QotD: Secret's Out, Santa

How did you find out the secret behind Santa Claus?
Submitted by Carinish.

Okay, this is too funny because I just had a conversation with my husband about how long he’ll let our son believe in Santa Claus. His response: he won’t lie to him and insist that there is a Santa, but he’ll let him figure it out on his own.

Why, you ask, did this come up in conversation? Well, you can’t watch TV without seeing a version of Santa Claus somewhere, and it made me consider my childhood (and preadolescence, if I’m going to be totally honest here) notions of the jolly old elf.

I was really late in discovering the truth about Santa. I like to say that for someone as smart as I am, I’m really very stupid. Gullible, really; I’m quite trusting of others, especially my parents. After all, my husband had to debunk the idea (put into my head by my father, I must say) that Space Mountain is not a roller coaster. For 15 years I believed Space Mountain was not a roller coaster because it was indoors, all because my father said so. The fact my husband (boyfriend at the time) did not run screaming when he learned of my idiocy was proof that he loved me. But I digress…

I think I was in 3rd or 4th grade when I realized that Santa’s handwriting looked suspiciously like my mom’s and the wrapping paper was the same paper on presents from my parents the previous year (yes, even at that tender age, I had good recall when paper products were involved). When I asked her about it, she gave me some sort of explanation (which I don’t remember but amazingly believed), and I continued to believe there was a Santa Claus until my cousin’s children came to visit many years later – I was already in junior high, I think. Anyway, as we were leaving for Midnight Mass, my mother told my cousin to take the kids out to the car, then asked me to help her get the presents from Santa under the tree.

Wait – what? Presents from Santa? Doesn’t he bring them while we’re at mass?

My sister’s response: “Eileen, don’t be stupid!”

So, yes, I believed in Santa Claus for a long, long time. In a way, I kind of still do – it’s the spirit of giving that we picked up from Saint Nick as kids that makes Christmas as joyous as it is as adults. It’s what enables us to grit our teeth and be nice to the people we normally can’t stand for the rest of the year, even if it’s only for a week or a day (or a precious few hours you’re stuck at their house).

Of course, I think it’s one thing for my son to grow up with a generous nature, but I agree with my husband that I don’t think we should lie to him and insist there really is a Santa Claus. Of course, I’m not entirely sure my response would be the best either – I would want to ask him why he thinks there may not be a Santa Claus and how it makes him feel. Chances are he really won’t care, but for my peace of mind, I’d like to walk him through the process of discovery and deal with any potentially negative feelings on the spot.

So, not only am I totally gullible, I’m pretty neurotic, too. Years of therapy will do that to you.

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