I was lucky to grow up in a big family. My dad is one of four and my mom is one of five, so I have somewhere around 30 cousins, and we are even close with our 2nd and 3rd cousins. Each year we would have a huge Christmas and I loved it. It was so fun playing with my cousins and exchanging our excitement for Santa’s arrival. Then, of course, come 7am on Christmas morning we would all parade into the living room like a pack of wild animals and tear into our gifts. We would always marvel at how Santa drank all the milk and ate all the cookies, leaving nothing but crumbs from the offering the night before.
One year I was pestering my older brother. All of our cousins were at our house and it was Christmas night. All the boys slept in my brother’s room and all the girls (only 3 of us at the time) slept in mine. Well I wanted to hangout with the guys. They always were loud and rowdy and it sounded like a down right party every night before they went to sleep. So I wandered in there with my blanky on Christmas night. I wanted to be part of the fun, ya know? And my ornery brother tried to kick me out, but I stood my ground. My mom heard us fussing and told him, “she isn’t hurting anything. Ya’ll be nice or I’ll make everyone go to sleep, right now.”
I was the youngest, and the brattiest, so I got my way quite often. Which apparently didn’t sit well with Bridges (my brother), because after she walked off he got right in my face and said, “You know Santa isn’t even real, right?”. That was the day I found out the hard way that my own brother is an imposter of the worst kind. I jumped up, flailing my arms and ran to my mom and aunts.
“MOM!!!!!!! YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE WHAT BRIDGES JUST SAID TO ME!!!!!” I cried. Literally, cried.
“What, honey?! What is it???”
“HE TOLD ME,” I gulped,” HE SAID THAT SANTA ISN’T EVEN REAL!!!!!! WHY DID HE SAY THAT? YOU HAVE GOT TO TALK TO HIM!!!!!”. I was torn between wondering if he was right and wondering how badly my mom would punish him for spreading such an awful rumor. Like, what if other kids caught wind of this, you know? The thought made me cringe.
But my mom just kind of smiled and said, “Well, baby, he is real if you believe he’s real.”
I was so confused. “MOM. IF HE IS NOT REAL, HOW DID MY DOLL GET UNDER THE TREE LAST NIGHT??”. I was surrounded by nimrods, apparently.
I had had enough. I didn’t go back in Bridges room because I didn’t need that negativity in my life. So I went to find consolence in my cousin, who double as my best friend at the time. She was less than two years older than I. I knew she would understand.
I walked in my room and plopped down next to her as she was playing with her doll. I kind of just starred blankly in front of me.
“Nina, you will not believe what I just heard,” I said. She continued playing with her doll. “Bridges just tried to tell me that Santa Clause isn’t real.”
Nina looked up at me, briefly. “You mean you didn’t know that already?” She laughed. “Corsi, our parents do that stuff.”
I was beyond horrified, and totally outnumbered by non-believers. I am still just a little bitter about that day. Of course, it’s been a full calendar year since then and I can confidently say that I believe that they are all 100% wrong, and my mom was right. Santa is real if you want him to be real.
I realize that this was a silly post. It really did happen, though, and it wasn’t last year (obviously). When I was about eight, my brother told me that Santa was not real, and this was confirmed by my mom and cousin. I am still a believer, though. I believe that giving is more important than receiving. I believe that Santa comes in many, many forms. I believe in leaving out cookies and milk for the sake of tradition. I believe that children, all across the world, should get to feel the same excitement and joy that I felt, every year, on Christmas Eve, at least for a short period of their life. I believe that seeing is not believing and that there is a bigger reason why we celebrate Christmas, or any holiday for that matter. I still believe in opening presents and dumping out your stocking on Christmas day. And most of all, I believe that you are never, ever too old to truly believe.