Like many children this Christmas, Shota Noonan, a year-4 pupil at St Mark's Church of England primary school in Bath, Somerset, faces the tricky dilemma of whether to tell his parents that his belief in Santa isn't real.
'I know they'll figure it out eventually,' explains Shota, 'but I still think it's too soon to tell Mum and Dad that I've never really believed in Father Christmas.
For many children, watching the happy smiles on their parents' faces as they sneak around leaving presents from 'Santa Claus' at the end of their beds defines the magic of Christmas, and by telling them that they know it's a load of bollocks, something of that magic would die.
Shota's classmate, Joe Daniels agreed. 'My two love all that stuff. They put out a carrot for Rudolph and a glass of brandy for Santa, they make me write a note, the works. I think it would break their hearts if they found out I didn't believe a word of it, so I play along for their sakes. Well, it's for the parents, isn't it, Christmas.'
Maintaining the illusion of belief in Father Christmas is getting harder, however, and has involved some contrived and hastily-cobbled logic.
On a shopping trip with his father, Shota saw the store Santa getting changed through the staffroom door. 'Dad looked at me a bit confused, so I just said that it must be one of the people Santa gets to help him while he's so busy making toys at the North Pole, and that seemed to satisfy him. But he knows that I know that the Polar ice-cap is melting, so I'm going to have to think of another 'white lie' to get round that sooner or later.'
Joe also had a close call when he was discussing Santa with his Mum and she was unable to explain how Santa got to all the children's houses in one night. 'Her lip started quivering so I suggested something about timezones and travelling close to light-speed, and she nodded gratefully. Could've been a disaster.'
Shota and Joe realise that they have to tell their parents at some point, before it gets ridiculous. Already some classmates say they've told their Mums and Dads that belief in Santa isn't real, but insist that they've made them promise not to make fun of parents who still believe that their children believe in Father Christmas.
'I expect this'll be the last year. I don't really want to tell them, but I'd rather they found out from me than from one of the other parents.'