When Did You Stop Believing in Santa Claus? Quote of the Day

|

"I stopped believing in Santa Claus when my mother took me to see him in a department store, and he asked for my autograph."

NEXT: Friday Fun Links: A Six Pack

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Great quote. The weird thing that occurred to me the other day was that I believed in Santa Claus for much longer (6 or 7 years) than I believed in God (um, 0 years).

  2. For me, it was in 1st grade Catechism around Easter. The kids in the class were talking about the Easter bunny, and the nun who taught it said loudly “Eater Bunny? that’s as ridiculous as Santa Claus!”

  3. My best friend in second grade spilled the beans to me. I didn’t believe him, so I asked my mother after school. She told me the truth. I cried.

    While teaching Sunday school for first graders, my wife and I made a point of not mentioning Santa Claus. We have a few very talkative girls with older siblings, and we were terrified that one of them might loudly proclaim “My older sister told me that Mom and Dad are Santa Claus!” Which would leave us with a bunch of deeply traumatized little kids.

    So we stayed away from that and had them make cards for people in nursing homes.

  4. While teaching Sunday school for first graders, my wife and I made a point of not mentioning Santa Claus

    The irony here is breathtaking.

  5. I don’t know when I stopped believing, but I know why.

    My parents joined a very conservative church which didn’t like the idea of Santa Claus. Their thinking went like this: “When the kid learns that his parents lied to him about something so important to him as Santa Claus, he might start to wonder if they’re lying to him about God.” Which seems pretty reasonable to me, since Santa is basically God, Jr.

    Anyway, I knew the truth at least as far back as second grade (age seven), but I was under orders not to tell any other kids. I don’t know if I was told prior to that or not.

    I remember Christmas morning when I was six, because I got my first bicycle, but I cannot recall if I knew it was from my parents or not.

  6. No, ed, it’s not. Regardless of whether you accept the Jesus as savior and son of god meme, there’s at least good reason to suppose that the guy existed.
    Also, while I don’t share Dr. T’s faith, I can assure you that his is not brainlessly accepted. He’s no bible-thumping fundie.

  7. Oh, look! A fight waiting to happen. Let’s stoke the coals:

    Did a Historical Jesus Exist?

  8. I must have been 7 or 8. I had some epiphany where I realized that Santa, the Easter Bunny, God, and the rest of the invisible people who reward/punish based on behavior were fake. My parents, good Catholics they were, slapped me for claiming God was false and then put me under orders not to tell my brother about Santa et al.

  9. Similar experience to rdc. I was 5 and tossed out the whole basket of invisibles. I didn’t go to my parents – they were the ones who told me about Santa. Instead, I cried myself to sleep the next couple nights because I realized that one day I would die and that would be the end – no heaven, hell, or otherwise. I’m Jewish now, but it was a long trip from raging atheist to this point.

  10. Regardless of whether you accept the Jesus as savior and son of god meme, there’s at least good reason to suppose that the guy existed.

    So did St. Nicholas.

  11. Thanks, Number 6.

    I have no desire to go into detail on religion here, since I think those horses have been quite thoroughly flogged on this forum many, many times. Suffice it to say that I regard my church as a place and community in which I can explore faith, not as a source of dogma that I must completely accept. Hence my beliefs may not be what some would stereotype them as.

    As to avoiding talk of Santa Claus, well, suffice it to say that we have a few girls in the class who will talk about ANYTHING. One time, I dropped something, said “Doh!” and picked it up. In response to my “Doh!”, one girl started talking about how her father has Simpsons underwear. That’s way more information than I needed, so I try to stay away from subjects that might get her to say something unpredictable but problematic. It’s not about dogma, it’s about avoiding disasters in a roomful of little kids.

  12. I can’t remember which happened first (or if they happened simultaneously), but the two things that tipped me off were:

    1) I didn’t understand why the Star Wars figures Santa had left me were in the store packaging with the remainder of a toy store price tag still affixed;

    2) Santa’s handwriting looked exactly like my mom’s.

    I was probably too observant a 4-5 year old for my own good.

  13. My parents took me to the mall during easter to see the easter bunny, and I saw someone’s mouth talking behind the easter bunny’s mouth. From their, I made the connection that Santa was fake too.

  14. 2) Santa’s handwriting looked exactly like my mom’s.

    I have two cousins who are 15+ years younger than me. Until they finally stopped believing, their parents (my aunt and uncle) got around this by having me write the thank you note.

  15. Is the mass delusion about Santa similar to “I support our troops” which is the Achilles heel many of us have that allows US Presidents to get away with murder?

  16. It’s ironic to teach one popular myth while sidestepping another, that’s all. One could go further and debate whether inculcating religion in the minds of impressionable, trusting and innocent kiddies constitutes a form of child abuse, but…that’s been done to death.

  17. I believed until about first grade. I figured it out when my idiot parents put out the trash and all the store packaging was right on top.

    What is really funny, is the next Christmas I was talking to my friend Kenny about Santa Claus, we knew he didn’t exist, so we were speculating on whether he ever existed. Kenny matter of factly proclaimed that there in fact was a Santa Claus, but that he had been stabbed while walking down the street.

    Strangely, not only did I believe his declaration, but it didn’t even upset me.

    Regards

    Joe-Dokes

  18. Okay, I don’t actually want to start a flame war, but I do want to make this quick aside.

    ed:

    Perhaps the true lesson of The Santa Conspiracy [TM] is this: “It’s rude to contradict beliefs stemming from a trusted source, even if those beliefs are known to be false.” It explains both why I’m expected to play along with other parents’ Santa crap, as well as the occasional attitude of, “This is my religion, and you have to respect that!”

  19. My 10 yr. old still believes thanks in part to us having gone to the same Santa and setup for years. The parents surreptiously pass a note to the “elves” ahead of time so Santa “remembers” name, age, what they got last year and other little factoids.

    This was the last year we’ll go, but in today’s world, it was nice to protect the magic as long as we have.

  20. I don’t remember actually having a revelation about Santa, but when I found all the gifts in the crawl space one year that sealed it. I felt no surprise at the time.

    Following the existence of an historical Jesus threadjack, I am currently re-reading Honest to Jesus. Great book.

  21. Ron Bailey, you have outdone yourself with that quote. I am STILL LOL.

    My ten year old is pretty sure Santa doesn’t exist but he’s not going to take a chance and offend Santa by saying so. Wish I could remember the exact phrase because it was priceless (for reals).

  22. Ed, we have been neutral about religion. Didn’t realize how much so until my 4th grade son had to do his California Mission project. We took a day trip to San Luis Rey mission and while we were in the museum with the crucifix collection my then second grade daughter blurts out (loudly) Jesus? Who’s Jesus?

    Hope my Ma’s not reading this.

    True story.

  23. I actually tested the existence of Santa Claus to determine he didn’t exist, by giving a detail about my Christmas list ONLY to him. I asked for aCabbage Patch Kid with BROWN eyes — when I got one with blue eyes, I knew what was up. I didn’t make a big deal about it, though, mostly I pretended like Santa existed. I didn’t need to lord it over my classmates or anything, because I had the truth about Ronald McDonald.

    My parents never made a big deal about Santa, though, they tended to just give me presents from them. Only my grandmother got into the Santa thing, so I suppose the fact that he delivered my presents to my grandmother’s house might have raised some suspicions.

    This was all when I was about 4 years old.

  24. On Santa, well, that’s a different story altogether. It’s part cultural, it’s expected to be debunked at some point. It’s a lot of fun for the kids. And we have gone to great lengths to perpetuate the myth for our children’s enjoyment. I even take an old boot and make a couple of footprints in the ashes in the fireplace on Christmas Eve. It’s even fun when the kid’s are beginning to get an inkling and start saying things like Dad, the footprints in the ashes look just like your hiking boots.

  25. I’ve played along with the Santa myth for the benefit of all the little ones I’ve known. No harm in that. They grow out of it. The religion myth is much more insidious and harmful. Witness all the mayhem in the world. It certainly doesn’t derive from rational thought.

  26. As the oldest of three kids, I had the honor of choosing which cookies to leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve. One Christmas day when I was 6 or so I realized that Santa had avoided exactly the same cookies that my dad didn’t like. I didn’t make the connection at the time, but when a schoolyard friend proclaimed that Santa didn’t exist a few days later I knew he was right.

  27. My friend’s experience with learning the truth about Santa as related to me by both her and her mom: Sarah had picked up on a lot of little inconsistencies in the story as told by her parents, like kids tend to do at some point. One day while pressing her mom on these, her mom decided it was time to reveal the truth.

    “Ok, darling, those are all good questions and I think it’s time you knew the truth. I’m sorry but there really is no Santa.”

    After a brief moment to digest this rather momentous revelation Sarah says, “that means there’s no Easter Bunny, huh?”

    Sighing, “No, you’re right, there is no Easter Bunny either.”

    “And no Tooth Fairy?”

    “Nope, no Tooth Fairy”

    “And no God!?!”

    “Oh no sweetie, God is real.”

  28. The weird thing that occurred to me the other day was that I believed in Santa Claus for much longer (6 or 7 years) than I believed in God (um, 0 years).

    Well, Santa is much more believable, after all.

  29. See, I was a greedy little fucker. I realized there was no Santa after being told by kids at school. However, I kept this information to myself for a few years, figuring that since I was currently getting presents from my parents and “Santa,” if I told my parents that I didn’t believe in Santa, they may not feel compelled to get the extra toys, and I would be shorted presents. I think it was fourth grade when I finally told my mom I didn’t believe.

  30. the house i grew up in had no fireplace, thus no chimney for santa to come down. my parents made up some theory about how he could make himself really small and come in under the door or something like that.

    i mean, an enormous fat man sliding down a chimney and flying reindeer was perfectly plausible to me then – but for some reason, the Rick Moranis version of the santa story was just untenable. then they just told me.

  31. TWC – Your son has grasped the logic of Pascal’s Wager at the tender age of 10. He’s a prodigy! 😉

    And Franklin, you’re right – Santa is, of course, more plausible than God. I just wasn’t going to push that button right off the bat…

  32. Way I see it, you go through three stages with the Santa Claus thing:

    1) You believe in Santa Claus

    2) You don’t believe in Santa Claus

    3) You ARE Santa Claus…

  33. OK, the results are in for harmful fantasy-figures (lowest score wins, just like golf):

    Santa: 4
    Jesus: 29

    Sorry Jesus, no mulligans.

  34. If I ever have kids, I would tell them that I am “got some big connections” with the North Pole and that I could totally get Santa to hook them up with better presents than the rest of the block.

    That way, they would think I was the coolest dad ever.

  35. I had a similar experience to that of I.Self.Divine. I don’t remember exactly when I knew the jig was up, but I do remember my older brother drawing me aside when I was 9 or 10, and asking me “You do know there’s no Santa, right?” He’d been deputized by the parentals to find out where my head was at. I admitted that, yeah, I knew what was what, but I hadn’t wanted to spoil the fun for my younger siblings by mentioning my doubt. In truth I was annoyed, because I was convinced that once I was a known non-believer, there’d be nothing but socks and underwear under the tree on Christmas morn. That was an unfounded fear, as it turned out, but it did seem that my older sibs got a lot more clothes and a lot fewer toys than the younger kids!

    Technically, I wasn’t admitting to unbelief in Santa, just in his earthly corporeal form. It was perfectly proper to believe that St. Nick was up in heaven with Jesus and all the other faithful departed. I didn’t stop believing in all that until I hit my 20s.

    Kevin

  36. Hey Kevrob, what’d I do wrong? I always got socks and underwear for Xmas. And coal.

    Dennis, yes, he’s a bright boy. But the problem with Pascal’s Wager is that you can’t just hedge your bets, you have to actually believe. At least that’s what the Baptists say.

  37. When did I stop believing in Santa Claus? I can tell you the exact moment I stopped believing in Santa Claus. I stopped believing in Santa Claus that one Christmas Eve’s night when I slipped out of bed after being awakened by a noise, padded softly into the room where our family’s Christmas tree was, and (as you’ve probably guessed by now) caught Santa kneeling over the freshly murdered corpses of my parents, a bloody butcher knife clutched in his black-gloved hand.

  38. Don’t you guys know that it’s bad ju-ju to taunt Old Saint Nick?

  39. I stopped believing in santa in a tooth fairy related revelation that occured when I was about 8 years old. I had just lost a tooth and I was happy to see that the tooth fairy had left me, along witht he customary dollar, a few skittles. A few days later I found an opened package of skittles in our bathroom drawer. My mother’s explanation was not sufficient, and it was then that I stopped believing in the tooth fairy, the easter bunny, santa clause, and Jesus.

    I can’t say I was that disappointed because my parents agreed to keep getting me presents as long as I didn’t tell my younger sisters. I also got to keep the bag of skittles.

  40. Jim Walsh, I’m Blogging that. LOL. Got to TWC and see it for yourself.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.