On Christmas morning, the living room was gorgeous. The light would reflect off the wrapping paper, creating a warm glow, and the stockings would be so full they were almost bursting. I knew my exhausted parents had made it all happen, but it still felt like something impossible had happened over night!
In fact, there was only one part of the holiday season that bummed me out, as a non-Santa kid, and that was other adults. For some reason, even though my parents were relaxed about the whole thing, me not believing in Santa was a problem for many grown-ups. Every year, someone would ask me if I believed in Santa, and when I said no, they’d start an argument. I’d try to explain that I was perfectly happy knowing the truth, but they either didn’t believe me or didn’t care. Sometimes they would stick to trying to “debunk” the evidence against Santa (fairy dust makes reindeer fly!) but oftentimes they resorted to a weird kind of shaming. I can vividly remember adults staring into my face, lecturing me on the importance of having faith, and insisting that it was of utmost importance that I found a way to believe in Santa. The message was clear: By knowing the truth, I had somehow failed. It was totally unfair.