How I Lost My Faith in Santa

I was a firm believer up until Christmas morning of 1982. I was in the sixth grade and 12 years old. That’s pretty old to still believe in Santa. While my friends and sister faltered in their faith, I held on. I held strong. Santa and I had something real. He’d been faithful to me for 9 years, ever since we moved to America. I wasn’t going to let him down now. We had a history.

Santa’s first gift to me was a teddy bear and a Hallmark Christmas card signed Santa in blue ballpoint ink. It flapped open like a Jacob’s ladder and the last words in sparkly letters were, “Charge it, you’ve got all year to pay!” I had no idea what that meant, but the letters sparkled, and the teddy bear sat on my desk on Christmas morning. This was indisputable evidence Santa was alive, well and on my side.

One Christmas, we found only a single gift under our tree with no card. It was a white vinyl-covered jewelry box with gold trim and red velvet lining and a dancing ballerina that sprung up and spun every time you opened the lid. Who was it meant for? My sister or me? Why didn’t Santa address it? Maybe he wanted to teach us a lesson in sharing. Maybe we should cut it in half? Let’s draw a line down the middle. Your half, my half. When my sister and I, disappointed and confused, resigned to share the box and take turns opening the lid to visit the spinning dancer, I saw another gift. It was standing on the floor next to my bed, same size, same shape, same wrapping paper . This one was mine! Santa hadn’t forgotten me! Our mother explained that Santa must’ve been pleased to see me and my sister sharing, so he magically slipped us another gift. I wholeheartedly embraced her load of crock. The second jewelry box, mine, had all the same features except it was pink. PINK. My favorite color. Santa was real.

My faith was finally shattered, when one Christmas I went on a hunt around the house searching for gifts Santa may have slipped on us at the last minute, something for my parents. Why didn’t he ever leave presents for my parents? I opened the doors of my father’s night stand, and there they were, the two Twinkies meant for Santa, crouching in the dark like a pair of teenagers caught making out. Shocked and disappointed, I braced myself as my world view shifted under my feet. This called for a revision of every single Christmas memory.

The notion that my parents played Santa was ridiculous. Flying reindeer, elves, and the North Pole were far more believable than my parents playing Santa. They would’ve yelled at the old man for not taking off his boots before coming into our home or leaving the fireplace door open and letting all the heat out. My faith in Santa had everything to do with how well I thought I knew my mother and father. They weren’t the kind of people to play along, let alone play. They worked, watched TV, worked, slept, worked, yelled at us to study, worked, and fought. In fact, they had a big argument in a Woolco parking lot on that Christmas eve because we couldn’t find jewelry boxes. Loud, embarrassing Korean words resounding in the parking lot. Car doors slamming. Engine revving. Was their fight staged? Were they capable of play-acting? Were they capable of conspiring for the sake of fun? Was it possible my mother and father had an imagination? Who were these people?

Published in: on December 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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