Wednesday, December 11, 2013


My little sister and I never believed in Santa as kids.  Mom did when she was little, and she loved it. However, Daddy felt extremely lied to when the truth came out, so he was determined not to put us through the same thing. Instead, Sarah and I were told that "the spirit of Santa," meaning giving joyfully, was very much real, but the guy at the North Pole with jacked up reindeer was just a story.

When I was little, I really wanted to believe in Santa. I felt kind of deprived of the magical wonder I saw in the eyes of my peers. Plus, it was hard being the only disillusioned one in a group of kids discussing what Santa would bring them. It could be exhausting to handle the infamous question "DO YOU BELIEVE IN SANTA??" Mostly I considered it an early exercise in creative truth-telling and redirection.

"Well, I always seem to get what I ask for."
"How else would the presents get there?"
"I'm sure my parents tell me the truth."
"I've read a lot about him."

Maybe it's why I'm so good at bullshitting now. Who knows.

I did slip up once. My cousin Kathleen, who's two years older than I am, grilled me about Santa Claus one year. I must've been five or six. She became frustrated with my creative non-answers and literally cornered me, demanding to know HOW ELSE WOULD THE PRESENTS GET THERE?! By that point I was pretty frustrated by her ignorance anyway, so I just out and told her.

"Look, Santa is not real. Your parents put the presents under the tree after you're asleep."

That knowledge really took a toll on her, and Aunt Celeste/her mom was not pleased with me. She took the matter up with my dad, who--I imagine--handled it with a brilliant blend of subtle sarcasm and a dry apology.

Still, I felt kinda bad and never slipped up again. {If only refraining from everything were that simple.}

Honestly, there were lots of times when I regretted not believing in Santa. I always wanted magic to be real, and sometimes tried to convince myself that Santa really did exist, that THAT was the lie my parents were telling me. When I was like fifteen I heard something on the roof on Christmas Eve and got really excited.

But, honesty again:  If my parents had told me that Santa was real, I would have had the same reaction as my dad. I would have felt tricked and betrayed and lied to. I would never {seriously, like, to-this-day-and-beyond kind of never} have trusted my parents again.

An extreme reaction? Definitely. But for better or for worse, that's the way my mind works. My parents definitely made a good call in the long run.

Eventually, I'm going to have to decide what to tell my own kids. I'm really torn as of now. For some kids, the belief in Santa can be fun and magical without a backlash of fury when the truth comes out. It's just that you have to make the call before you know what kind of kid it's going to be.

{I wonder if you could experiment on your kids. Tell one the truth but not the other and see what happens. Of course, the enlightened one would more than likely disillusion the other.}

With my luck, I'll probably have a kid just like me, so Santa will not be the way to go. But I guess my husband will get some say in the matter.

Haha, that's a good one...



  1. Why would a Christian ever lie to their children?

  2. Jay called it.^ If you have to lie to your kids to make them happy on Christmas, something is wrong. There's nothing wrong with enjoying Santa as a character just as you enjoy any other Christmas tradition. But telling kids that Santa is *real* just... that's too much.