The Truth About Santa

I was just thinking back to that day in my past...that dark, dreadful day when my childhood was robbed from me and I was thrown headfirst into the abyss of holiday reality.  You know what day I'm talking about, right? Yep, it was the day I learned The Truth About Santa.

Santa Holidaze

I believe I was in third grade. And up until that dark, dreadful day I was living blissfully unaware in my Santa Claus fantasy land, where all the sugar plums were free to roam. I regularly put out the obligatory plate of cookies and milk for the jolly old elf, and was only too happy to do it. After all, he was bringing me all sorts of Christmas goodies, and he had to get tired lugging gifts all over the world in his sleigh in one night, right? I would also occasionally leave out my autograph book for him, along with a thank you note, in which I asked him to sign the book, which he always did. And I always felt so special and lucky to have gotten his actual signature.

I was quite content in my Kris Kringle-filled world. Never mind that many of my friends no longer believed in Santa. Never mind that I often got teased for still believing.  I still believed, and that's all that mattered to me. Until that dark, dreadful day.

I remember crying when my mom gave me the cold, hard reality check about my beloved St. Nick. I was in shock. Utterly stunned. And completely pissed off! If my 8-year-old brain could have rendered a coherent thought, (and if I thought I could have gotten away with it) I'm sure I would have turned to my mom and said without hesitation,

"Are you shitting me right now, Mom? WTH?!"

But I don't really remember saying a whole lot as I processed my newly acquired wisdom.

The cookies? The Milk? The Autograph Book?
Faked. Faked. And Faked.

Honestly, I felt so betrayed. So misled. So lied to! But as it was threatening to crush my heart of hearts, and whatever was left of my tattered and torn Christmas spirit, my mom gave me a pep talk, as only mothers can. I don't remember it word-for-word, but it went a little something like this...

Santa Claus was a real person, somewhere, long, long ago. And he cared so much about other people, especially children, that he would bring them gifts and candy and such to fill their stockings, which they'd hang by the fire, on Christmas Eve. But at some point, Santa got very old and he passed away, threatening to end his generous Christmas traditions. But parents all over the world decided that the true spirit of Christmas wasn't Santa Claus himself, rather it was his spirit of giving. So, to keep that spirit of giving alive for children every year at Christmas, parents would continue Santa's Christmas traditions in his place. Thus, the spirit of Christmas would never really die. Mom also said that if I always believed in the spirit of Christmas, then Santa would always be part of Christmas...that he'd never die, unless we stopped believing.

As I said, that may not be word-for-word, but that was the  basic story I remember. And it's the story I told my daughter when it was time for her to learn The Truth About Santa as well. My 7-year-old grandson still believes for now, and I hope he will for awhile longer. But I'm sure I'll share that same story with him when it's his time to learn the truth.

That pep talk really did help me recover--at least a bit--from the trauma inflicted upon me on that dark, dreadful day in my childhood. I was still pissed. But at least I knew that Santa had been real. At some point. But after I had calmed down and had time to think more clearly, an alarming thought penetrated my young brain...and I just had to ask my mom...

"What about the Tooth Fairy?"