Do you remember how you felt when you found out Santa wasn’t real? Whether it was your older sibling revealing the secret to you or your parent sneaking a present labeled “From Santa” under the tree, it’s an earth-shattering moment. One minute, you have a magical friend who brings you gifts and confirms your long-held belief that you belong on the “Nice” list. The next, you realize everyone has been lying to you.
Because we’ve all been there, we asked members of the Hurrdat team to relive this moment from their childhood and share their stories of how they learned Santa wasn’t real.
Abby Farrens, Account Manager
It was the early ’90s, way before the days of Googling or asking Siri questions. I was about 8 years old, and I remember walking to the basement where my older brothers were glued to the TV playing Mario. I hesitated to ask them anything because how dare I disturb their sacred Nintendo time, but I just had to know. So I just blurted it out…
“Is Santa real?”
They both froze, then slowly turned and looked at each other. Either they were about to chase me down for bothering them, or things were about to get serious. They put down their controllers and gestured for me to come close. Oh man, was this it? The end of my short little life?
“Listen, Abby,” they said. “He’s not real, okay? But as long as Mom and Dad think you believe, we all get an extra gift at Christmas, so come on…hold out for a little longer, would ya?”
I was in shock. My parents had lied to me, their sweet little baby girl! But suddenly, I felt like I had been accepted into the “big kids” group by my brothers. I knew the truth now! I also took it as a bit of a challenge to see how long I could convince our parents that I believed. We made it another three or four Christmases before the jig was up. Nevertheless, I made those last few “Santa” gifts count.
Adam Furley, Local Search Strategist
Growing up, my parents had my three siblings and me believing that Santa Claus was real. We always visited Santa at the mall to have our photos taken with him. We were told on Christmas Eve that we had to be in bed early because Santa was coming that night to deliver our gifts at our house. We even left milk and cookies out for Santa to enjoy.
I believed in Santa Claus until I was about 10 years old. That year, on Christmas morning, I started to notice the handwriting on the gifts was very similar to my mom’s handwriting. This was very suspicious to me. I asked my mom about it, and she didn’t really give me a real answer. So I decided to forget about it. Then, when I was 11, I heard my parents wrapping our gifts on Christmas Eve night. That’s when I knew Santa Claus wasn’t real. At first, my siblings and I were sad, but we learned to accept it.
If I ever have children, I think I will tell them that Santa Claus is real. It’s still a great childhood memory for me and is a lot of fun for children. Plus, it helps with the holiday spirit and makes the holidays even more fun for children and adults alike.
Colin Ball, Content Manager
The first time I can vividly remember thinking “Santa isn’t real” was when I was six. I had asked “Santa” for a Power Rangers Megazord toy—the full name of which is the Power Rangers Turbo Rescue Megazord Deluxe Double Morphing Action Figure, which now sells for a cool $300. Back then, it was not that expensive. It was the ‘90s. How expensive could it be…$10?
How I came to realize the truth about the big man was that I chose to snoop around one day before Christmas, seeing if maybe there were some Christmas presents hidden in the house while my parents were at work. During that fateful snoop, I discovered that my parents had hidden the present in their closet behind my dad’s clothes (Sorry, Mom and Dad). Right there, in full view, was the Turbo Rescue Megazord. I was selfishly sure that this was for me.
Fast-forward to Christmas morning. My brother, who snooped with me, told me “You have to act surprised!” and I was ready to go along with the ruse. But when it came time to open the gift, it wasn’t the present that surprised me, but the fact that it was “From: Santa.” It was clear that Santa was just a figure, and not a real person that circled the globe, breaking and entering homes one night of the year. He was just in my imagination, forever etched in my brain with a jolly belly and the face of Tim Allen.
James Chramosta, Cinematographer & Colorist
I remember believing in Santa as a kid, but now I don’t, so there must have been a point that I found out the truth. I don’t remember how that happened. Maybe it was so devastating that I blocked it from my memory. I did have to help keep the secret alive for younger people in my family who still believed in Santa, though.
From a parent’s perspective, I like the approach of having presents under the tree before Christmas Day, and those presents are from family. Then, on Christmas morning, there are a few extra presents under the tree that Santa delivered. It’s a nice balance of Christmas magic and reality. This also helps with a practical problem of hiding presents before Christmas morning. If they’re already wrapped and under the tree, there’s no need to find a hiding place for all those gifts. No plan is perfect though. After all, having presents under the tree makes them available to snooping children.
It reminds me of a friend from elementary school who could not wait until Christmas morning and had to snoop through his gifts under the tree. He started with the typical shaking of boxes. As we got closer to Christmas, his impudence grew with his eagerness to know what he was getting for Christmas. He happily came to school days for before Christmas and told us all that he was getting Nintendo Virtual Boy. “How can you tell if you’re getting a Virtual Boy simply by shaking the box?” you might be asking. I don’t know if you can, but this friend elevated his snooping by carefully unwrapping his presents enough to see what he was getting. Then, he re-wrapped them and replaced them under the tree. I wonder if that lessened the fun on Christmas morning for him…?
Hurrdat Answers is an ongoing series of interviews with Hurrdat team members. Check back for more!