When I was in third grade, I remember the “cool” kids of Angell elementary (you know, the ones who wore the Pump sneakers) confronting me with the dreaded question:”Do you believe in Santa Claus?” Of course, I said “no,” for I was not the type to speak my mind and I preferred to go along with the answers of the other fearful children. To say “yes,” was to sentence myself to imminent ridicule and loneliness on the monkey bars. But, in the back of my mind, I believed.

Paul Wong

Fast-forward to college, year 2001: It was a month before Christmas, and I had just sent my letter to Santa Claus, which listed everything I wanted for Christmas and that yes, I had been a good girl this year. My roommate, Katie, just laughed at me and said she couldn”t believe that I still believed in Santa. I felt sorry for her, for she did not understand the true magic of Christmas, but I just told her to have a happy Hanukkah.

Despite all of the snide remarks and laughs that I had received with my Santa propaganda, I was still a loyal devotee to the fat man in the red suit.

That was two weeks ago, and now sadly, I think I know the truth: Santa is just a hoax and a ploy for commercialism. I found out when my letter to Santa was mailed back to me, unopened and sealed with a stamp from the Royal Oak post office. I was confused and hurt, and I couldn”t help feeling betrayed by my parents, who had allowed me to believe in Santa for nearly 20 years.

Matt McKeown, an Engineering junior, explains that the overabundance of Santas at the malls is a good way to learn Santa is a fake.

“As I grew older, I started to wonder how Santa could be at so many malls all at the same time, ” he said. It doesn”t make sense, especially when a Santa at one mall is fat, jolly and white, and at another mall, he is fat, jolly and black. As far as I know, Santa cannot change races to fit the needs of various children”s beliefs. Still, sometimes kids do not even notice these things.

“I thought Santa was everywhere because he was a magical dude. Plus, as a kid, I would believe almost anything,” McKeown adds.

Maybe sitting on Santa”s lap signifies that he”s no magical man who fulfills the wishes of bright-eyed, innocent children. Looking back on it, it kind of makes me sick to think that last year, Santa grabbed my ass as I climbed off his lap. I remember staring at him incredulously as he hollered a “Ho, ho, ho,” that reeked of whiskey. It seems like Santa was fulfilling some wishes of his own.

There are clues at home that also give hints as to Santa”s inexistence. Take the cookies, for example. If Santa is some fat guy who eats cookies and milk at every house he visits, then why does he bite off the smallest piece? It”s like Santa has the eating habits of a supermodel, especially when he does not take a bite at all.

“I would always put out cookies every Christmas Eve for Santa, but one morning, they were still there. That”s how I knew. I felt really betrayed and I never put cookies out again,” recalls Jessica Young, an LSA senior.

Parents ruin the fun of Christmas when they don”t play along. Sometimes, however, they get too involved with the Christmas spirit and blatantly lie to all of us, even to those who already know Santa is not real. These are annoying things that parents do, like telling us to go to bed early so Santa can come, while winking at each other at the same time.

Or, when you get a present that has a gift tag reading “From Santa,” and it was a present that you picked out at the mall with your mom. Come on, parents, get a little more creative. But, to be nice, it doesn”t hurt us to go along with the “fun” (a.k.a. lies).

Lynise Carr, an LSA sophomore, made the effort to pretend. “I went along with the idea of Santa Claus, even though I saw my parents putting the presents under the tree. Up until two years ago, I still got presents from Santa.”

Now that I have finally realized the truth about Santa, I guess it means I have to close a whole chapter on my childhood. There will be no more sugarplums that dance through my head, and now I do not think that my parents use that weird, velvet Santa suit for playing dress-up. It”s sort of sad to discover that my beliefs were all based on a fantasy and now I have to grow up. At least I still have the Tooth Fairy.

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