Spoiler alert: If you believe in Santa Claus, stop reading now.
I still remember the day I learned that Santa was not real. That was 61 years ago. I heard the truth on a radio show, which my parents quickly tried to conceal. I pretended not to have heard but I knew, in my heart, that Santa Claus was a lie. My parents continued the Santa farce for several years until I walked in on a stash of unwrapped gifts. My mother was on the phone and nearly fainted as I scanned the Christmas loot. I had really wanted to believe the Santa lie. He knew me, as naughty as I was. I could ask and wish for anything. That was powerful in my desperate world.
Do you remember when you first learned that Santa was a fantasy? I am surprised by how many adults have a clear memory of that event, regardless of how benign their childhood was. My dearest widower and I decided that we would not lie to our son, despite the cultural pressure to fabricate Santa’s existence. As a teacher, I will not disabuse kids of their Santa notions, although some students can be relentless in challenging their peers about the Santa lie. Like religious faith, I think Santa belongs in the hands of parents, not schools.
Do you recall the time you first realized that Santa is not real?