Spoiler alert: This post discusses the existence of Santa Claus. If you, like me, might find this disturbing, you might want to go watch Rudolph and skip this one.
When I was maybe 5 years old, Santa came to my dad’s house.
We were sitting around on Christmas Eve when the back door opened and Santa waltzed in carrying a big bag of toys. He was startled to see us, but not as surprised as I was to see him!
Since he was there and we’d already seen him, he sat down and helped me open my presents before going on to several thousand other kids’ houses. He was even kind enough to let us get pictures of me and him before he had to get back to work. You’d think he’d be concerned about breaking protocol, what with the rules being that he’s not seen and all, but instead he was the kind and generous guy you’d expect.
Flash forward a few years. Some of the kids at Westdale Elementary are starting to rumble with talk that there’s no Santa. A few with older siblings are leading this nonsense.
I am unswayed. Santa has been to my house. I have photos to prove it, and I will bring them to school and stop all of you from making fools of yourselves with this chatter. I nearly get into a fight with a girl in my class when she won’t back down.
I tell my dad that I want to take the Santa pictures to school because some silly classmates don’t know that he’s real.
And I imagine this triggers an intense conversation with my dad and stepmom, with them drawing straws to figure out who has to deliver the bad news, lest I become the only 15-year-old in Saginaw still believing in Santa.
So they stage an elaborate discussion at the dining table with I think my aunt and uncle about Santa and pretending to be Santa. I feel my heart get hot.
I ask if there is a Santa. I think it’s my stepmom who gently responds, “What do you think?”
I run to my room and sob. I am devastated. I didn’t just believe in some myth. I saw with my own two eyes. I had evidence. It was unequivocally true.
Until it wasn’t.
If I had kids, I don’t think I could bring myself to do the Santa story. It hurt too much when I found out the truth, because I believed so hard.
This traumatic discovery apparently didn’t teach me the life lesson that things are not always what they appear. Later in life I’d again have my heart broken because I believed something that looked one way and turned out to be another.
How did you learn about Santa? How did that discovery affect your faith in other beliefs in life?
Can you imagine how my head might have exploded if I’d seen Santacon as a kid?