December 15, 2005

The Year Of Confirmed Suspicions

Last night, Beth and I sat in the living room, transfixed by The Whiner as it flipped the lights on and off in rapid succession. I think it's one of those things that will take a long time to get old. It's definitely a holiday memory that's going to stick. Among many others.

One of my favorite Christmas memories, in a bittersweet way, was the year my doubts about Santa Claus was confirmed.

Like most kids, I eagerly went to bed on Christmas Eve with the hopes of hastening the arrival of Christmas morning. That, and the remote possibility of hearing Santa, the reindeer and assorted elves on the roof. I even camped out on the stairway landing a few times on the off chance I'd catch a glimpse of Santa drinking the milk or eating the cookies I'd left. I never did. But I swear I heard him on the roof a few times. At the crack of dawn, I'd be awake, eager to see how the packages under the tree had multiplied.

The Year My Suspicions Were Confirmed was like any other year. Until I ran out of jelly beans. I'd received a bag of them in my stocking from Santa and promptly consumed most. I was only a little shocked when I saw my dad refilling the bag from a stash in the kitchen. I pretended as though I hadn't seen it happen, although he nodded and smiled vaguely. Unless I'd been looking for some sort of confirmation, I wouldn't have seen it. But I was. And I did.

Christmas was never quite the same again. Gone was some of the mystery, the intrigue. But to this day, I haven't ever stopped listening for a jolly fat guy on my roof.

Posted by Chris at December 15, 2005 07:40 AM

awww - I remember that Johnny McGarrity, who was a year older than me, went around and told all the neighborhood children that thing about Santa. It was just a confirmation for me, but my little brother, 3 1/3 years younger was devastated.

can you do a film thing with the clapper and the clapper operator? I'd just love to see that!

Posted by: cas at December 15, 2005 07:48 AM

dear father cactus,

you may or may not remember speaking to me shortly after momma cactus got pregnant. we spoke of my sad sad tale of love and seperation and gut feelings and all that jazz (I had some um blogspot thing at the time). You may recall I'ms a YOUNGSTER and uh yes.

SINCE THAT TIME, I've gotten married to the boy who I just *knew* had to come back and NOW, I'm pregnant (EEEEEEK). SO, I somehow started referring to the little bugger as a LIMABEAN and I was like hm, babies = limabeans seems so familiar?!! But couldn't put my finger on the connection. THEN this morning you popped into my head, OHYEAH I wonder how that all went? SO I come here and BLAM limabean.

SO UUUH glad she's cute and good and all that other baby stuff.

Posted by: nicole at December 15, 2005 08:18 AM

ALSO, I am very scared..

and I typed my url wrong up there.

Posted by: nicole at December 15, 2005 08:20 AM

As long as you have Mia, you will never lose the magic of Christmas morning.

Posted by: Allan at December 15, 2005 08:34 AM

I don't ever remember believing in Santa Claus. Before my dad came to the US and money was tight, we either got nothing for Christmas or the good nuns stopped by with a small toy for my brother and me. Once my dad moved to the US and things got a little better, money-wise, we knew that he was either bringing our toys when he came to visit or he sent money to my mom. Honestly? I prefer that to having any kid think he didn't get anything from Santa because he/she was bad. I don't think kids need to be pounded with the exact state of being of their parents' wallets but they should be aware that it's the parents/family members who are providing for them not some stranger in a red suit.

Uhm. Sorry. Santa is one of those things that gets me a little worked up. :D

Posted by: pea at December 15, 2005 08:53 AM

Even if you're not a kid anymore and know the truth about Santa, it's still great to see little kids get excited about Christmas. My Dad looks like a cross between Santa and Jerry Garcia. One day at our favorite restaurant, there was a little boy who cried out "Santa", and thought my Dad was him. He was so awesome to play along..He asked him what he wanted for x-mas and that if he was good he would try and bring him the toy, and that he would be watching to make sure he was good and listened to his Mom and Dad. It was the greatest thing ever. Nothing brightens your day like seeing a child smile :)

Posted by: Michelle at December 15, 2005 09:00 AM

I was super naive and believed until I was about 9, if you can believe that. That was when little kids really didn't go around telling each other stuff like your parents actually did the work of The Claus...I agree with you and Michelle--it is great to see the little kids excited for Christmas, and I too, never stop listening for that jolly man on my roof. Peace to you, and never stop believing. :)

Posted by: Michelle at December 15, 2005 09:11 AM

My parents told us from the get-go there was no Santa, but the holidays were still a magical time for us. We knew money was tight; we knew that our parents tried their best every year to get us everything we wanted, even when it meant working longer hours and extra shifts. I think that made Christmas all the more special.

I'm glad to hear you have fond memories of it though. I think kids make the holidays waaaay more fun too! :)

Posted by: Spring at December 15, 2005 09:58 AM

Aaaw. I loved this story. It reminded me of the year MY suspicions were confirmed. I used to have a nanny/cleaning lady when I was little, and ever since I can remember she'd tell me my dad was Santa Claus. I never believed her (and I thought she was telling me my dad was THE Santa, so I thought that was impossible) until the year she showed me where my presents were hidden :(
Christmas was never the same.

Posted by: ava at December 15, 2005 11:07 AM

Now I'm worried. I just finished ordering this gift for my mom and dad but they live in tiny house in the middle of the North woods. They are both hard of hearing, yell all day long and run CNN at full volume. Do you think Chris Matthews will turn the clapper on and off?

Posted by: Vicki at December 15, 2005 11:16 AM

But, but, but, it can't be. Santa left the rest of that bag out so your parents could refill it for you, see? (Boy, your dad should have been quicker on his feet).

Now, tell me again why the gifts the elves make have UPC codes on them?

Posted by: Mark at December 15, 2005 11:29 AM

My parents used different paper to wrap the Santa gifts than the gifts that they were giving us. So, one year I was down in the basement with my Dad and I found Santa's stash of wrapping paper. I figured it out, but I had a little brother so I had to keep the secret for another coupls of years.

Posted by: Dabney at December 15, 2005 11:36 AM

Christmas wasn't the same when I realized Santa wasn't real. But on a good note, I always thought that he really didn't like me because I'd never get the stuff I asked for and would only get five things (socks, underwear, and toothbrush counted as three of those things). While my friends would go on and on about getting the coolest stuff.And then I finally realized that it had nothing to do with me. My parents were just really stingy. heehee.

Posted by: Lisa B at December 15, 2005 12:18 PM

Cute story! I think we're all a little bummed when we figure it out, but it's cute the way parents try hard and then, sometimes, how they want you to figure it out.

I was six when I learned the real story because my sister was always sick and in the hospital. That year, "Santa" called to talk to her and he sounded just like my uncle. Then I noticed that all the tags on the presents from Santa were in my mom's handwriting. I still had fun trying to keep the secret from my younger sisters though and they kept on believing for many, many more years!

Posted by: Ms. Q at December 15, 2005 12:19 PM

Dear Chris,

What? You haven't believed in me all these years? I'm shocked as I thought you were one of my biggest fans. Way to shoot a fat guy down.

I know you've been naughty this year so I'll be stuffing your stocking with coal.


Jolly dude in the red suite.

Posted by: Santa at December 15, 2005 12:22 PM

Dammit, I don't have a smart ass comment because it hits too close to home with everyone who no longer believes.

However, I do believe the spirit of Santa and giving is in each of us and it's up to us to spread that kind of giving.

Watch the Polar Express!

I still laugh when we used to sing, "I saw mommy kissing santa claus" it upset my brother so much that he tried staying up one night to beat up santa for trying to steal santa away from our dad. heh.

Posted by: Grace at December 15, 2005 01:05 PM

Dude, if there's a jolly fat guy on your roof, unplug the clapper and dial 911.

Oh wait... did I miss the point again?

Posted by: sawni at December 15, 2005 03:00 PM


Dude, sorry about the jelly bean thing. Santa put me in charge of jelly beans that year, and I... uh... kind of got sloshed on the nog and ended up trying to pick up that cute elf chick over in the wrapping paper department with a dump truck full of jelly beans. Yeah, it didn't go so well. The truck skidded on a patch of ice and I crashed through the windows of the Toys With Wheels building. (Which reminds me, you were also supposed to get a shiny red bike that year. Whoops.) Anyway, all the jelly beans got all smooshed up and mixed with broken glass, so I asked your dad to cover for me. Oh well, no harm no foul. We cool?

I think the cute elf chick was into reindeer, anyway, if you know what I mean.

Stinky the Elf

Posted by: Stinky the Elf at December 15, 2005 07:54 PM

One of the great things about having kids is that some of the mystery of Christmas comes back into your life as you look at them and the belief they have. Princess at age 5 believes with her whole being, and when I see her it gives me back that belief again. Actually, you get to see everything again as if it's for the first time when you look into your childrens eyes. It's wonderful, and I'm so glad you and Beth have that now.

Posted by: Nina at December 15, 2005 09:40 PM

My lame-o grade three teacher came clean about santa to our entire class - I was mad - I hadn't even begun to doubt santa's existence yet.

Posted by: Marie at December 16, 2005 07:05 PM