Open Thread

Flashback OT: Christmas 1982

Do you remember finding out that Santa wasn’t real? If I remember correctly (it was thirty years ago, so I may be a little fuzzy on the details), it took me about two Christmases to put the pieces together. 

Christmas 1981 I was a bit suspicious. I snuck out of bed Christmas Eve and saw my parents putting presents under the tree. I took this information back to bed with me, and discussed it with the neighbor boys. The older one (if I was 8, he was 10), must have known, but he humored his little brother and I, because I still wasn’t sure.

Christmas 1982 I found a receipt on my dad’s dresser for a dollhouse, This was the dark ages, and the receipt was hand written and said, “Natural Wood Dollhouse.” I was excited, but again, kept this information to myself. Christmas morning, sure enough, I did receive a natural wood dollhouse (that my dad proceeded to assemble for me over the next few months). Only the gift tag said it was from Santa.


Honestly, I was cool with it; I had a kick ass dollhouse. When did you figure out about Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy? Was it traumatic or kind of a “huh, that kind of makes sense” sort of scenario?

13 replies on “Flashback OT: Christmas 1982”

I have a very concrete memory of kneeling in front of my bedroom window on Christmas Eve for hours, looking for Santa’s sleigh.  I was 9.

I don’t remember specifically ever finding out Santa wasn’t real but I do remember that night.  Even today (I’m 46), I associate cold window sills and frosty glass with the hours I spent watching for Santa.

I don’t remember ever believing in Santa.  My parents never spoke of him except in jest, and so I think I always knew.  But I wasn’t the kind of kid to go around busting everyone else’s bubble, so I let them go.  I just thought they weren’t thinking things through.

I also never believed in the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy.  Although I did receive my share of baskets, participate in egg hunts, and find money under my pillow instead of teeth.  I think a major reason my parents weren’t into the make-believe characters was that they wanted the credit for the stuff they gave me.  I don’t blame them for this in the least.

I really don’t remember when it happened. I should point out that I am 25, my sister is 27, and we still get Christmas presents signed “From Santa.”

I do think my favorite ridiculous Christmas memory is when my sister and I were very young, we opened a Sega Genesis game that was marked “From Santa.” We did not own a Sega Genesis. My parents were like “Oh, they’re going to figure out their big gift and be so excited.” Nope. We both started bawling, because clearly Santa had mixed up the gifts. This was clearly meant to go to the home of someone who had the Sega Genesis already.

True story.

My parents never told me Santa was real because they though of it as lying. And yet they let me believe in the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy. I actually bought the tooth fairy thing quite easily because a magical creature converting my teeth into coins seemed a lot more plausible than my parents giving me money for no particularly good reason. Make of that what you will.

I figured out at ten, but continued to pretend with my brother so that he could keep that faith a bit longer.  For my son, when he asks if the big guy is real I ask him what he believes, that way I am not reinforcing the “lie” but allowing him to believe as long as he wants.

It was so non-traumatic, I don’t even remember it. But I also have a dollhouse memory! I got a dollhouse from Santa while I was at my grandparents’ house in Arizona. A few days later, my grandpa took me to his office to show me off and one of his co-workers asked me about my new dollhouse and told me that she had helped with the carpet. I just remember being so confused and thinking “But Santa made it, how could you help?” I dismissed the question as irrelevant to my Christmas experience.

I actually don’t remember a moment when I realized Santa wasn’t real. I mean, clearly I figured it out at some point, but I don’t think anyone ever told me, and the realization wasn’t traumatic. I am the oldest, and I was pretty careful for a few years so my sister wouldn’t have the experience ruined–but I don’t remember exactly when she figured it out, either. And then one year, without fanfare, my parents started putting “from Mom and Dad” on the tags instead of “from Santa” and that was that.

I have really clear memories of present-hunting with lil’ sis, though. I still have no idea where my parents hid the presents, because we never found so much as a ribbon, and we combed the house. This year, my mom made a point of telling me where she hid Dad’s present in case she forgets (how times change…)

When I was in 2nd grade, I was in a mixed 2/3rd grade class and there was a disillusioned 3rd grader who decided to ruin Santa for all of us. It was a bit of a bummer, but it made sense, and hey, a girl has to grow up and stop believing in terrifying old men who, aided by mutant reindeer, deliver presents based on some arbitrary moral system sometime.

I don’t remember when I worked it out, but I remember when I informed my sisters that Santa wasn’t real- I was taken out to the garage by my Dad, told that HE still believed in Santa and that I was not to tell the girls stories again.

Not sure how that worked out in the end, I don’t remember my sisters being too traumatised.

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