Santa Claus is coming to town

Rithika Ashok, Assistant Features Editor

It’s Christmas Eve, and freshly baked cookies and a glass of cold milk are placed next to the dazzling tree. The children are jumping up and down in excitement and nervousness. Parents hurriedly tuck their children into bed, kiss them goodnight and shut the door behind them. These moments of peace are all they need to wrap the presents and place them under the tree. Unknown to them, the oldest, hiding behind the tree, has just spotted them wrapping the presents. What happens next? Will the incident be followed by hysterics, a tantrum or an honest discussion with Mom and Dad?

Children throughout history have found out the truth about St. Nick in a variety of different ways. Many students and teachers have their own memorable experiences of when they found out that their beloved Santa Claus was none other than parents.

Teachers with children have their own methods of keeping the Santa magic alive during the holidays.

“I was the mom that went to great lengths for the Santa thing. I would write ‘From Santa’ with my left hand. I would use different wrapping for Santa than I used for everything else. I have two sons. I thought I was being super slick,” Latin teacher Stacey Kenkeremath said. “Well, when they were six and eight they approached me; the older one was always the spokesman for the younger one. [He said,] ‘We have been talking, and we think you should know we don’t believe in Santa anymore, and we haven’t for a while. We figured out your handwriting trick, and we know that [wrapping] paper was in the basement all year.’ I said, ‘Okay….’ And then the younger one pipes up, ‘We still want the stockings.’”

Students have found out the truth through various ways, including friends at school or parents at home. Some students prefer one over the other.

“Never tell [the kids],” sophomore Kayla Kim said. “I think they should find out at school through friends, because then they won’t be mad at the parents for telling them.”

However, some parents feel that the responsibility of unveiling this news should come from them, since they were the ones impersonating Santa for years.

“Children are really excited for Christmas every year, so we don’t want to ruin their excitement. They shouldn’t find out through friends at school,” senior Gurleen Kaur said. “I found out when I was 11 [when] my dad told me that Santa wasn’t real and all the gifts we got were given by him. I felt really bad, but I got over it.”

Some students decided to purposefully upset their siblings by spilling the secret.

“I grew up in Nepal, and I had never believed in Santa, but my sister who grew up here. She believed in Santa, and she started getting free gifts,” sophomore Kat Sharma said. “I didn’t get that experience, so I ruined it for her and told her Santa wasn’t real. She was in denial, but she outgrew that.”

Some siblings prefer to form a pact of silence so that parents continue to give them gifts.

“I have an older brother who is three years older than me, and he told me when I was six or seven that Santa wasn’t real,” Kim said. “We both agreed to pretend that we believed in Santa so our parents would keep giving us gifts for the next few years.”

The tough question of how to navigate the Santa issue is a big step in parenting and a child can react in many different ways. However, the tradition of taking a picture with Santa can still continue through a lifetime.

“One year when [my kids] were in college and totally broke, they asked me, ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ And I said, ‘Just go get your picture taken with Santa,’ Kenkeremath said. “So every year since, as adults, I get Santa pictures, the two of them, adult men, sitting on Santa’s lap.”