the cruelest christmas.

Christmas was magic when I was a child. Like the Christmas version of a Lifetime movie. Storybook-level magic. I wouldn’t have believed it was real-life if I hadn’t lived it.

My parents were amazing and beyond generous. Christmas morning was a dream. I still vividly remember the one where the Barbie Dream House was waiting for me. I may have cried with joy.


a recent pile of presents at mom’s (not as big and sprawling as when I was little).

My mom is pretty much Martha Stewart. At the peak of her Martha-Stewart-ness, I think we had 8 Christmas trees of varying shapes and sizes around our house. Not to mention all of the other decorations… inside and outside. We probably could have opened to the public and charged admission. But not in a tacky overdone way. It was all beautiful and elegant while still being festive and fun. Swags and lights and wreaths and little Santas and snowmen and reindeer… but nothing flashy or blinding. Beautiful.


my favorite of mom’s trees.

My dad used to put on his Santa costume after we went to sleep. He wore it until he went to bed so he’d be ready to walk quietly around the main Christmas tree if he heard my sisters or me wake up and get out of bed to peek downstairs. I think I was 4 or 5 the year I saw him. I snuck out of bed and tiptoed to the top of the staircase. I squatted down low… lower… until I could see presents under the tree. Santa’s been here!

And then I saw red pants… white fur… black boots. Santa’s still here!

Knowing I would be immediately transferred to the naughty list if Santa caught me out of bed so late [assuming I started out on the nice list, of course], I hurried back to my room and hid under the covers. I was too excited to sleep at first, but I finally conked out. I never told anyone I saw Santa [naughty list fears]. But when I hurried downstairs in the morning, I knew it was real. All that was left on the fireplace was an empty glass and a plate of cookie crumbs. And the carrots were gone.

Magic. I wish I could have bottled it… because it didn’t last and I’d love to feel that kind of hope and joy now… todaytomorrowwhenever I want.

Santa-claus-is-comin-to-town-titleI will never forget my first Santa-less Christmas.

I was only 6 years old. Oh, I believed. Rankin/Bass ‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town’ was my bible.

A few weeks before the big day, I sat at our kitchen table to write my letter to Santa. My eldest sister, then 10 years old, sat across from me. I offered her paper and a crayon to Santa-claus-is-comin-to-town-05write her own letter but she said no. Then she broke my heart.

You don’t have to write that, you know. But if you do, just give it to Mom and Dad. I was confused. And she explained. Because she is an enormous bitch. You know Santa’s not real, right?

I didn’t believe her. I ran out of the kitchen crying and screaming for my mom. The bitch thought this was funny. Mom hugged me and tried to make me feel better. She did all the right Mom things. But I was a smart kid. Some of the things I knew about Santa were pretty far-fetched. I was always a bit suspicious of the flying reindeer. And the logistics.

I tried desperately to force myself to keep believing, but I knew. I was devastated. I was only 6 years old and the magic was ripped out of my heart. That bitch.

It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed Christmas since then because I have. But it was definitely never the same. I could have had a few more years with the hope, the joy, the belief, the magic. But B [we’ll call that sister B because, you know, bitch] ruined it. I have never truly understood why she was so cruel to me [oh, her cruelty never ended… more on this later…]. Maybe it was because she didn’t believe anymore – if she had to live without the magic, so did everyone else. Because bitch. And you bet your ass I stopped her from squashing my younger sister’s magic Christmases! My little sister J was only 3 – she hadn’t even been alive long enough to fully enjoy the magic.

I continued acting with pure, excited Santa-belief until J was 9, I think. She came to me and told me she heard things at school. She knew. I confessed. And I know she loved me for letting her – helping her – believe as long as possible.


My kids both still believe… as far as I know. I’m fairly certain about my daughter [8], but less sure about my son [10]. He is definitely suspicious, but he has not said anything definitive. He is so like me, though. He looks for logical or scientific explanations for everything. But until he comes to me explaining how he has figured out that Santa is impossible, I won’t volunteer any sort of confirmation either way. But I dread the impending inquiries from him as well as my daughter. I don’t want to take the magic away. I don’t want to break their hearts. But… at least they have both enjoyed the magic of Santa Claus longer than my bitch sister let me enjoy it.

I hope some small part of that magic stays with them forever.


About what sandra thinks

Sandra is a writer, blogger, poet, artist, emotional disaster. She thinks far too much and sleeps far too little. Sandra lives in the Northeastern U.S. but dreams of an oceanfront home in Italy, but she would settle for a non-oceanfront home in Italy, too. She loves books, brutal honesty, coffee, and the color black. She hates insincerity, beer, whipped cream, and facebook. And she is uncomfortable talking about herself in the third person.
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20 Responses to the cruelest christmas.

  1. itsathought2 says:

    I was the youngest of 3. But a late surprise. My next sister was 7 years older. So my sisters were old enough to not want to ruin Christmas for me and just want me to enjoy it. However, I kept pretending to believe because it seemed like an obligation to everyone. Like if I stopped believing I would ruin Christmas. Everyone seemed to enjoy the make believe so much. So I just played along.

    I don’t even remember when I believed, I only remember the playing along part.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are lots of things I probably don’t remember from when I was that young, but this… it’s like it happened last week! I just wish I was perceptive enough at 6 to realize that this was only the beginning of B’s nastiness toward me!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Arlene says:

    I can’t even remember when I stopped believing.


  3. Thumbup says:

    What Arlene said, same me!


  4. Meritings says:

    How dare you even suggest that Santa is not real!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. lolabipola says:

    I was about 10 when I eventually had to ask my parents if Santa was real. They still tried to convince me he was, but I said, “So why are all the Christmas cards in your and dad’s handwriting?” – that was their cue to tell me the truth. It really does take the magic away. I can’t stand it when people try to ruin it for my kids. It really makes me wild!

    My son was about 10 when he asked if Santa was really real. He said, “You can tell me the truth mum. I’m big now.” – it broke my heart, but I told him he wasn’t real, and he burst into tears!!!! I have never felt so awful in my whole life! He’s been quite good at keeping the magic alive for his baby sisters, so hopefully we still have a few more years of magic for them.

    Sorry your sister was such a bitch!!! That wasn’t nice!


  6. izabolinha says:

    I too saw the Boot ! (It was quickly turning into the kitchen) And my father didn’t wear them 😉 I still believe 🙂
    And after years battling my in-laws so my kids could believe in magic (and not “isn’t Aunt …gift for you the best of them all ? duhh…) now it’s my kids that always “save” my Christmas and keep me believing in Santa Claus 🙂 🙂
    Merry Christmas ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I want to keep the magic alive even in myself, but I struggle to believe Santa’s out there if I never get what I really want for Christmas. Maybe I’m on the naughty list.

      Actually, that’s likely the problem… no ‘maybe’ about it. I’m on the naughty list for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. sassandsauce says:

    Awww. Siblings are so mean! I suppose I always knew Santa wasn’t ‘Real’ but I believe he’s real if you ‘believe’. You know faith, trust and pixie dust 🙂
    My family is Hindu so we didn’t do an elaborate Christmas, even so I like to believe in Santa. Also fairies and elves and all sorts of nice things. Funnily enough I’m quite an atheist otherwise!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. stephieann8 says:

    OMG Santa’s not real??? I kid. I don’t remember when I found out. I think my memory suppressed it. My nephew who is 7 still believes.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Once we kids started hinting around that “Santa” might not be who Mom and Dad pretend he is, we were told, “When you stop believing, Santa stops coming.” Well, then. I acted the crap outta that script well into my 30s.

    Liked by 1 person

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