How did you learn the “truth” about Santa?


Engaging in an exchange with my friend Emily Burnham on Facebook a couple weeks back, and reading feedback from other parents within the exchange, I was surprised to notice that a number of parents choose to believe that their 11-year-olds still believe in Santa. I remember piecing it together when I was 7 or 8—my parents left a LaVerdiere’s price tag on a Santa gift—and then pretending to hold onto the ruse for a year or two before I confirmed the grim truth with my mother. Kids are smart enough to leverage their parents’ desire for preserved innocence for their own benefit. By the time I was 11, I was listening to Cypress Hill, Nirvana, Dr. Dre and Pearl Jam. It’s hard to fit Santa into the context of those worlds. Any

Anyway, I asked my friends, family and readers how and when they came upon the grim truth and found myself on the receiving end of some fun and entertaining answers.

A quick word of caution: If you are trying to keep the illusion alive, about a dozen people reported breaking the code by way of seeing similarities in handwriting. Hire a straw-man gift tag writer, perhaps? Another dozen or so reported overhearing their parents or other family members discussing the concept, so keep it down for Santa’s-sake. Finally, keep your kids away from the zealots. It appears that some are obsessed with stealing the fat-man’s glory. 

Santa Selfie 

“It wasn’t when I left out a Polaroid and demanded Santa take a selfie. My folks somehow managed that. But I think my investigations became exhausting for them, so my Mom took me for a long drive, pulled over on the side of a rural road, and gave it to me straight.”

Kevin McCallister ruins Christmas

“I was in 2rd or 3rd grade, and I had my doubts as to whether Santa was real, but my parents kept up the lie, probably to not disappoint my younger sister. So on Christmas Eve I set up booby traps in my living room around the tree: tripwires, things that would leave footprints, marbles… My parents at that point didn’t want to deal with the no-man’s-land I had created, so they told me the truth, and I was thrilled because I had been right.”

Time To Pretend

“When I was about 7 my mom gave me a book called ‘Just Pretend.’ It was a book for children published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and started off by logically proving that Santa is not real and just a story that parents tell their children to make them be good. Our then goes on to use the same logic to prove that all religions are false. Pretty heavy, but has some pretty amusing illustrations. I seem to recall I was pretty suspicious already at that point, as my mother had half-heartedly told me that Santa came through our radiator since we didn’t have a fireplace.”

Santa as class warrior 

“The final clue that cracked the case was realizing that Santa always gave more, and more expensive, gifts to my friends. He seemed like a good guy who wouldn’t play like that.”

“I’m guessing it was… when I started to piece together that all the rich kids at school got waaaay more stuff than me.”

Jesus Christ Scene Stealer 

“My parents made us have a birthday party for Jesus. No lie. With a cake that actually said ‘happy birthday Jesus’, professionally done. That’s how they revealed there was no Santa. I’m still totally confused about it.”

“The news was broken to me by a god fearing Christian who wanted me to know that ‘Jesus was the reason for the season.’”

If believing in Santa is cool, consider me Miles Davis. 

“In fourth grade I had just moved to a new town. My friend told me I had to stop wearing sweats and believing in Santa if I wanted girls to like me.”

The most disappointing game of hide and seek

“I found a gift I had made for Mrs Claus, still wrapped, during a particularly adventurous game of hide and seek.”

Forgetfully yours, Mrs. Claus 

“After we all opened our presents, my older sister asked my mother where she got the present from. It was supposed to be from Santa.”

There’s no “I” in Santa

“I don’t remember ever believing in Santa, my mother was borderline/narcissist, she had to take credit for everything.”

Santa took daddy’s shoes

“My dad used to dress up as Santa for the family Christmas parties. He would make a grand entrance and hand out toys to the kids. After, he would tell us that he had a lot of other deliveries and make his grand exit. He told me that one year he forgot to put the boots on and wore his regular shoes. When he came downstairs I threw a fit and started crying because “Santa took daddy’s shoes”. As a parent, do you tell your child that it’s really daddy dressed up as Santa or do let your child think that Santa is a thief?”

He knows that you’ve been sleeping; he knows that you’ve been gay

“My parents forgot to write ‘From: Santa’ on any of the gift tags and I cried cause I thought that Santa knew I was gay until they broke the news.”

Phoebe Cates impression

My father dressed up as Santa and fell off the roof. I saw him fly past the window. My mom ran out to tend to him on the ground. I thought Santa was dead. Until, I found out it was my DAD. The myth was shattered.

Doesn’t add up 

“At no time in my childhood did I ever believe that my father was going to allow a fat white man to come down our chimney in the middle of the night and hand out presents to his family…”

Thanks, Jews

“I’m Jewish so I always knew and walked around like a little Henry Fonda in 12 Angry Men fighting for the truth!”

“From me and all the other Jewish kids who didn’t ruin it for you: you’re welcome.”

MANY THANKS TO: Joey Brunelle, Anne Pierson, Paul Koening, Rebecca Minnick, Stephanie Brock, Gina Capra, Erin Davison, Melinda Titus, The Fuge Ouellette, Ehren Whitney, Rob Gould, Gelald Walker, Talia Emsalem, Daniel Olney, Brian Hamilton, Jesse Baines, and Steve Bridges,

IMAGE CREDITS: BuzzFeed’s Pinterest 

Alex Steed

About Alex Steed

Alex Steed has written about and engaged in politics since he was an insufferable teenager. He has run for the Statehouse and produced a successful web series. He now runs a content firm called Knack Factory with two guys who are a lot more talented than himself.