The Father Christmas Conundrum

Posted 23 November 2021

Can we ask you a personal question? Are you a traditional or a chocolate person? Both? Perhaps you’re neither, or of a completely different Lego or perfume persuasion. Whatever your personal preference, it’s nearly time to start opening those advent calendars and we for one, are pretty excited. The focus of advent has moved over the centuries, eventually bringing us to the 24-day period we know today. A time when the Church looks forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus and when those both in the Church and out of it get ready for Christmas Day.

Exciting as advent is with all its promise, calendars and cinnamon, it also serves as an effective countdown clock for foster carers. Reminding us all to buy the right presents, be present and face the Father Christmas conundrum.

In our last blog, we shared some of our top tips for being prepared as a foster carer at Christmas. This time, we thought we’d delve a little deeper into a big issue – Mr FC himself. The jolly chap with the red suit can cause a real dilemma. Believing, not believing, worry and excitement can all feature in a foster child’s reaction to him, along with a whole host of other emotions. As advent begins, start delving into your child’s beliefs about Santa so you can be as prepared as possible for the big day, or rather night.

Depending on their age and background, your foster child may or may not believe in Father Christmas. Now is a good time to find out which side they fall on and make the rest of your family aware accordingly. For those that do believe, try to discover if they have any traditions they would like to stick to. Does Father Christmas usually enjoy a mince pie left out for him, for example?

It is possible your child believes, but is convinced they are on the naughty list as there have never been any presents. As the big day approaches, their behaviour may change as they act out this belief in a bid to avoid pain. Throughout advent, be consistent as you remind your child they are good enough and there will be presents they can keep. We know this might not be easy if their behaviour is challenging, but we believe in you too!

Believers may also be worried about FC finding them at a new address this year. A great idea is to get your child to write a letter to Santa, possibly with a Christmas list, but definitely with their address on it. For extra confirmation, the NSPCC can send a personalised letter from Santa (if appropriate).

Believers and non-believers alike may be uncomfortable with the idea of anyone bringing gifts at night. In all honesty, we’d be anxious if we were told a strange man was going to come into our bedroom in the dark, while we were asleep and give us a present. For foster children who have experienced abuse, this idea can be traumatic. Now is the time to begin reinforcing the fact that NO-ONE will be putting presents in your child’s room. Stockings can just as easily be filled in the living room, or even outside the front door.

If you have any queries about the Father Christmas conundrum or Christmas in general, please get in touch. We wish you a happy advent, chocolate or traditional.