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December 24th, 2009
10:58 PM ET

When did you stop believing in Santa Claus?

Emma Lacey-Bordeaux
CNN Researcher

This time of year you see Santa every where. He was even in the CNN Newsroom yesterday morning thrilling children, many of whom looked like they believed. A co-worker of mine, older and wiser than I, recently asked me when the magic stopped for me? When did I stop believing? She asked while musing about her own children's Christmas experiences and I sat for a moment with the studio lights of the newsroom shining down thinking aback to the Christmas lights of my childhood.

I can remember as clear as day all the excitement and anticipation waiting for the man in the red suit to deliver all those gifts. Only my Santa didn't have a red suit or a round belly. My Santa was clad in UPS brown and arrived in a brown truck instead of a red sleigh.

I grew up in a dizzying succession of college towns. Champaign-Urbana while my father was getting his doctorate, Baton Rouge, Chapel Hill and Bloomington, Indiana. Each location was far from my doting grandparents, aunts and uncles. While these family members intended to lavish me with all manner of gifts, my parents took the opposite approach. The salary of a post doc did not accommodate extravagance and my parents, perhaps conveniently, believed that by giving me only a small number of simple gifts my imagination would grow. A typical Christmas would net the dolls, movies and sugary delights from the UPS Santa, courtesy of my extended family, while the non-UPS Santa contained simpler gifts. Needless to say as a child the gifts which came by post fueled my belief in the magic of Santa.

As Christmas drew near I'd keep watch. When that brown UPS truck pulled up I'd squeal with excitement and even offer a cookie to the deliveryman. Moving only heightened the magic; with every address somehow the brown truck would find us in time to deliver Christmas goodies.

So when did I stop believing in my version of Santa Claus? Maybe never. That brown truck still elicits excitement only now the delivery is more likely an item from Amazon.com purchased with my very own credit card.

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Edna

    I was probably 6 years old. Walking to school with a group of kids talking about Santa Claus. I argued that he did exist; others said no. My sister was in the group, 3 years older. That evening my family told me, first there was no tooth fairy. That was okay. But when I was told there was no Santa, I cried.

    December 25, 2009 at 7:36 am |
  2. Jason L

    In my twelve year career as an Army soldier, I have had the opportunity to deliver countless toys to hundreds of children. This was a part of Operation Santa, a sister project of Toys for Tots. There are programs just like these all over the world and as long as this spirit lives in our hearts and minds, I will never stop believing in ‘Santa’.

    December 25, 2009 at 6:09 am |
  3. Vanessa, El Paso, TX

    I stopped believing when I was 5 yrs old. My mom told me, straight out, there is no Santa. I hated knowing there was no Santa Claus while all my friends were writing their letters to Santa. I never ruined it for anyone. I love how kids now-a-days do believe in him. Hope that tradition remains!
    Merry Christmas to everyone at CNN!

    December 25, 2009 at 4:51 am |
  4. Ria C. del Mundo

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Santa. It's very inspirational because I never stopped believing in Santa myself, I wore a suit this Christmas to nurture the spirit among my townspeople. A Filipino tradition we have is caroling, kids sing carols from Dec.16-24, it's a daily grind and we give out candies or coins, so this year I thought of being Santa and to see children with the excitement and the smile is priceless. It's not how much you give, but how you give with love and kindness.

    December 25, 2009 at 4:00 am |
  5. Avalon

    I would like to see more Santa and less politics. How about the government make every man woman and child in this country a double millionaire. That's less than 800 million dollars. That would help with forclosures, jobs, pay off their debt, healthcare. Better value for money than bailing out the banks. It would be good to see if the most blessed nation on earth could think outside the box.

    Avalon, Arizona

    December 25, 2009 at 1:58 am |
  6. Zkwc

    I never believed in Santa. I went along with th charade because I knew it meant
    more presents and I didn't want to upset my parents because they looked like they were having fun.

    December 25, 2009 at 1:18 am |
  7. Jada

    I stopped beliving in Santa when I was about 5 or 6. I remeber because I was always told that Santa comes down the Chiminey. I thought about it for a really long time. The same presents that were under the tree on Christmas Eve, were the same ones that were there on Christmas Day. So I asked my grandma. "Is Santa real?" She told me no. Still doesn't stop me from pretending. 😀
    Merry Christmas!

    December 25, 2009 at 1:02 am |
  8. A. Smith, Oregon

    Which Santa?

    The Santa at the Mall today that yelled and cursed at the crowd when a child whizzed on his leg?

    The Santa that robbed the bank yesterday and showed a 45 auto and a wicked smile?

    The Santa at the movies that goes house to house with a chrome fire ax and attacks anyone that answers the door?

    December 25, 2009 at 12:41 am |
  9. Mary

    what? I still believe!

    December 25, 2009 at 12:23 am |
  10. bowdi

    The minute I figured out that nothing and no one, could survive a trip down our skinny chimney, with a roaring wood fire burning in the air-tight stove in December.

    December 25, 2009 at 12:07 am |
  11. LKM Illinois

    The year my father became sick and I knew they needed to believe more then I because I could do without so the younger ones could have something at least back then there were no provisions for sick and diabled dad so as the older kids we gave it up about 8 years so the younger kids could have a treat

    December 25, 2009 at 12:01 am |
  12. jamescarrera

    i was the kinda child, who wanted the best to happen,even when i knew things were not going to change, my child hood was based on growing up now, realy never had a perfect christmas,just to much to live with as a child, dad was in the war, heavy drinker,parents only got along on sundays, till there divorce, and then taken away, placed on separate foster homes, from the age of three guess santa was, the last thing on my mind, where the rest of my family was at the time, had way more meaning, i am very blessed these days, with realy all my hearts desire,and i know in my heart forgiveness is the only way to accept ones past and have a chance for a bright future, church helped out a lot thank you father, i always think about how many others kids, longing for there loved ones, and pray they fond forgiveness no mater what they go through, and make there own perfect christmas

    December 25, 2009 at 12:00 am |
  13. Jeffrey Koons

    I remember it vividly when I stopped believing in Santa. I was in about 2nd grade and I was watching the local news with my grandparents. I guess now that the news anchor didn't think children would be interested in watching the news, because he mentioned that Santa was made up. I went to school and told a couple of other kids, but mostly kept it to myself.

    December 24, 2009 at 11:43 pm |
  14. Sebrina

    I'm with you. I don't think I ever stopped believing in Santa or the spirit of Christmas. I love this time of year. My family would decorate the tree, bake cookies and wrap gifts, which I now do with my 6 year old daughter.

    Today, when I told her that Santa might not be able to bring her what she wanted, but that she was loved dearly, her response brought me to tears. She said "that's ok mommy, love is the best gift anyway." After that, we hugged then watched Santa Clause is Coming to Town. So, I still believe.

    December 24, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  15. kelly

    seven. my sister told me and i saw the gifts in my parents room.

    December 24, 2009 at 11:26 pm |
  16. Sally Oberski

    When I saw my Dad coming down the stairs from our attic in the middle of the night with an Easy Bake Oven. He said he was "helping" Santa. I was crushed.

    December 24, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  17. Arisbeth

    How interesting and a little sad. I just caught my mom n dad putting our gifts under the tree when I was 5.

    December 24, 2009 at 11:23 pm |
  18. April

    We didnt have a chimney so that Santa concept was lost on me... Plus i always found the gifts so it was no fun lol

    December 24, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  19. Melba Ann Williams

    Only Child syndrome here– it was the 6th grade. Teacher was reading our class a book which mentioned there was no Santa. First she said Raise your hand if you believe in Santa~ Well in a room of 30 kids– my hand goes flying up. I looked around– no other hands up. They all cracked up laughing. It should be illegal to have only one kid. They have no big sister or brother to fill them in.

    December 24, 2009 at 11:19 pm |
  20. Carrie

    I was about 6 when I started to notice that Santa had the same uniquely slanted and distinctive hand-writing that my dad does. It didn't take too long....

    December 24, 2009 at 11:07 pm |
  21. Juliana Trindade

    I was probably 7 when I opened my fathers closet and found a doll. I remember, the very moment, I said to myself "awww, my father likes dolls too." Then i realized doll+december+hide = santa doesnt exist.
    The man himself doesnt exist, but the Santa espirit reallly does!

    December 24, 2009 at 11:06 pm |
  22. channing

    In 7th grade...some old guy told me Santa wasn't real and I punched him. And then my momma told me that you have to believe in the SPIRIT of Claus.

    December 24, 2009 at 11:06 pm |
  23. Christina Campbell

    I caught my parents coming through the back door with a Fisher price Vanity and other playsets and I wondered that whole night why santa made my parents carry in my presents but then I told my parents and of course they told me there was no santa.

    December 24, 2009 at 11:04 pm |
  24. Chris Hall

    I never really did stop believing. And, now that my children are grown they have never once said they didn't believe. Of course we all know the truth but the words have never been spoken. We all know that if you say you don't believe somehow you just don't seem to get what you wish for. Funny how that works.

    December 24, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  25. Kai

    Truth is that I never believed in Santa Claus.

    December 24, 2009 at 11:02 pm |