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14 December 2008 @ 03:55 pm
When did you discover Santa wasn't real?  
For me, my mother had a problem with infantiling me as a way to deal with her guilt. I was perpetually 8 years old in her eyes, which I guess a lot of parents do, but combined with her drinking, this was not fun when I was a teenager.

I think around age 7 I figured it out over that year, so when I turned 8 (November) I was sure it was my mother. The clues I presented before that Christmas:

- The thank you notes from Santa were in her handwriting. My mother had very distinctive, artistic, clear handwriting.
- Santa had the same problems hearing what I asked for as she did. "You wanted a race car set? Ah.... Santa thought you said a set of erasers."
- The Christmases she was drunk (50/50), Santa didn't bring anything until she was sober, sometimes days late.
- She used the same wrapping paper. I mean, come on. It's not like she had only one roll, she used different paper for different people.
- Santa sometimes left price stickers for the local toy stores.
- She was a terrible liar once I established her rather simple tells.

So, after the usual "if you don't believe, you won't get anything from Saaantaaaa..." smarmyness, I spent some time wondering if I cared or not. At the last minute, I decided that I would have the best of both worlds: I set my alarm from 3am, and went into the living room, and hid under the couch. I dozed off under there, but was woken up my my mother sneaking stuff into my stockings. I made a mental note of every step she took, and when she went back to bed (awaiting me to wake her up), I got out and woke her up. I got presents. I got a little lecture about believing in Santa, but that was it.

Week later, I confessed I had seen her, and described the entire event. She was pretty heartbroken, but we did the Santa thing until I was 18 when she canceled Christmas weeks before her untimely death. I don't remember being depressed or disillusioned because by that point, I was simply proving my point, so my little 8 year old brain felt VERY clever.

Sadly, perhaps in denial, for years she still presented the "better be good" routine until I was about 14. She stopped when I said this:

"That's okay. I have a job now. I can buy what I need."
ivy_willow on December 14th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
You will not be surprised by this: Chuck told me when I was 3 & he was 4, & presented me with the evidence of my mom's hiding place for presents, the candy & nuts that "Santa" left in our stockings, etc.

She still made it magical by not putting out presents under the tree or stuffing our stockings until after we went to sleep, well into our late teens/early twenties.
Internal Locust of Control: ZOMG Linusapeyanne on December 14th, 2008 10:12 pm (UTC)
I didn't have any real clues that I remember...I just had a hunch around age 7 or 8. Once I was taken to sit on a Santa's lap, the moment I saw him, I knew the guy was a fake. Then it all just congealed from there.
Peter 'Happy' Thomashappypete on December 15th, 2008 02:22 am (UTC)
Holy smokes!!!
How could you post this without an "Adult Content" warning? :)

You might be responsible for an inquisitive, net-savvy youngster discovering the truth about Santa!

pianodanpianodan on December 15th, 2008 01:10 pm (UTC)

What do you mean, Santa isn't real?