Moonlighting as Santa Claus…and the Tooth Fairy

Like most parents, I have a starring role as Santa this time of year. It’s not an easy role to play – in fact, I suspect my son might be on to me.

Last year, he walked into the downstairs guest room and found me wrapping a pile of presents. His eyes widened in horror.

‘Mummy, why are YOU wrapping the presents?’ he asked incredulously. I had seconds to think. I turned my head around, sweating from fear under my armpits. Had I scarred the boy for life? What should I say? Think, Kemi, think! My head was working like clockwork.

Christmas gifts.

Image via Wikipedia

‘Santa’s not very well so he asked me to wrap the presents for him,’ I answered. I nearly convinced myself. Surely, this 5-year old is not smarter than me, I hoped. He sighed with relief and asked how bad Santa was. I said it was the flu but assured him that Santa would recover in time to deliver the presents nonetheless.

As he left the guest room, I could still feel my heart pumping hard against my rib cage. That was close.

You see, I didn’t grow up with all this Santa stuff. We didn’t get presents, not because we were poor or not cared for but because of our culture. We focused on the reason for Christmas, which is the birth of Jesus Christ. And that was all good. However, having experienced the excitement and cheer of children on moving to the Western world, I have to say I fell for it. I remind my kids of the reason for the season but I LOVE the look on their faces when they open a present and the way they look forward to Christmas day. It’s priceless although the season certainly has a hefty price on it.

I was looking at my son’s list to Santa the other day and then I foolishly said, ‘Gosh, this is a lot. Do you think Santa can buy all this?’ My son, now 6 years old, looked at me with irritation, ‘Santa doesn’t BUY them, Mummy! He MAKES them!’

‘Oh, sorry. MAKE them, I mean,’ I said with a sheepish look on my face. How much longer can I keep this up?

My acting skills are further stretched now that my son is losing teeth. Enter the tooth fairy. The other day, he accidentally swallowed a tooth that had been dangling for weeks. He was distorted because he would not get any money for it. I convinced him that the tooth fairy would still know of it. ‘She looks into every little boy’s mouth,’ I said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll get money.’ And he did.

An eight-year old's deciduous teeth.

Image via Wikipedia

But I haven’t always been that smooth. About two months ago, he was ready for school when he suddenly said, ‘I haven’t checked under my pillow!’ and began to run upstairs to his bedroom. I had forgotten to exchange his tooth for a coin! I shot my husband a panicked look, shaking my head violently and mouthing, ‘Occupy him’.

‘Hang on,’ I said urgently, ‘Daddy wants to show you the new Wii game,’ I continued, nodding towards his father who didn’t completely understand but did as he was told.

I marched upstairs, two stairs at a time as they went into the lounge where the Wii was located. Quickly digging into my wallet for 50 pence, I found none. A 20 pence coin was all I had. I sighed. ‘The tooth fairy is broke,’ I explained, mainly to myself.

I returned downstairs from my tint as tooth fairy wondering where this tooth fairy idea came from. As if parents don’t have enough hats to wear: the bad cop hat, the good cop hat, the playful friend hat, the homework merchant hat and so on. But my son looks forward to Christmas and he looks forward to losing teeth. It sure makes growing up more exciting. I wish I got a penny for every tooth I’ve lost!

Merry Christmas, folks! Have an amazing time.


  1. Hilarious!!! Nice piece


  2. Santa got the flu – nice rescue idea!


  3. Congratulations on your new site! Way to go!
    “His eyes widened in horror.” > How hilarious!
    Enjoyed reading your great post!!


  4. That was too funny. It was interesting to see you bridging the culture gap. I have friends who have moved to the US from India and I see them going through the same thing. It sounds like your little ones are keeping you on your toes.


  5. Lovely post, Kemi. hope you have a great time. It is lovely to share the kids excitement. 🙂


  6. It’s just fun making them believe in this stuff I guess. Lol


  7. Such fun. Glad your quick answer worked. I just posted about the santa thing as well. Sounds like your Christmas was fun!


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