Two-year-old Egg wants nothing to do with this Santa character, who is beginning to show his bearded mug in every second mall and TV advertisement.
“No thanks,” she said when I tried to convince her about the fun side of this merry old man.
“He brings good little children gifts,” I said.
“No thanks,” she said.
“You don’t even have to talk to him. He comes into the house at night when we are sleeping and he leaves gifts for everyone. He watches you throughout the year and knows who is naughty – and those kids won’t get anything.
“But if you are a good little girl, as you are despite the liberal dose of genes which you have received from your mother, you’ll get the most wonderful presents.”
Her little face reflected sheer horror and suddenly I understood how she must see the poor old Saint Nicholas – a Peeping Tom who breaks into houses at night and invades toddlers’ privacy.
“No, he loves little children,” I tried to champion Santa’s cause. But she had heard enough.
“He must leave Eva alone.”
“Hurting isn’t always a bad thing,” I tried one more time. “Your mother hurts me quite often, but I still adore her.”
“No thanks,” Egg insisted. “Boetie is naughty, he won’t get prezzies. Fifi the cat is naughty, she won’t get pressies. Egg is good, but Santa must leave her alone.”
And that gave me the uneasy realisation that we are raising a suspicious, paranoid generation.
Not because we are failing as parents, but because we have created a society where the sane approach is to avoid a suspected old paedophile in a red suit.
In a world where we allow leaders to plunder the state coffers, why should a child trust a sweaty old bloke who keeps an eye on kids all the time?
If it’s possible to see a pornographic video clip of an ex-Cabinet minister on the internet, why on earth should the most fragile little members of our society think it is acceptable to embrace someone as doubtful as Santa?
I will continue to devote some energy to selling the idea of Father Christmas to her. Don’t we all deserve a dream to cling to?
But, in the meantime, I’ll spend double that energy to changing our world. Because we just may have bigger problems than children who dislike Santa.