Why I Hate Santa Claus

Since I was born in 1946, I did not see a television until I was in third or fourth grade. Back then, it was relatively easy for parents to pretend Santa Claus existed, especially since we were living in Fort Richardson, Alaska, at the time. On Saturday mornings, we would go down to the basement and sit around the radio while we listened to children’s shows, such as THE TEDDY BEAR’S PICNIC.

We had no mall Santas. We had no malls. Parents didn’t have to explain why the Santa at Penney’s smelled like cigarettes and had gray hair while the one at Sears—at the other end of the mall—smelled like Old Spice and had white hair.

We had the Army Post Exchange. Period. Even then, we children never got to go shopping with Mother. There were seven children at that time, and the twin boys were still in diapers. Mother wisely chose to go the store without any children in tow. She went alone and stayed a long time.

When Christmas came around, all the girls in the family received dolls. I was sure I would receive an excellent, outstanding doll because I had tried to be extra special good for Santa. My twin and I, however, received very plain dolls. So did two other sisters. Very plain dolls.

Our younger sister received one that wet and talked.

I knew my twin and I were good girls, at least as good as our younger sister. Santa didn’t love us as much, apparently. I tried to figure out why.

That night, after my bedtime prayers, I asked Santa what I was doing wrong. I would just have to try harder to be a good girl, I thought, so Santa would love me more. I had a whole year to convince him.

Then when we got back to school after Christmas break, I found out about all the goodies the Mean Girl received. She got a new dress. And new ice skates. And a small motion picture machine that projected Mickey Mouse movies on the wall. All I got was a doll that didn’t even wet, much less talk. Santa loved her more than me.

A few days later, my mother caught me in a lie. Mother was a good old farm girl, who had ridden to town in a buggy pulled by horses when she was young. She believed in corporal punishment. Lots of people did, back in the fifties.

When she caught me in that lie, she used a switch on my legs until I was doing the ouch-ouch-ouch dance. I know people today are appalled when they hear of such a thing happening, but it was more accepted back then. “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” was often quoted by my devout mother.

It was only a couple of days later that I caught my mother in a lie. I heard her say into the phone, “I’m sorry, but we can’t come over after all. Marilyn is sick.”

I am? I don’t feel sick. Maybe I’m sick and don’t know it. No, I haven’t been to the doctor since we moved to Alaska… Mother told a lie! I don’t believe it.

 That very afternoon, I found out there was no Santa Claus. The Mean Girl told me. At first I refused to believe it, but my older sister told me the truth.

No Santa Claus? They had been lying to us all these years? Not just lying. Oh, no. Blackmail and bribery went along with it.

“You’d better stop doing that. Santa Claus will bring you coal.”

“If you don’t help clear the table, Santa Claus won’t bring you anything.”

I’m sure you have heard similar statements on the days–if not weeks–before Christmas.

Ever since that day, the jolly old elf makes me want to punch him out. Or at least take a switch to his legs.

I also worry about what little children think who live with their parents in cars or under bridges. Do their parents tell them that Santa forgot them or just that he could not find their house?

When my children were young, I told them right up front that Santa Claus did not bring their presents. Call me mean. Call me resentful. Call me bitter. I can take it.

I told them about the legendary Santa Claus.

Nicholas, who lived around 280 A.D. in what is now Turkey, became St. Nicholas because of his legendary kindness. History claims that he gave away the wealth he inherited. He also traveled around, helping the poor and sick. One popular tale states that he gave money to a father of three girls to keep him from having to sell them into slavery.

I found out later that on St. Nicholas day, December 6, families who follow the tradition present gifts to their children in his honor. I had to add the part about December 6 when my first-grader came home, hands on hips, and told me that many students in her class received a present from St. Nicholas that morning when they sat down to breakfast. In New Braunfels, a town with a strong German heritage, a St. Nicholas present was quite common. I never forgot another St. Nicholas Day.

When I originally told my children about St. Nicholas, I also told them to never tell other children who still believed in Santa that he was just an old tradition. Unfortunately, my son told all the children in his day care center that Santa was dead and that he had died long ago.

I still cringe when I remember the irate phone call from the day care director, followed by phone calls from the parents. I think they wanted to take a switch to my legs.

My daughter now has two children, and the first-grader still believes in Santa Claus. The fourth-grader now believes in Grandma, which is fine with me.



13 thoughts on “Why I Hate Santa Claus

  1. Pingback: Why I Hate Santa Claus | Marilyn Hudson Tucker

  2. Great story. When I was young, my mother always told me that if I believed in him, he was real. When I stopped believing is when he no longer existed. I accepted that for a while, but at 7 or 8, I began to doubt. I still thought there was a Santa, but he lived at the North Pole, and I knew that he could not cover the whole world in one night. I thought the Malls were helpers but not the REAL Santa. Interesting how the kids develop their own theories about Santa Claus.

  3. Great story Marilyn, I always told my children that each little boy or girl had their own Santa. It worked for a little while.

  4. I am 34 years old and still remember the day when the truth came out. I lived in Colorado at the time. I believed everything my parents told me and was wonderful at arguing. So when the other little kids told me Santa wasn’t real, I pressed on that he WAS REAL and only came to the houses where the children believed. Too bad for them, they were getting nothing, but I believed so he was definitely going to come, chimney or not! My parents sat me down when I was 8 and told me they were Santa. I was heartbroken and embarrassed. I was heartbroken because the man I believed in wasn’t real – he didn’t exist after all. I was embarrassed because I argued with everyone that he did indeed EXIST! My parents still played Santa and saved the biggest gifts for an unwrapped surprise on Christmas morning… Being a parent now, I don’t know when to tell them because, like me, I am sure they believe everything we, as parents, tell them at this point. Thanks for the story

  5. Great story! I never did believe in Santa, because there were too many incongruities. We don’t talk about Santa with our kids except to tell them basically what you told yours. But–tomorrow morning my kids will all find candy in their shoes, courtesy of St. Nicholas, provided they don’t act up during family rosary tonight.

  6. When I was quite little and had just “found out” there was no Santa, I was eager to share the news with a playmate who was slightly younger. She lived next door to an aunt I was visiting. Her psychotic mother threatened me if I didn’t take it back. It was a scary experience. Merry Christmas everyone:)

  7. It was different for me. I knew to discern between the real Santa Claus, and the guy in the red suit with elves. St. Nicholas’ tomb is in my grandfather’s home town of Bari, Italy. No hatred or memories of switches associated with Jolly Old St. Nick.

  8. Thank goodness my parents told me Santa Claus was a fairy tale, although the presents under the tree on Christmas morning said “To ___ from Santa” in my mother’s handwriting. We thought it was a fun game. My mother did a lot of things wrong, but she did that one just right. I can’t believe people still tell their kids this big, fat (pun intended) lie.

  9. Marilyn you were right to tell your children the truth! Why lie to them? My son has always known the truth about santa and he still enjoys every present just as much (he is 9 yrs old now), and yes I got lots of flack for telling the truth! I didn’t and don’t care! it’s the truth for goodness sake. I didn’t want my kid up in the middle of the night looking out the window for sleigh and reindeer, like I was as a young girl…..I too was shocked when I learned that my parents had lied to me about santa.

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