Christmas past and presents

I’m 7 years old and it’s Christmas morning. I’ve been waiting for this day for six months. Being born on June 25, the two most important days of the year are perfectly spaced out.

I have gone through the traditional routine leading up to this moment: trying to be good, making a list, checking it twice, decorating the Christmas tree, leaving sherry and mince pies out for Santa, and going to sleep on Christmas Eve.

I wake up filled with adrenalin and run to the foot of my bed where Santa leaves my pillowcase of presents every year.

But there’s nothing there. THERE’S NOTHING THERE!

Horror washes over me. For a split second I try to assess how naughty I must have been not to get ANY presents. Then I start bawling.


I run across the landing into my parents’ bedroom, shattering their sleep. My mother wakes up alarmed and quickly assesses the situation. “Well, have you checked the landing?”

This seems like a silly idea. Why would Santa suddenly start leaving presents on the landing when he always leaves them at the foot of my bed? But hysterical and desperate to try anything, I run back to the landing.

Lo and behold, there is a pillowcase full of presents!! I was good! Santa does love me! I dry my eyes and relief pours over me.

I drag the bag of booty into my parent’s bedroom wondering aloud why Santa didn’t put them in my bedroom. My mother speculates that Santa might have been worried about waking me up. Well, that just seems daft, but I don’t have a better explanation.

I will never forget this moment–the ultimate rejection, the crushing of dreams. Thankfully it was only momentary, but I will never take Santa, or anything else in life, for granted again.

14 responses to “Christmas past and presents”

  1. cynthia says:

    very cute post.

  2. Mark says:

    Thank Goodness you didn’t have older siblings tell you that Santa doesn’t exist…

    and mine wonder why I never call.

  3. Tim Wager says:

    I’m probably repeating myself here, but I was the kid who broke it to his Kindergarten class that there’s no Santa. (I was raised by agnostic rationalists, what can I say?) I remember feeling that the other kids needed to know, that somehow living in the light of knowledge instead of stumbling around benighted by superstition would be much better for them. I was puzzled and flabbergasted that everyone got so upset. I mean, who wouldn’t want to learn the truth about the world? I still remember Craig Folts’s teary protestations and the teacher’s frown of disapproval at my having shocked and devastated my classmates. Wow, was I insufferable or what?

  4. Jen says:

    This is why I love you so, darling!

  5. Beth W says:

    A very sweet post Stella. I don’t remember ever believing in Santa and my mom says I didn’t. She says I was a cynical toddler. I think it might be disappointing to have a kid who won’t go along with the fun. But with two younger brothers, of which one at least believed, I was instructed not to spill or else I wouldn’t get any presents. That was enough to keep me quiet.

  6. Dave says:

    Very cute post. I remember arguing with other kids when I was 6 or 7 about whether Santa existed. (I was the skeptic, natch.) Still not sure about the ethics of teaching kids to believe in imaginary beings. In any case, leaving the pillowcase on the landing seems cruel, although it was no doubt something that was much more important to the young Stella than to her mother.

  7. santa says:

    Ho, ho, ho! But I did show up, didn’t I, Stella? So you can take for granted whatever you want! It’s all there, on the landing!

  8. Bryan says:

    We told our kids that santa was a real mythological figure and just waited until that eventually sank in. That way we didn’t have to lie to them.

  9. Bryan says:

    no offense intended to the dude who wrote #7

  10. LT says:

    are cynthia and dave the same person? did anyone else notice the “very cute post” echo?
    stella, this post is definitely adorable. i still believe in santa.

  11. Dave says:

    Like I said a few weeks ago, my superego deprives me of Cynthia’s ludic etc.

  12. cynthia says:

    ha ha hadave, no we are not the ssme person, although maybe we share the same views. Tis was a very cute post stella, I can remember as a child sleeping under the fire place waiting for santa to appear

  13. E. says:

    sweet bags of booty, i loved it!

  14. Eric Jones says:

    oh sure, bryan, riddle your kids with the cagey “real mythological figure” riposte. but when a president of the u.s. questions what is is, we all rue a wily subterfuge. . . . too funny! actually, i think your method a rather brilliant way to handle this child-rearing dilemma.