Each year when December strikes, holiday spirit dives into the hearts children at full-force, bringing with it an abundance of joy, laughter, and a belief in the impossible. But as kids grow older, this belief becomes further and further out of reach until even Santa Claus is just a distant memory.
There comes a time within every child’s life when central holiday figures begin to appear wildly unrealistic, with the truth about Santa Claus acting as a main turning point. This instant occurs at largely varying intervals and in a myriad of different ways depending on the specific child, and these revelations differ greatly especially in the memories of students at DSHS.
“When I was in first grade, I saw my parents put it under the tree and [that] kind of messed it up,” junior Cassie Pruski said. “But even a few years after that, I still kind of held on, gave myself that faith.”
While some instances of learning about Santa were gradual, others happened almost instantaneously.
“I stopped believing in Santa Claus in, I think, third grade, whenever the Santa Tracker app first came out for the iPod,” junior Sarah Davison said. “My mom told me to go to bed and she was like, ‘Santa’s only an hour away!,’ and I checked the tracker app, and he said he was 12 hours away. So I was like, ‘Mom, you’re lying to me’, and she was like, ‘Santa’s not real,’”
Though the shock of Santa’s secret often hits children hard, many still have memories of when they believed to hold on to.
“I remember making gingerbread houses,” junior Lydia Lehman said. “[Santa] would eat that and then put something inside of the house, so we’d lift it up and there would be a little present.”
Other memories have been slightly modified by more recent revelations that explain seemingly magical happenings during the holiday season. Due to the realistic aspects of ‘Santa’s’ endeavors, secrets tend to come out.
“In kindergarten, we made that reindeer food out of the oats and stuff, and we spread it out in our backyard,” sophomore Helena Bjeletich said. “Then the next morning it was all gone and I was shook, but then later I found out that my sister had just eaten it.”
Though many parents worked hard to help their young ones believe, sometimes vengeful siblings ended up ruining the spirit for their younger counterparts.
“The year I stopped believing in Santa, I thought that Santa brought me a dog because my sister thought it would be funny to wrap up a can of dog food and say that Santa got it for me,” Davison said. “I’m like, ‘Did I get a puppy?’, and they were like, ‘No, it’s just dog food. Santa’s a jerk,’ and I almost started crying. It was a great time.”
However, if Santa did exist (as a real, good guy) some students wouldn’t react too excitedly.
“I’d be a little offended that he wasn’t coming to my house anymore and eating my cookies,” Lehman said. “He’s skipping out on me.”
While some hold onto hope of Santa Claus, the wide majority has learned to carry on without him, though the holiday spirit itself hasn’t wavered.
“On Christmas Eve, my parents walked out to go give the presents and they accidentally stepped on me on the floor, and they woke me up,” Bjeletich said. “I woke up [again] 15 minutes later, and they were gone, and it was over for me. It was over.”
Written by Katie Haberman, Features Editor