Monday, December 21, 2009

How I found out about Santa

Remember how I said I can't keep a secret and don't like surprises? Those two particular personality traits have been with me my whole life.

In my child's mind it only made sense to me that if I didn't like surprises then no one else did either. And if I knew a secret about a surprise I told it. Every time.

This particular quirk of mine caused a lot of problems for my brother.

He could keep a secret. And he did like surprises. A lot.

For whatever reason my mom often told me what she got my brother for presents, or what other people got him. Or maybe she didn't have a choice. I've always like to shop and my mom was notorious for giving in to me. I was her strong willed child.

So when she went out shopping I made it a point to tag along and didn't often take no for an answer. On a regular basis I spoiled Josh's birthday and Christmas surprises. He hated it, but I kept on doing it. The suspense was just too much for me to handle.

One year my mom got him a video game that he'd been wanting for his birthday and I told him. He was so mad. It didn't help that my mom found out that I'd spoiled the surprise, so she returned the video game and got him a watch instead. She's going to comment that she doesn't remember this at all. But I remember because I thought for sure I was going to be killed.

I'm getting off topic. We're talking about Christmas, not birthdays.

So anyway, at Christmas time the cycle continued. Santa presents were kept under wraps of course, because why would my mother know for sure what Santa was bringing? But from time to time I would know something that a relative was going to give Josh. And I think by this point we all know what I did with that information.

What is the average age that a child learns the truth about Santa? I'm guessing between eight and ten.

I was five.

I don't remember what the present was. I just know that I told him, and in retaliation he told me the truth about the big jolly guy in red. It wasn't good enough to just hit me, and he'd get in trouble for that for sure. So why not spill the beans?

Of course at first I didn't believe him. How could he possibly know? Had he ever been to the North Pole to see?

Josh set out to make sure there wasn't an ounce of belief left in me. He described, in detail, how he crept downstairs in the wee hours one Christmas morning to find our mother stuffing our stockings and piling presents under the tree.

I think I was momentarily distraught. No Santa? Really?

So I went and asked my mom. She could tell that I had way more information than a five year old should have, so instead of perpetuating the myth she gave in and told me the truth.

Then the skies opened up and the heavenly angels began to sing. No Santa! My mom was Santa!! I had a direct link to the source of the gift giving!!! No more writing letters!!!! No more sitting on some strange man's lap to try to get my message across!!!!!

I was experiencing Christmas "gimme" bliss.

My brother had inadvertently done me a gigantic favor. He had told the world's worst secret keeper the truth about the biggest secret in a child's life. I'm afraid his revenge didn't have quite the impact that he'd hoped for.

Somehow I was able to grasp the importance of this secret. My mom managed to convince me that my friends didn't want to know and it would be very bad if I told them. So, as far as I remember, I did manage to keep the secret from all of my school chums.

My knowledge of the truth never seemed to be a problem, with one small exception.

The next year, when I was in first grade, the teachers were making a bulletin board with students' letters to Santa. One-by-one they called us up so we could give our list and they could write our letter. When they got to me I told the teacher that Santa wasn't real and I didn't write him letters. I flat out refused to give my Christmas list until she asked me what I was asking my mother for that year.

When my letter appeared on the bulletin board it read, "Dear Santa," and I distinctly remember being upset by that. Hadn't I told her Santa wasn't real? Why did this grown-up keep insisting on the existence of a fake person? Clearly, she was delusional.

How did you learn the truth about Santa?


  1. My sunday school teacher spilled the beans; apparently everyone knew he didn't exist...except for me.

  2. Well you are right. I don't remember. I do remember the part about Joshua telling you there was no Santa. I hope I didn't yell at him.
    Because had it not been for your Aunt Pam and Maw maw you or Joshua would have never believed in Santa.
    Due to the fact Tony told me there wasn't one when I was in the 1st or 2nd grade. I was so devastated. And not in a good way like you.

    I decided when I had children they would never be told the untruth about Santa.

    I loved you story.