Sunday, 4 December 2011


“I believe in Father Christmas.”

The certainty in my teenage daughter’s voice was impressive.

The emphasis was firmly on the ‘I’. The statement was obviously aimed at classmates, or older, more worldly children who had tried to tell her otherwise. 

We’d been listening to some Aretha Franklin, which had caused her to plead, in an impossibly grown-up voice: “Mummy, can we turn off the old music now, and have something modern?”. 

Deciding not to push my luck with the new Tom Waits album, I let my girl loose with the hi-fi controller. Feeling festive, she put on The Best Christmas Album In The Word...Ever, and out of the speakers came the sounds of ‘I Believe In Father Christmas’ by Greg Lake. 

First, let’s get two inconvenient facts out of the way:
  1. The song was released in 1974, which, by any stretch of the imagination, is not ‘modern’.
  2. Greg Lake claims the song is a protest at the commercialisation of Christmas, and lyricist Peter Sinfield says it deals with a loss of innocence and childhood belief. 
Neither of these facts can change my daughter’s pure, simple, and joyful enjoyment of the track. Because it says “I believe in Father Christmas’. And she does.

“People say that Father Christmas isn’t real, Mummy,” she announced, halfway through the song, her eyes wide and serious.

“But I know he is, because his presents have a label on, saying they’re from Santa.”

You have to hand it to her. It’s a credible argument.

I am mum to a girl with special needs, which means she has a special approach to Christmas, compared to the average 13-year-old. Look at her face in the photo above, taken when she was six. All you need to know is now, seven years on, when you mention the C-word, she still makes the same face.

Sometimes her needs make life hard. Sometimes they make it nice. 
This Christmas stuff - it’s right up there at the top of the nice charts.

So I’m proud to stand up, state my name, put my hand on my heart, stare unblinkingly into the middle distance, and declare the following:

I believe in Father Christmas, too.

Video is Greg Lake. You know which song.

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