One of my most vivid childhood memories took place in the 80s, a time when Teddy Ruxpin was at the top of every child’s Christmas list and life was just simple. Easy. Happy. I don’t remember the exact day when I figured out the Santa lie but I distinctly recall how much it crushed my parents when I told them I had pieced it all together. Of course, I didn’t really have all the pieces figured out just yet, but I couldn’t let on that I still believed in Santa when I started to hear the rumors floating around the cafeteria. Suddenly believing in Santa was about the most unhip thing a seven-year-old kid could do.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, my parents would do their best to get us stoked for the holiday and I tried to play along for the sake of my young brother. I mean, the kid was SO stinking excited. Who was I to burst that bubble? (Spoiler alert: apparently a monster).
Each night my dad led a rousing game of Word of the Day and we’d discuss events, school, life, and of course Santa’s imminent visit. Had we been good, what did we want for Christmas, were we aware that he is always watching and that he knew when we were misbehaving? We picked out the tree as a family, helped my mom decorate, baked cookies, listened to festive songs, and kept mostly merry.
On Christmas Eve in 1986, my brother and I both heard bells outside the front door. Our eyes met and we scrambled to get to our feet. My brother made it there first.
“Did you hear Santa?” My dad’s voice boomed. My sweet little innocent brother, eyes wide with excitement, could hardly contain himself.
“I HEARD HIM!! I HEARD SANTA! Dad, did you see him!?”
(Meeting or seeing Santa at the time was akin to being in the presence of a superstar).
“I sure did, buddy. He just flew over the house!”
I then decided this was the perfect moment to interrupt the merry with this epic mic drop.
“Dad threw bells into the bushes, Dan. There’s no such thing as Santa.”
If looks could kill I died many times over that night as my mom took my brother in the house to console him and my dad completely disowned me. He was furious. Of course, I don’t blame him—I singlehandedly ruined the holiday for everyone that year. But mostly, I am so sorry for being that bitchy older sister who couldn’t keep her damn trap shut, at least until after the holiday was over.