the day i lost santa


I was a trusting child. Some might say gullible, but I just didn’t expect people to lie to me. And while I may have learned fairly early that my older brother and sister might be setting me up for an embarrassing fall, I had 100% faith in the word of my mother.

That’s how it came to be that, at age 7-1/2, I was the only kid in my class who still believed in Santa Claus. Part of my tenacious hold on the myth came from my mother’s cautionary tale: When she was little, she’d at some point declared that Santa didn’t exist, and he never came to her house again! I certainly didn’t want that to happen! But a large part of my stubbornness in the face of schoolyard teasing was my confidence that my parents simply didn’t tell lies.

Finally Mum realized I was not going to lose my innocence via my peer group, so she sat me down for The Talk. “Honey, it’s time you learned the truth. Santa? It’s me and Dad.”

At first I thought she must be joking. She had to bring forth scraps of fabric from previously received clothes as evidence. I clearly remember being overwhelmed by a sense of betrayal, and bursting into sobs.

The loss of faith — in the Santa fantasy, and in my mother’s word — rocked my world. I’d been humiliated on the playground because I’d believed her! What kind of parent would do that to their kid?

Overdramatic? Yes, of course, but I’ve always felt things strongly. Eventually I forgave her, but the experience made me into a different style of Mum: one who never fed her kids lies about mythical gift-givers, or anything else.

Christmas Eve 2007
Christmas Eve 2007. We were pretty broke that year, so the tree was just sticks wrapped in tinsel and lights.

You could call it a loss of innocence, but maybe it’s better to brand it as a loss of blind faith. Maybe that’s the day I started being skeptical, of looking beneath the surface, of reading between the lines, of questioning assumptions. I guess that’s a good thing. But at the time, it just felt tragic.

And Mum was right about one thing: once I knew that Santa wasn’t real, he never did come to my house again. Sure, I still got gifts, but they weren’t from him.

So tell me, what’s the most precious thing you’ve ever lost?

Leave a comment


  1. Interesting. I wonder how many people end up answering that question with something from childhood.

  2. Funnily enough, I retained my naivety despite childhood traumas, but was absolutely devasted when my husband part-exed me on a younger model. I had no idea there was anything wrong until the day he left. I had thought we were supremely happy. For a week I sat on my bed and rocked while things turned green and bubbled in the fridge. Then my son came to sort me out. A friend who had been similarly deserted gave me an inspirational text, “The deserted spouse invariably thrives. It is the deserter who often comes to grief.” It was absolutely true, 15 years later, I realise he did me a good turn. Everything in my life got better. I went back to University, found a few lovers, experimented with new lifestyles, travelled, wrote and created beautiful things. I learned to trust and respect myself and to enjoy my own company. I became stronger and more independent, healthier, more adventurous and much, much happier. Years later I recognised a post from him on a “Looking for Love” site. Obviously something had gone wrong, but I was not even tempted to respond….

  3. redhedphotogirl

     /  November 1, 2012

    My best friend moved away at the end of third grade. I’m only now coming to realize that the void her absence left in my life and my heart has yet to be filled. Although I’ve tried to fill it with so many things, what I really wanted was a person to fill that void.

  1. warm fuzzies « such wild love

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