I do believe in Santa, I do I do I do


When I was little, my favorite thing to do on Christmas Eve was sit in front of the TV with a glass of eggnog and track Santa’s progress on the local news station’s feed. I would watch his tiny red animated sleigh slowly jingle across the screen until Santa and his reindeer neared Syracuse. And when they did, it was time to get the hell out of the Christmas party and head home. (I would freak out, because I heard a rumor Santa wouldn’t leave your presents if no one was home—especially if there were no cookies.)

Christmas was my favorite time of year: the snow, the smell of the tree, how everywhere just felt warm, opening presents by the fireplace…. And then they killed Santa.  

The day I found out Santa wasn’t real (sorry if some of you still didn’t know that) was—and although this is completely sad and pathetic, I’ll be totally honest—one of the worst days of my life. I thought we had a relationship: I baked for him, wrote letters, defended him on the bus when all the mean kids (including my sister) told me he wasn’t real, and even cleaned off the glass covering the fireplace. I was so loyal. But I was young (okay, I wasn’t that young because I was a late bloomer and thought Santa was real until I was 12) and Santa was like Jesus to me….except he was kind of better because he left physical proof of his existence every Christmas under the tree.

When I discovered the truth, I think that was when I started to question the world around me. Here I was, 12-years-old, and my parents had let me believe this apparently fictitious person was real. Well sh—, if I couldn’t trust what my parents told me, then there was no hope for anyone else. Was my whole life a lie?

I remember the day like it was yesterday…. I was a greedy child and very impatient, so like any other kid filled with curiosity, I snuck a peek at my presents. I didn’t think any harm would come of it. I was stupid. So, on Christmas we were all happily unwrapping presents, and of course, because I was greedy and impatient, I was the first to have opened all of mine. Except, something was off. I specifically remember putting Paramore’s second studio album Riot! on my 5 ft. Christmas list, the same CD I found two weeks earlier while diving through the clothes in my mom’s closet. But it wasn’t under the tree. So, I turned to my mom and said innocently, “Mother, did you forget something?” A hint of recognition spread across her face and then she disappeared. Next thing I know she’s handing me a present saying, “Look at that, Santa must have been off last night because he left this in my bedroom.”


I was suddenly dropped into a vortex of emotions. My throat felt clogged, and I couldn’t catch my breath. And then came the signs, kind of like in romantic comedies when the woman or man finds out they’ve been cheated on: his letters were always typed, there were always different Santa’s at every mall, one time his cookies weren’t eaten and he didn’t drink his milk (which Santa always does), and I started to realize that it didn’t really make sense that one man could fly around the world to drop presents off at every house (with children) in one night.

I miss Santa every Christmas, and the innocent joy that came along with waiting for him to arrive. As I’ve gotten older, the excitement of Christmas has kind of gone away—it’s just another day, except I’m showered with a bunch of things I really don’t need. But I guess that’s good in a way, because Christmas has become less about myself and more about the people around me. My favorite part isn’t opening up presents anymore, it’s about watching the smiles on my parents’ faces when they open their gifts, or getting a warm “thank you” from the man ringing the bell at the Rescue Mission’s donation bowl when I drop five dollars in, or thinking of how happy the family I donated gifts to will be on Christmas. So yeah, Santa’s gone and I still wish he wasn’t, but I finally understand what Christmas is about.

Happy Holidays!