Language
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Swedish

Insurance Funding Request

Did you know Firefly products may be funded by your insurance?

Learn More
Back to Firefly Blog

When Father Christmas is your worst nightmare

When Father Christmas is your worst nightmare

Hadley has Masklophobia: an uncontrollable fear of masks, mascots, or anyone with their their face covered (making them unrecognisable).

Sadly, something that falls into this category for him, is people dressed as Santa. He is terrified. Even if it is somebody he knows.

Presumably because the fake beards and hats cover too much of their faces. This phobia has slowly progressed to a general anxiety around Christmas related things, including singing Christmas decorations and toys.

Every year we hope that things might change.

In fact a few years ago when Hadley performed in a school nativity play dressed as a robin, we thought perhaps we had made progress, as it was hugely out of character for him to want to be part of any sort of production.

And when I dressed as a Poo Emoji (to raise awareness for Changing Places), he found it hilarious. But although this made him more confident around people in costume, the fear he experiences when somebody's face is covered is still very active.

I think perhaps worse now he is older. So it is with disappointment we start preparing for Christmas in our usual fashion.

Now, I’m not a hugely festive person – although I may have purchased some outside lights that will shock my family - but even for me, it makes this time of year a real challenge and a bit depressing.

And for Hadley’s twin, it’s a real blow.

I’d give a lot to be able to be spontaneous. To just pop out in December and not have to neurotically check ahead to make sure there will be no FC related ‘surprises’.

Of course usually we just don’t go out, because everywhere is Christmas-tastic by now!

Just the thought of accidentally bumping into somebody dressed as Santa is enough to cause Hadley hideous anxiety attacks that make him vomit.

It's so distressing for him. Bit heartbreaking for us too. Especially if it's somewhere we do actually know would be 'safe'.

It would be amazing to be able to go to the pantomime, Christmas fairs and Santa’s grotto, and do all those lovely 'build-up' activities that I see everyone else doing with their loved ones. (Social media is a real git for making you feel jealous isn’t it?!).

All too soon my kids won’t believe anymore, and we’ll never have had those special memories.

It has crossed my mind to tell Hadley the ‘truth’ in the hope that might help, but I worry about ruining things for his sister.

What do you do? How do you choose between your kids? Though ironically, Hads isn’t as concerned about the thought of the 'real' Santa popping down the chimney and leaving him a gift, because it’s his 'real' face and clothes and not a fake beard.

On Christmas Eve he is actually a lot less stressed than throughout the rest of December. So we've ploughed on in hope things would change - rightly or wrongly.

I try to take my daughter out separately to do as much as we can, because I hate the thought of her missing out and being sad at Christmas.

We've just come back from a sleepover with friends where we bought tickets to a winter wonderland, which was beautiful and full of all sorts of things that would have had Hadley heading for the hills. But it just never feels quite complete, being without the boys.

Not sharing these moments as a family. I think she feels it too.

So if I seem a little ‘bah humbug’ and not particularly full of festive cheer…. You’ll know why. Roll on 2020.

Firefly Blog

Real life stories, issues and experiences of day to day life by special needs parents and
healthcare professionals.

Sarah Brisdion

Meet Our Blogger

I am Sarah. Mum to nine-year-old twins, Erica and Hadley. They were born at 27 weeks gestation and as a result, Hadley has Cerebral Palsy - Spastic quadriplegia. We live in the New Forest with our three cats. You'll often hear me ranting about toilets.

View Sarah’s Profile

Become a Firefly Blogger

Would you like to write for Firefly? Join our blogger network of parents, therapists and professionals.

Get In Touch

Become a subscriber today

Join over 40,000 subscribers to our weekly newsletter with insightful articles just when you need them.

Join Mailing List

By using our site you agree to our use of cookies. Click here for more info.

Accept & Close

No Interest if paid in full in 6 months on

Purchases on $99+

US Customers only. Subject to credit approval. See terms below

Paypal Credit

Pay now or pay over time with PayPal Credit. Just use PayPal Credit in PayPal checkout.

Subject to credit approval.

Purchases of $99+:

No Interest if paid in full in 6 months on purchases of $99 or more.

  • A minimum monthly payment is required and may or may not pay off the promotional purchase by the end of the 6 month period.
  • No interest will be charged on the purchase if you pay it off in full within 6 months. If you do not, interest will be charged on the purchase from the purchase date at the Purchase APR applicable to your account.
  • For New Accounts: Variable Purchase APR is 25.49%. The APR is accurate as of 6/1/2018 and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate (as defined in your credit card agreement). Minimum interest charge is $2.00.
  • Individual items that are less than $99 qualify for special financing when combined for a total of $99 or more in a single transaction.
  • Multiple separate transactions of less than $99 per transaction cannot be combined to meet the minimum purchase amount.

Purchases of $98.99 or less:

Buy now and pay over time with PayPal Credit when you spend $98.99 or less.

  • If you pay your balance in full each month by the payment due date that is on your statement, you can avoid paying interest.
  • Or, make minimum monthly payments, or any additional amount of your choosing, until you've paid off your balance according to your standard account terms. Please note, interest charges may apply.
  • We'll send you email reminders when your payments are due. You can also keep track of your account and view your statements online at any time.

About PayPal Credit

  • PayPal Credit is a reusable credit line available on purchases at thousands of stores that accept PayPal. It's also available for purchases on eBay and exclusively at thousands of other online stores. Plus, it comes with the same security and flexibility you trust from PayPal.
  • If approved, we start you off with a minimum credit line of at least $250. See FAQs for more info.
  • For New Accounts: Variable Purchase APR is 25.49%. The APR is accurate as of 6/1/2018 and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate (as defined in your credit card agreement). Minimum interest charge is $2.00. See Terms and Conditions tab for more info.
  • If you miss a payment your late fee could be up to $38, even less if it's your first time. See FAQs for more info.

Please wait...