldn't make sense to believe in the Tooth Fairy and not Father Christmas. Perhaps I believed in neither and was afraid that my spare teeth would be worthless and I would get no presents at Christmas unless I pretended that I believed in Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy. Maybe my parents were the gullible ones being tricked by a seven year old, who had convinced them he believed in these ridiculous notions of fairies and jolly men with presents just so he could line his pockets with presents and baby teeth money.
I hope that wasn't the case though. That would make me a very cynical seven year old.
My second memory of Father Christmas is of him drunkenly falling on me. We were staying with my Grandparents. My Mum had borrowed a Santa costume from somewhere and had managed to convince one of my uncles to put it on. The plan was to take a photo of him putting presents in the stockings at the foot of mine and my brother's bed to forge evidence that Father Christmas was real. My Uncle had gotten far too drunk in the pub though and stumbled in to the room waking me up by falling on me and shouting "Oooh ya Bugger, Ow Awch Grrr Ahhh"
You would think a drunk man falling on me dressed as Father Christmas would be the moment that I realised Father Christmas was a lie, a conspiracy dreamt up by my relatives. If anything though I think it added more credibility to the Father Christmas myth. I think a slightly drunk generous Scottish man is a very believable version of Father Christmas. In fact, that is exactly how I'm going to tell it to my children.
Finding out Father Christmas wasn't a real live drunk Scottish man must have been very traumatic for me. I imagine that is why I have mentally blocked it out. I hope it doesn't come back as a repressed memory. It might destroy me.