The day my gum-dropped cherry was finally popped and I realized (albeit a bit later than some) that Santa did not exist, I felt a bit of the fantastical magic that had been so lovingly woven throughout my childhood dissipate, extracting itself from my once-sheltered psyche in light of my present revelation.
To put it shortly: Shit got real.
Because besides the fact that the world seems infinitely more lonely without the rotund gift-giver monopolizing the further reaches of the arctic circle, life sans-Santa also presented a serious difficulty for those of us that thought that it was perfectly acceptable to hand-knit pot holders for our nearest and dearest until the day we died because hey, they’d get the good stuff when Santa came anyway…right?
Suddenly, all those financially robust wishes had larger implication attached to them, the years spent begging and crying for a new Mac Book Pro (did I mention I was old when this occurred?) seemed altogether shameful and sinister, and my present wish list had to be re-evaluated to look less like Steve Job’s wet dreams.
And then this year came around.
Before I go into the deeply traumatic scars that came from having all eight of Santa’s tiny reindeer veritably shot dead before my innocent eyes, let me just say that my family does Christmas. Like, well. We make a gingerbread house, we decorate a tree, we even take a Christmas photo and sometimes, sometimes, mail it out (usually around Easter). We sing carols and dip candles and wish perfect strangers a merry, merry Christmas.
And of course, come Christmas morn, my siblings and I have invariably woken up to presents piled under the tree, velveteen stockings stuffed to burst with useless and delightful stocking-stuffer gear.
Except not this year. Oh no. This year, the jig was up. I came home from college, hobbling as I was on my one feeble brain cell and cellulite-ridden ass, with the singular hope that my family’s infamous Christmas spirit would be enough to bolster my own jaded psyche from the quagmire of college cynicism it was presently dwelling in, and onto a more enlightened plain.
But no. No, no, and no.
I came home to find the tree already decorated (my favorite ornaments no where to be found), the gingerbread house made (they thought I wouldn’t eat candy anyway) and a list of presents that I was supposed to buy—including and not limited to—stocking stuffers for my entire family.
As I held in my hand the final proof that my entire childhood had been a fabricated chimera of candle-lit lies, it hit me that my parents had for years struggled with my devout avoidance of Santa’s reality, bending over backwards to assimilate a world in which such magic could exist. Cue the tears.
I felt honestly bad for having so thoughtlessly negated all their holly-scented effort, pinning the glory on a non-existent elf with high cholesterol instead.
So here it goes, my first Christmas playing Santa. Time to give back for all the years M and D spent running around toy stores trying to find the perfect Beanie Baby to impregnate my stocking with.
Harsh world, right?
But I suppose as a college student this is just how it goes. Sayonara sweet innocent world, I have a list of soulless gadgets to buy, and this Santa does not know how to bargain shop.
Zoe Schiffer grew up in the lush southern coast of California, where she began writing and reading voraciously at an early age. Her love of traveling has brought her all over the world, and it is a passion she still obtains, though currently tethered down in the Washington area by Seattle University, where she is in her second year. A student of yoga, she takes her practice on the road as often as possible, always trying to gain new experience (and writing material) through travel and adventure.