I accidentally crushed a classmate’s dream when I was in first grade.
My memory is hazy, (we’re talking over twenty years ago, bare with me). I can only assume that the context was that we were coming up on the holidays and we must have been doing some sort of classroom activity oriented towards Christmas.
One of my classmates and I were talking and she was talking about how excited she was for Christmas. Understandable, as I was always a big Christmas person myself. But somewhere in the conversation, she mentioned something that threw me off completely:
“I’m pretty sure Santa’s gonna get me this! What are you asking Santa for?”
Here’s the thing. I was a kid that wasn’t raised with the belief that Santa Claus is a real, living human being. In my mind, he was as ‘real’ as Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, Cupid, the Easter Bunny, etc. Santa was presented to me as “Oh, another Christmas thing! It’s just for fun!” What I didn’t realize is that not everyone felt this way. In fact, many kids my age truly believed that Santa Claus was not only 100% real but he was really the person giving them all their presents. Still confused, I responded:
“I get my presents from my mom and daddy. My aunts and uncles give me presents too.”
She returned the confused expression. It was as if she never entertained the idea that her parents — the people who literally give her food, water, clothes, etc. — aren’t also the ones giving her the Christmas presents.
I won’t dive into the entire conversation but — long story short — I looked this girl dead in her face and told her Santa Clause is not real. She proceeded to cry and I continued being confused.
A Santa-Free Christmas Upbringing
I never thought it strange that my parents didn’t put emphasis on Santa Claus when I was growing up. It’s just not what we did. But these days I’m seeing that a lot of people view not allowing your kids to believe in Santa as somehow “robbing them of imagination and wonder”.