When I was in third grade, my friend Allie and I were playing in my basement and went looking for some toys in the back storage room. You might ask: Why were we looking so hard? No idea, but we were. We came across a huge trash bag inside of a bin. So naturally, as any 8 year old would, we opened it. My Little Pony, American Girl Doll clothes, spy gear... We hit absolute jackpot. We looked at each other with confusion and from what I remember, we both just kinda stared for a second, trying to put the pieces together. It’s December, why would mom and dad hide this, how come it was hidden, this is the stuff I put on my Christmas list—NO WAY.
Allie and I discussed the probability that the rumors could be true. Was he fake? The fat guy with a beard who made toys with little people and then flew them around the world in one night on a sleigh led by animals with no wings that could fly? It was too legit to be fake.
Being the youngest of three, I was an absolute schemer. I was also the last of the litter to believe in santa. Allie and I went upstairs to my dad in the kitchen and sat down. I began the interrogation with a tough one: Would you ever lie to me? How does a parent answer that? Parents feed kids lies all the time but it’s for their own good. I don't remember the answer to this question but I do know that I grilled him with the “Is Santa real?” after that. Guess what he did? Lied; told me the jolly guy was real. I learned two things that day: santa was a phony and so was my dad.
Allie and I decided that if we didn't believe in santa and it just so happened that he was real, that his sleigh wouldn't fly on Christmas and it would be our fault. So, we made a pact that we would believe in him even when we knew he was fake; makes perfect sense right?
If you really think about it, it’s incredible that for generations, santa is a worldwide-kept secret from kids. Pretty much every child goes through the cycle of believing in santa and inevitably being heart broken when finding out that he's a hoax. With kids having so much access to the internet, it makes me wonder if the secret will be spoiled earlier for kids in the generations to come.
I just hope that the tradition lives on and that I am not spoiling the news for anyone on this college campus that the big guy, in fact, does not exist. If I did, my apologies. In the holiday spirit, I decided to go around and ask people:
“How did you find out Santa wasn’t real?”
Here's what I got:
“My friend Nick told me in 4th grade and I was like ya ok dude and he was like my mom told me and I was just like fuck Diane would never lie to us”
“My dad bought me a present at Michael’s when I was with him and said I couldn’t have it until Christmas and I was opening my presents Christmas morning and they had written ‘To Georgi from Santa’ on the present I knew he got for me. So I opened it up and knew they were playing me. I was heated and my sister would not stop laughing… it was a mini painting easel.”
“I walked onto the bus in second grade and right when I sat down Alex Jesse looks at me and goes ‘You know Santa is your parents right.’”
“Mine is pretty typical. I started to notice the handwriting on santa’s note was the same as my moms and then I was like freaking great.”
“I don’t remember how old I was but I remember it was on Easter. I noticed my uncles go outside with shopping bags full of eggs and I went to my mom and asked if the Easter bunny was real. My mom said ‘Do you believe it is?’ I said ‘I don’t think so,’ and then I said, ‘Wait! Does that mean Santa isn’t either?!’ And I cried. Then we ate chocolate bunnies and I was okay.”
“So every year at my grandparents’ on my mom’s side we have a Christmas Eve party and we would go santa hunting and we would find santa on one of the roofs of the house and we would have to run inside before he saw us or we wouldn’t get presents and then there would be candy in the back yard that he threw. Then at the end of the night we would drive home. The morning of Christmas my mom was talking to my other grandmother on the phone and it was loud and we all heard her say, “How was the Christmas party? Who dressed up: Richie or Woody?” And then it all made sense to me that he wasn’t real. The reason I remember this so vividly is because I was embarrassingly too old to find out santa wasn’t real. I would bring pictures into school of santa on the roof to prove to my friends that we would see him every year.”
“I was skeptical so I said to my mom if santa isn’t real, you have to tell me or else I'm gonna have kids and on Christmas morning they are gonna wake up to no presents because I didn’t know I had to buy them and I was like when my kids are sad I’ll tell them to blame their grandma.”
“During lunch I was like I’m pumped for what santa brings me and then Nick Hogan goes, ‘The hell you mean santa? It’s your parents,’ and I refused to believe him for the rest of the day and then I went home unbelievably sad.”
“My mom always would say this is from mom and this is from santa because she didn’t want santa getting all the credit—screw that dude.”
“Why am I legit stupid? I literally found out first that the tooth fairy was fake… then the Easter bunny… like you would have thought I would put two and two together and say woah santa must be fake. But anyway, it was fifth grade. Went home and asked my mom because some dick head said something in class. Mom sat me down and said that it doesn’t take away the magic of Christmas.”
“My mom told me on the 13th birthday because ‘I was a teenager now.’ And then added the Easter bunny to the list
and I cried and said it was the worst birthday ever”