Junior Kimia Nader’s mom broke the truth about Santa Claus to her when she was only four of five years old.
“My mom told me the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real. I cried a lot and then she said, ‘I have another thing, Santa isn’t real either,’” she said.
Not real? The fluffy-bearded rotund man who she gave cookies to and received presents in return, not real?
Many DHS students like Nader have lost their belief in Santa a while ago, either as the result of just growing older or siblings or parents dropping the hint.
Sophomore Makenzie DeLaughder remembers when she believed in Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, she and her siblings would leave cookies and milk for Santa in front of the fireplace. “I remember I would leave food on the driveway to feed the reindeers too,” DeLaughder said.
DeLaughder grew out of Santa with age.
Sophomore Mandy Zheng remembers taking her Christmas picture with Santa, the time when she relized that Santa might not be real.
Zheng was so excited as she walked into the mall, all decorated up for Christmas with trees and lights everywhere. “The line was long but at the time it was worth it to get a chance to meet Santa,” she said.
“When I sat on Santa’s lap, his beard fell off and I was confused and disappointed,” Zheng said. She remembers the next year going to take another Santa picture and having that Santa’s beard fall off as well. “I thought it was the same Santa, but turns out, it was just a plain old man with a fake beard. It wasn’t the real Santa.”
“By six or seven, the combination of [kids’] own questions about all the Santas around, peer discussions, and the media are likely to have led to doubt,” said Dr. Bruce Henderson, professor of psychology at Western Carolina University.
However it isn’t necessarily the belief in a real Santa that makes Christmas what it is.
Santa Claus was based off St. Nicholas who was known for his generosity to children. The idea of Santa has changed over the years, but the holiday has never changed, Santa and his generosity has been celebrated every Christmas since.
“I forgot when I stopped believing in Santa Claus, but I still believe in the spirit of Santa,” sophomore Linday Brant said. Brant also added that she would never reveal the truth about Santa to a child in order to “keep the Christmas spirit alive for them.”
Dr. Henderson believes that older kids don’t spoil the magic of Santa to others because “they either are empathetic and don’t want to spoil [Christmas], or they may just enjoy the whole [holiday].”
Even though many DHS students don’t believe in Santa anymore, they still receive Christmas presents. “I get Christmas presents, but the one thing that is different is that I know they are from my mom,” Zheng said.
Christmas is a time of giving and celebrating family. Santa need not be around to do such.