Alyssa: Christmas was coming around the corner, and I was sitting at my table in art class with several other students (one of which I had particularly taken a liking to). Before that day, I had never even questioned Santa’s existence, but hearing my crush and his friends slander Santa caused my belief to waver. I thought about it almost daily for a few months after that until finally, my suspicion was confirmed the day I found my trusted Elf on the Shelf, lifeless in my mother’s scarf drawer.
Maggie: When I was in Kindergarten, I came home from school one day wondering if Santa was actually real- I don’t remember if someone told me, or if I was just thinking about it for some reason. When I got home, I asked my mom, “Is Santa real?” She took me into the hallway, where my younger brother wouldn’t overhear, and asked me what I thought. I told her that I didn’t think Santa was real, and she told me I was right, but that I couldn’t tell my brother. It wasn’t life-shattering- we had only ever gotten one present a year from Santa anyway.
Ella: Every year when I was a kid, my mom would type out letters that were addressed to me from Santa and put it into my stocking. I had never known this and because I am an only child, I never had siblings continuously pestering me about the idea of Santa being a fraud. So, one night when I went through the dining room I saw her writing the letter and my eight-year-old self acted nonchalant about the act when she tried to cover it up. From that day on I would continuously poke my elf on the shelf and when “Santa” still came I thought, “Yep. He is indeed a fraud.”
Aidan: It was kind of an unspoken rule in my house that Santa would always use the same specific wrapping paper. Blue with a Santa pattern all over. That turned out to be my parents’ undoing. My 10th Christmas Eve, my mom asked me to run down to our basement closet, beneath our basement stairs, to grab a roll of paper towels. She had forgotten that she had moved the Santa presents into that closet for easy access late that night. So as soon as I opened that closet, it all came crumbling down. I walked upstairs with that paper towel roll, set it on the kitchen counter, and said to my mom, “You and I are going to have a long talk on the way to church.” And that’s exactly what we did.
Corey: My parents did everything they could to make sure I believed in Santa. We did the Santa tracker, milk and cookies, carrots for the reindeer. One year we even put out a beer for Santa, probably should’ve started to be skeptical then, but I wasn’t. It wasn’t until like 7th grade when I became skeptical because my friends started saying they didn’t believe anymore, so I was thinking about it all day. I went home and I asked my mom and she made a worried face and hesitated with her answer before she told me he was not real. I was then given the job to hide the Elf on the Shelf until I got sick of it and threw it at my sister to tell her it wasn’t real, at least I didn’t find out that way.
Superintendent Mr. Aiken: My oldest son, when he was 5, got a visit from “Santa” — my brother dressed up in a Santa suit. My brother had a pair of orange Air Jordan slides that he wore a lot and for whatever reason had them on with his Santa Claus costume. When my son saw them he knew right away that “Santa” was my brother and from that point forward he never believed.