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4th December 2023

The day I found out Santa isn’t real

How old were you when you found out Santa isn’t real?
The day I found out Santa isn’t real
Credit: Addy Mae @Unsplash

For those who celebrate Christmas, it’s not the same as it used to be for many of us as children. For those hopeful and oblivious enough to believe a generous old man gave presents to children all over the world every year, finding out this was all a lie and that Santa does not, in fact, exist was a low point. Christmas was never quite the same again. We share several of these world-shattering moments. We just hope that you know by now and this isn’t the way you found out!


I was maybe 6 or 7, and I sneaked downstairs just after going to bed to get a glass of water. I peeked around the door into the living room and was surprised to see my very drunk uncle dressed in a Santa costume, sitting next to the mince pies I had trustingly left out for the real Father Christmas, singing and playing guitar. In that moment, it clicked and the genius in me worked out it must all be a lie.


I came home from primary school one day in December, and everyone had been chatting about this Santa guy. I asked my mum who Santa was and she just said, “Who?”, having never heard of him. It spiralled from there as I discovered that Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas and that Santa couldn’t possibly be real.


I found out at a pretty early age I would say. At the age of three or four, I was terrified that in the middle of the night a strange old man was coming into my room while I was sleeping. I would say that’s a fair enough fear, stranger danger and everything. I told my mum I did not want a strange man to come into my room, so she told me my dad would dress up as Santa every year and fill the stockings. From then on I knew it was only my dad, although for years I thought he put on a full Santa suit every Christmas Eve.


I was a very cynical child, so I always thought Santa was a load of rubbish. I was that evil kid who found joy in telling other people Santa wasn’t real and ruining their fun.


We were all sitting outside of Maths in Year 4 waiting for our teacher, and my friend spilt the tea to me that Santa is not real! I went to tell my mum, but being pregnant at the time with my younger sister, she told me we would have to keep pretending for another ten years or so.


By secondary school, most children were aware that Santa’s existence would be pretty much impossible, but I was still a believer. In year 7 English, my teacher said to the class that we must all know by now that Santa isn’t real, and everyone was like well yeah, obviously. This completely shocked me, and I burst into tears in front of the whole class.


Unlike most normal families who hung their stockings above the fireplace, we put ours at the end of our bed. I heard some rumours at school that Santa might not be real, so I thought I would stay up on Christmas Eve to see for myself; only to wake up to find my dad filling my stocking. I never confronted him, but Christmas was never the same after that.


Finding out Santa wasn’t real came out of nowhere. Early one December in primary school, a classmate decided to bring up the topic of Santa in conversation. We were discussing how the routine of Christmas morning worked in our houses when someone decided to reveal the myth – very matter-of-fact. I had had my suspicions, but it still took me by surprise. I was a naive child.

Miriam Alston

Miriam Alston

Deputy Lifestyle editor 2023-24

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