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anniereborn's avatar

Santa Claus questions?

Asked by anniereborn (3913 points ) December 3rd, 2013

Did your family celebrate Santa? If so, how old were you when you stopped believing? If you have kids, have you played Santa?

Tell me your Santa stories…..

My family certainly played the Santa illusion. I believed until I was 11. And the only reason I even did then was because i accidentally found something. Yes, it really was accidental.

Earlier in the year my mom and I went to a doll show. There was a doll I just LOVED. Around Christmas time I accidentally found the doll. I so wanted to keep believing in Santa, that i prayed it would be a present from my mom, and not “Santa”. When it was in my stocking Christmas morning I was very depressed.

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45 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

I was told by my older brother when I was in first grade that Santa was make believe. Asshole.

My ex and I have never discussed this with our children who are now both in high school. When asked, we just say, “we choose to believe.”

Pachy's avatar

I’m Jewish but I sort of believed in Santa until I was around 8 or 9. That bubble got burst when, one Christmas Eve, my brother’s and my sitter asked me why I was staring out the window. I told her I was looking for Santa and she (a Baptist, as I recall) put her hand on my shoulder and said, “Honey, don’t you know there’s no such thing as Santa Claus?”

She probably did me a favor by doing my cowardly parents’ dirty work because what kind of Bar Mitzvah boy would I have been a few years later announcing to the congregation, “Today I am a man and I believe in St. Nick.”

JLeslie's avatar

We didn’t do Santa when I was a child or Christmas at all, except with friends. Oh, and we saw the Nutcracker every year. One year our neighbors called Xmas day to tell my sister and I they had gufts for us that Santa left under their tree since we didn’t have one. I remember being really excited. I never really thought about whether he was real or not when I was a kid.

mazingerz88's avatar

Never believed that sweet bubbly chubby Santa was real even as a kid. I understood right away he was merely symbolic of the joy of gift giving and receiving at Christmas. The idea of him indeed gave me great happiness as a kid. Those were my happiest moments in life ever. A kid during Christmas season. I’m 45 now and agnostic.

anniereborn's avatar

@mazingerz88 I’m right there with you regarding age and beliefs.

ucme's avatar

Wait, stop…Santa isn’t real? I get to find that out here, on a piddling little website, after all these years?
I’m a broken man…sobs, whimper.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I was told about Santa as a kid. I was about 10 when I discovered he wasn’t real. I was snooping in my parents’ closet (looking for presents) and caught a glimpse of a particular type of wrapping paper. On Christmas morning, the gifts with that wrapping paper all had “From: Santa” on them. Worst Christmas ever. I remember the year before that the news reported a “Santa’s sleigh sighting” and I was so excited about it – and I recall my family members looking at each other as if to say, “kids!” Later, I was embarrassed by that.

I once asked a question on here about whether parents should lie to kids about Santa and the collective basically told me I was an idiot for thinking they shouldn’t. Did learning the truth about Santa scar me for life? No, but Christmas would’ve been just as exciting if my parents told me he wasn’t real. I think it’s a stupid tradition and I know I had a hard time understanding why my parents had me believing something like that for so long.

My husband sees no harm in the Santa thing, but I’d rather tell our kids that Santa lives in our hearts and he’s just symbolic. We still haven’t come to a conclusion on that yet.

flutherother's avatar

My friend who was about a year older than me told me when I was around 8. I remember we were in my back garden at the time. It was as if a balloon had been pricked by a pin. I felt disappointed but I knew it was true. I felt a little embarrassed that I hadn’t already known.

ucme's avatar

Course, the Scottish Santa does things a little differently, steals stuff rather than leaving presents.

kounoupi's avatar

Well. We have a different concept of Santa Claus. For us he is Saint Basil, a Saint known for his care for the poor. I think that makes it easier for the families here, to choose to believe in Santa. And there is not a lot of woe when the children discover that the gifts come from the parents, mostly because it is logical if the parents choose to continue a tradition set by a saint.

In any case there is (generally) no Santa-does-not-exist drama; Santa lives in our hearts as it is the case with all the saints. This is a wide notion here and even very young children can understand. Come to think of it I do not remember how and when I found out that my parents were the ones placing the gifts under the Christmas tree. I can say I believe to the Saint all the way, I will continue the New Year’s Eve tradition and keep his teachings at heart.

whitenoise's avatar

We won’t allow this fake sinterklaas into our house.

the real one will be dropping by our family tomorrow. :-)

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I don’t remember believing Santa was anything other than a role played by my dad or a neighbor. I remember the awe on the faces of my youngest siblings, though. My mom would go through this whole thing about him in a good-natured way. I just think she always wanted to make sure that we had all the trappings of childhood because I don’t think she had much of one. But, without discussing it among us, I think we kids saw how much mom enjoyed all of this and we wouldn’t do anything to spoil it.

drhat77's avatar

I’m Jewish, and I have not heard my kid talk about Santa Claus, but she recently lost her first tooth, and I’ve heard her babble about the tooth fairy. My first thought was whether or not I was going to willfully propagate this nonsense. My next thought was that I could leave “notes” from the tooth fairy indicating that my child could not receive any money for the most recent tooth due to the fact that she didn’t brush it properly. My subsequent thought was. “Yikes, i have met the enemy, and it is me”

JLeslie's avatar

@drhat77 Give the kid tooth fairy money. LOL. I believed in the tooth fairy when I was a kid. I don’t think there is any harm. Losing a tooth, the process, sucks.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

@Pachyderm_In_The_Room Your story breaks my heart. No one should suck the wind out of someone else’s dream, as long as that dream doesn’t threaten anyone.
@ucme (Some shoulder patting) There there dear, chin up. the old burger lady is going to fix those mean, old naysayers.
I was five when my thoughts told me there was JUST NO WAY. I asked my mom in what I was sure was a pretty grown up way. I guess because of that she felt like I should have the truth. When she said there is no Santa, a horrific thought hit me. No Easter Bunny? No tooth fairy? NOOOOOOOOOOO! There must be someone magical to believe in. I kept the secret for my baby brothers.
Over the years, there were good Christmases, and wrecks. I saw some very special situations. I finally realized that there IS a Santa. Santa is not a man, or elf, or angel, or saint. Santa is the attitude of love, giving, sharing, caring, hope, everything that makes Christmas super neat to look forward to.
After my daughter had a few Christmases, but still believed. I HAD to tell her. There was NO $$$ AT ALL. I cried a lot. I finally decided it would be better to tell my daughter the truth than let her think Santa didn’t care about her anymore. (Sniff)
It got REALLY close to Christmas. We were on a city bus, going to grocery shop. Some guy bringing his suit home from the dry cleaners stood to leave the bus. He took my hand, and a piece of paper passed from his hand to mine as he wished me a merry Christmas. I felt it was money. I put it in my pocket. When we got off the bus I peeked at it. It was $100 bill! My tears got all frozy on my cheeks.
Yes Virginia, and @Pachyderm_In_The_Room, and @ucme, and @drhat77, and @Espiritus_Corvus and all, there is a Santa. Santa lives for anyone who needs a Santa, Jewish, Christian, Agnostic,....................... Merry Christmas all! And happy Hannuka!

picante's avatar

My illusion was shattered at the age of ten, when “Santa” wrote a message to me on the new blackboard under the tree. My mother’s very recognizable script screamed at me.

Oddly, I don’t remember any lingering sense of loss. I suppose it’s the beginning of life’s lesson about illusions. (Is that Judi Collins singing “Bows and flows of angel hair . . . ” in the background?)

Pachy's avatar

@Jonesn4burgers, that’s precisely what I’ve always thought, though I’ve always believed that the sitter, whom I remember as a sweet country woman, meant well.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

@Pachyderm_In_The_Room I have no doubt her intentions must have been the best. That makes the story all the sadder. It likely hurt her to tell you, but she probably felt she was saving you from some ridicule from non- believers. Turned out painful for both of you, I wish it could have been different. I wish little children didn’t have to feel guilty over believing in Santa. Anyone who does acts of kindness out of their normal activities are being Santa embodied for a little while. I have a recording of a very old Christmas episode, I think Twilight Zone. A drunk old man wanted nothing more for Christmas than to be able to give gifts to his friends. He became Santa. It’s a very sweet story.

ibstubro's avatar

My parents were both an “only child”. Both raised without a father.

I never remember believing in Sandy Claws. Some jolly old fat man did NOT bring those presents. They were picked out and paid for by mom and dad who worked hard for the money to pay for them.

Joy, oh joy. Yes I owned a Christmas tree. Once.

geeky_mama's avatar

When I was a little girl..maybe 3rd or 4th grade and just on the verge of not believing in Santa anymore my parents did a really neat thing. They arranged for Santa to come over early on an evening a couple nights before Christmas. He brought me a popcorn ball, assured me and my sister we were not on the “Naughty” list and encouraged us to “play nice” together. We have pictures of it..and to this day I have no idea which neighbor or friend of the family it was—but when my own kids began to doubt I told them Santa once visited me as a child and showed them the picture and they were quite convinced.

Rarebear's avatar

I always found the whole Santa myth creepy. A fat guy sneaks into your house and give gifts to little kids he doesn’t know. Think about it.

mattbrowne's avatar

I’m 50 and I still believe. Santa Claus was a real historical person and we celebrate his idea of secret gift giving.

Juels's avatar

In 2nd grade, some kids on the bus tried to tell my daughter that her parents were really putting her presents out in the middle of the night. It is a well known fact that someone better be vomiting or the house burning down before my hubby and I will get up at night. So, of course, my daughter didn’t believe it. She told them “There is no way would my parents get up at night”. (It is sad that her belief was saved because of our laziness.)

After a few years, I thought she would figure it out. Santa even started using the same wrapping paper as us.

I finally had to tell her the truth in 6th grade. I was worried the other kids would start to tease and harass her. When I told her, she was stunned. After a couple minutes, she gasped “What about the Tooth Fairy? The Easter Bunny?!?”. Yep, 6th grade and she still believed in all of them.

JLeslie's avatar

@Juels I didn’t even know the Easter bunny is a thing like Santa and the Tooth Fairy. What does the bunny do? Bring Easter baskets in the middle of the night?

Juels's avatar

Yes, the Easter Bunny brings you a basket with goodies and hides eggs around the house for you to hunt.

ibstubro's avatar

I hesitate the use the word, but what a lovely story, @geeky_mama.

ibstubro's avatar

Too, too cute @Juels. I didn’t realize you were a special mommy, too!

JLeslie's avatar

@Juels I never realized the bunny was the one doing that for some people. When I was little my grandpa always gave me chocolate bunnies, and I would dye eggs with my mom. We would go to the Easter egg hunt in a local park where the whole community came out to hunt eggs. I’m Jewish, I don’t remember if I said that above, and for whatever reason we could not have a Christmas tree or Santa, but we died eggs and ate chocolate. I assume it is because my mom’s family is full of chocaholics and artists. She says, now that I asked her many years later, it is because those things represent springtime. I still say a chocolate addiction played a big role. Are there cartoons and children’s shows about the Easter Bunny being magical and bringing baskets? Do kids talk about it? I knew about Santa because how can you not know in our country, he is everywhere.

I still find it odd on the holiest day of the Christian calendar they meshed it together with bunnies and candy. But, I’m Jewish, we suffer, ask for forgiveness, go hungry, and remember the dead on the holiest day. well, we didn’t in my family, I was raised religiously, but still there is some carry over for the holidays.

ibstubro's avatar

@JLeslie I looked into the whole Jesus/bunny connection a while back. Fascinating connection. It was once believed that bunnies could fertilize themselves (because of the fertility of their reproductive cycle) and thus were the embodiment of eternal life.

Juels's avatar

@ibstubro Thanks. I hated to destroy her faith. However, I’d rather break it to her gently than have some brat on the bus do it.

@JLeslie I can’t think of any shows or movies regarding the Easter Bunny. This was my family’s tradition growing up and my husband’s family had a similar tradition. So, we kept it going. I was raised Catholic. So, I guess it was strange that my family did the entire Easter Bunny thing.

JLeslie's avatar

@Juels Why strange? The Catholics do the Santa thing. I’m going to ask my husband if they did the Easter Bunny growing up, he had Santa and they got gifts on the day of the Epiphany, they called it Tres Reyes, which mean Three Kings. The schools were all closed on Jan 6 when he was a kid, his country is so overwhelmingly Catholic, I don’t know about now.

The more secular traditions of Christmas are associated with the winter Soltice and Yule. The more secular of Easter have to do with Spring and rebirth. They mushed together Pagan traditionsnto get the Pagans to convert. Plus, those traditions are way more fun. Chocolate and presents is more fun than sitting in church.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

@JLeslie when I was a child, we made our own baskets for the bunny to fill. There are some Easter bunny specials Hop is one. Rankin and Bass did their Easter bunny special loooooong ago, called Peter Cottontail.

JLeslie's avatar

I just remember Peter Cottontail hopping down the bunny trail. Did he fill Easter baskets for children? I have a memory lapse. If he did, that part of it never made an impression on me.

Juels's avatar

@JLeslie In our house, Easter was more sacred than any other holiday. Even Christmas wasn’t as important. On Good Friday, we went to mass and then were expected to spend the day quietly contemplating its importance. When viewed in that light, it seems sacrilege that we celebrated the Easter Bunny coming to town. (I’m sure someone could start an entire thread about holiday traditions conflicting with religious beliefs.)

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Peter is another story, they used that identity for their bunny though. He wanted to BECOME the Easter bunny, and Irontail, the evil bunny tried to foul things up. It’s a lesson story, don’t give up.

keobooks's avatar

My parents told me as soon as I could understand -at about age 3 – that Santa wasn’t real. So I didn’t START believing until I was about 8. At that age, I stayed up late and saw the weather report on the news Christmas Eve. They said there was a strange object on the doppler radar—sleigh shaped, of course. I thought that they’d never lie on the news. I was convinced my parents were idiots and they didn’t know anything about the real Santa. A few years later, I caught on that the weather report was fake because the same guy always looked incredibly surprised every time he saw the sleigh on the doppler radar.

anniereborn's avatar

My mom never wrapped presents from Santa. I guess that isn’t the norm? My stocking would be filled to the brim. And any presents were left under it. We had two fireplaces. So it was very traditional in that sense. Apparently the childhood non-understandings of the workings and insides of a fireplace chimney kept the illusion. My best friend kept trying to tell me there was no Santa, but I didn’t believe her. Maybe SHE was just naughty.

YARNLADY's avatar

I learned to read when I was three, so I read all about the traditions and myths early on. My parents were very much against lying, and always treated the stories as just stories.

It seems odd to me they had such a strong belief in their religion.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Of course I believe in Santa Claus, I am Santa. Just got my beard and hair trimmed and bleached for the season.

Darth_Algar's avatar

“Santa Claus is nothing but a fake fat fuck.” – my 10 year-old nephew.

downtide's avatar

I don’t remember how old I was when I stopped believing, but it was pretty young when I figured out that he couldn’t possibly get around the whole world in one night. Also I thought if Santa was real he was pretty unfair, giving lots of big amazing epensive presents to my friends, but just a few cheap things for me.

JLeslie's avatar

@anniereborn My inlaws wrapped the santa gifts the first year or two with their first child, and then stopped bothering. I doubt the children even remember unwrapping a santa gift. I don’t think the youngest one ever did, they had already stopped doing it.

Seek's avatar

My grandparents were crazy about Christmas, and went above and beyond to play the Santa game. My mother found it convenient to have something to threaten us with for a couple of months out of the year, so she played along, too. My grandfather dressed as Santa and actually carried gifts from door to door all the way down our street on Christmas Eve night. I’m telling you, it was intense.

I walked in on a gigantic wrapping session a few days before Christmas when I was eight. I was devastated. How dare my family lie to me, so fully, so elaborately? And of course once the seed of doubt was planted everything else made much more sense.

Anyway, Mitch and I decided we wouldn’t lie to our kids about what is real and what isn’t, and that includes Santa.
This year, Ian’s starting to get frustrated with all the adults asking him whether he’s “ready for Santa”. Most of the time he simply refuses to answer the question, and the people just ask him again and again, so I’ll translate: “Are you ready for Christmas?”
“Uh-huh!” and he’s all smiles again.
And then he’ll ask me later “Why do people ask me about Santa if it’s just a story?”
“Well, some people think it’s fun to pretend.”

The best was last year. “So, Ian, did Santa bring you a bunch of presents?”

“Mmm… Pretty sure it was Mama.”

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I think Santa has been used as an agent of anonymity among gift givers in the past for very good reason. There is an old and, in these days of tax write-offs, often ignored maxim that true altruism is anonymous. This is supported and explained in Matthew 6:1 – 4 and I am sure in other religious texts as it is not unique to Christianity. (Wasn’t Matthew at one time himself a tax collector?)

I think Santa provided the necessary anonymity to facilitate altruism consistent to the text and from that came the modern tradition which makes no sense to a lot of people because the lesson, that true altruism is anonymous, has very possibly been smothered in our commercial hungers and detachment from the original tradition.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus I think you are correct. The original model for Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, is said to have given gifts altruistically and anonymously. His feast day is December 6, which is why he is connected with the Christmas season.

Incidentally, Saint Nicholas is also considered to be one of the patron saints of mariners.

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