This year my Bear has a lot of questions regarding Santa. She is realizing the guy at the Mall is just a guy. Or maybe the one at the Mall is the real one and the ones elsewhere are impostors. She is in school this year, so I’m sure the kids are discussing the matter as well. I’m not sure exactly. I almost want to come clean to her. But I think that the way that kids figure it out is important to how they deal with things in the future.
For me, when I discovered this I was in second grade. My best friend at the time told me that she peeked at her gifts so she would know what she was getting. She said I should do the same. I was a kid that pretty much followed the rules. I knew right from wrong so it took me a few days, or weeks maybe to work up the nerve. I was pretty excited with my findings.
Second grade was when most of my classmates were getting wise to the fact that the Jolly ol’ Elf was a big conspiracy by the parents. I know I had a conversation with my mother before Christmas that year about Santa. How he just had to be real because how else would kids all over the world receive gifts? The milk and cookies that I left out every year had to be eaten by someone. It had to be Santa Claus, there was simply no other explanation. None.
So, going back to what I found; I knew one of us kids were getting a Nintendo Gameboy for Christmas. In ‘92 or ‘93 the Gameboy was like the coolest thing ever. Imagine my shock on Christmas morning when the Gameboy was from Santa!!!!
I was devastated. But of course I couldn’t come out about this with my discovery to my parents. Or my younger sister.
I was always a thoughtful sort of kid. I would have many conversations with Dad about the ways of the world. He would usually give me the truth. So after I gave the matter significant amount of thought I approached Dad to discuss Santa without bring up that I was on the gig.
I don’t remember the details of my question. But Dad replied with “If you don’t believe in Santa he will not come.” Well that was it. I knew that regardless of whether or not he was real I still wanted the gifts. And I could tell by the way that he said it he was a little disappointed with my question. So I decided to just let the matter drop. I never once told my parents that I did not believe in Santa.
A close family friend told me this year that her father told her as a kid that if you stop believing in Santa that means you also do not believe in your parents. That resonates in me. I think that is essentially what I took away from my own conversation with my father. I did not want the disappointment bestowed upon me for having learned the truth. I did not want the disappointment known of how I found out known. I decided that it really didn’t matter. That’s when the first inklings of Christmas isn’t about gifts. It is about family hit for me.