Hurrah for Christmas is here, the season of goodwill, mince pies and too much Haribo. Oh, and little white lies:
Millie: Is Father Christmas real?
Millie: But how can he get round the whole world in one night?
Millie: But how can he get in my house?
Me: The chimney.
Millie: But the chimney is blocked, I have checked.
Me: Through the cat flap then.
Millie: He is too fat. Does he make himself thin and invisible?
Millie: So he is a ghost then?
Me: Yes, have another sweet and go and play with your monkey.
But the tables have been turned. Fuelled by sugar, and the lure of Grease on DVD, Millie has cottoned on to the white lie:
Me: Go back to bed, it is late, and I am watching the news.
Millie: Why are they singing “wella wella wella uh” on the news?
Me: Um. It is American news.
Millie: But I can’t sleep. There are too many cars going past.
Me: We live in the middle of nowhere. There are no cars.
Millie: It is the wolves also. They are howling.
Me: That is Tinkerbell. She is not wolf. She is irritating sheepdog. Go to bed.
Millie: But I am stressed.
Me: You are five, you have no stress.
Millie: I do. I am worried about Father Christmas’s ghost getting stuck in the cat flap.
Maybe it is time for the truth after all. Or maybe next year…
About Joanna Nadin
A former broadcast journalist and special adviser to the prime minister, since leaving politics I’ve written more than 80 books for children and adults, as well as speeches for politicians, and articles for newspapers and magazines like The Guardian, Red and The Amorist. I also lecture in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and hold a doctorate in young adult literature.
I’m a winner of the Fantastic Book Award and the Surrey Book Award, and have been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Booktrust Best Book award and Queen of Teen among others, and twice nominated for the Carnegie Medal, for Everybody Hurts, and for Joe All Alone, which is now a BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated BBC TV series. I've also worked with Sir Chris Hoy on the Flying Fergus series and ghost-written Angry Birds under another name.
I like London, New York, Essex, tea, cake, Marmite, mint imperials, prom dresses, pubs, that bit in the West Wing where Donna tells Josh she wouldn’t stop for a red light if he was in an accident, junk shops, crisps, Cornwall, St Custard’s, Portuguese custard tarts, political geeks, pin-up swimsuits, the Regency, high heels, horses, old songs, my Grandma’s fur coat, vinyl, liner notes, the smell of old books, the feel of a velveteen monkey, Guinness, quiffs, putting my hand in a bin of chicken feed, the 1950s, burlesque, automata, fiddles, flaneuring, gigs in fields on warm summer nights, Bath, the bath.