Believing.

As a child, I was petrified of Santa Claus. Absolutely scared out of my mind to the point that my brothers both had to sleep in my bed with me until I was about 13 years old. I was a long believer in Santa, perhaps because I was the oldest child in the family and had no one else telling me he wasn’t real.

Even after I waddled downstairs while in the first grade at 3am because I was too scared to sleep and saw my mom stuffing a Barbie magazine into my stocking, I still believed.

At age 12, I remember talking on the phone with my cousin on Christmas morning, going over the presents that we got, and saying “He has to be real. How can parents have enough money for all these presents?” [FYI: I'm still trying to figure that one out. And I'm not yet a parent.]


On Christmas morning we’d always have a note from Santa. This was not a “Thanks for the cookies” note. This was a hand-written novel – pages and pages long. And we had to read it before opening our presents. It was torture! It would include details of our lives that year, witty anecdotes about neighbors, family and friends, and always something that scared the wits out of me, such as, “Jessica, you looked so peaceful while you were sleeping that I bent down and gave you kiss on the forehead.” I was so afraid of Santa that those words seriously gave me nightmares. Sorry, Dad Santa.

I remember exactly where the note sat in our old house where we lived until I was eight years old. “Santa” even left some soot on the carpet from where he came down the chimney. Clever, no? Once we moved in to a new house, Santa’s notes hung from the staircase, tied with ribbon. Then one year, Santa typed us a note with the new computer he got us. I have a feeling Santa found that typing his note was much more time efficient and he enjoyed the new computer just as much as we did. I’m also sure that as sad as it must be when kids stop believing, Santa must have found it refreshing to sleep in later than 5am on Christmas morning.


I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self to relish in the magic of Christmas. It goes so quickly and then we spend the rest of our lives trying to get that magic back, but it’s never quite the same.
I still want to believe in Santa.

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63 Responses to “Believing.”

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    Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin — December 22, 2010 @ 7:36 pm

    Awesome post. I love the idea of a letter to the kids that they HAVE to read before opening the presents to recount the previous year. So cute!

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    Kristin @ Mugs & Pugs — December 22, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

    Love this post! I still want to believe in Santa too – love this time of year!!

    Reply

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    Abby — December 22, 2010 @ 7:42 pm

    Hahahahahaaaaaa! I never believe in Santa… of course.

    But STILL.. every Christmas morning we would sit at the top of the stairs and my dad would go check things out downstairs. Sometimes he’d have to clean up the “presents” that Rudolph left.. And at our first house, he had to break santa out of the furnace because we didn’t have a fireplace. AND ONCE he caught Santa sleeping on the couch and had to throw him out the front door!

    I never believed in Santa, but man oh man, I loved the things my dad did Christmas morning!

    Reply

    • Jessica — December 22nd, 2010 @ 10:09 pm

      You NEVER believed?! You mean you can’t even remember being 4-5 years old and getting excited for Santa??

      Reply

      • Abby — December 22nd, 2010 @ 10:33 pm

        Nope! My parents just never talked much about him except on Christmas day. I guess they wanted the credit for the gifts!

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    Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine — December 22, 2010 @ 7:43 pm

    I wish I still believed in Santa too. I was telling my boyfriend the other day there I’ll probably only ever be that excited again a few times in my life: when I get engaged, when I get married, and when my kids are born. It was just so awesome when there was one day a year that you’d get excited enough to wake up at 5am and freak out about opening presents. Sigh. I miss being a kid in general!

    Reply

    • Jessica — December 22nd, 2010 @ 10:08 pm

      I know. There isn’t much to get excited about anymore!

      Reply

      • Misti — December 22nd, 2010 @ 10:39 pm

        You’ll find the magic again! When you have children or if you help a family in need, with children. The magic is with them! It is fun to try to find out what they want from Santa or steering them toward a gift (by the power of suggestion) to something you bought already.

        I have six kids and my 11 yo still believes. The older 2 are in on the secret and help with some “Santa” duties. At first, I thought it was horrible to lie to my kids, that it took away from what Christmas is about. But not so. Like you said, having dreams and holding onto the magic as long as possible is what it is all about, that and learning how to give without return. I wish I could go back! This is just as fun!

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    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — December 22, 2010 @ 7:43 pm

    great story! i too wish i reveled in the christmas spirit a bit more as a child. i still enjoy it but being a kid is the best!

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    Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun — December 22, 2010 @ 7:45 pm

    This is exactly why we will do Santa for M. I love the magic of it!

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    maggie — December 22, 2010 @ 7:45 pm

    I LOVE this. I believed in Santa until I was around 12 despite all of my friends telling me otherwise. Fortunately one of my siblings is almost 9 years younger than me, so I got to play along with the Santa thing for her benefit for quite awhile even after I knew the truth!

    Have a merry Christmas!

    Reply

    • Jessica — December 22nd, 2010 @ 10:08 pm

      You too Maggie!

      Reply

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    Kacy — December 22, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

    I miss Santa too! My best friend burst my bubble in first grade and I was devestated.

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    • Jessica — December 22nd, 2010 @ 10:07 pm

      Darn her.

      Reply

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    Sana — December 22, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

    My mom told us that we were such bad kids that Santa would never come to our house. Oh and we were Indian. So no Santa.

    Reply

    • Jessica — December 22nd, 2010 @ 10:07 pm

      I am laughing out loud at this, only because I know you and I love you. Hahahahah.

      Reply

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    Beth @ 990 Square — December 22, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

    Did you have to cover for your parents with the younger siblings when you were older? I did, and I think it made the fun of the holiday and believing last a bit longer!

    Reply

    • Jessica — December 22nd, 2010 @ 10:07 pm

      I think I did, but I barely remember doing that!

      Reply

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    Jenn L @ Peas & Crayons — December 22, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

    awww I know! I miss it too! I found out he wasn’t real pretty early in life so i’m going to try to make him stay real for longer with my kids/nieces/etc… as much as possible

    but in all seriousness… the idea of a big fat creeper watching us as we sleep? woah. i’ll leave that part out! haha

    Reply

    • Jessica — December 22nd, 2010 @ 10:07 pm

      Really! I never thought of it that way.

      Reply

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    shannon — December 22, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

    Awesome post!

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    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — December 22, 2010 @ 8:01 pm

    What do you mean he’s NOT real!?

    Reply

    • Jessica — December 22nd, 2010 @ 10:06 pm

      Sorry Chelsey! :)

      Reply

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    Kristina @ spabettie — December 22, 2010 @ 8:03 pm

    <3

    we received letters in the mail from Santa. :) I always loved those.

    I remember my step dad calling my young cousin each year, pretending to be Santa over the phone.

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    Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries — December 22, 2010 @ 8:07 pm

    I believed until I was about 10 and also wish I could go back. I was never afraid, but I wish I hadn’t felt the need to find out he wasn’t real. I ALWAYS have “to know”. Know what I mean?

    Anyway, as cheesy as it is, I believe the magic of Santa is very real and is in us all. After all, how can parents afford all of those presents?!

    Reply

    • Jessica — December 22nd, 2010 @ 10:06 pm

      I was the same! I always “needed” to know. And I believe in it too – to this day my dad has still never said that Santa isn’t real.

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    Heather (Heather's Dish) — December 22, 2010 @ 8:10 pm

    oh my gosh that’s so adorable!

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    Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) — December 22, 2010 @ 8:12 pm

    This is so sweet…believing. Relishing in childhood. It’s been one of the biggest gifts of parenthood; reliving my childhood again, but as an adult w/ adult perspective and insights. :)

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    Kristen — December 22, 2010 @ 8:25 pm

    Oh this is so wonderful. You made my day and made me reflect on my childhood. I believed in Santa until about the time caller ID came…when i found out that Santa wasn’t calling from the North Pole, but my grandpa was…in Ohio…with my grandma ringing the bells behind him. I always wondered why Santa talked to my mom the longest. I just thought he was cluing her in on what we wanted to see if it was ok. Sometimes Santa said no.

    I still wonder how parents paid for that awesome “McDonald’s” kitchen I got…and how he always knew my favorite candy. I am so excited to have kids someday to see Christmas through the eyes of them. And for them to believe in Santa. I just hope my dad will call and my mom will ring the bells. :)

    Reply

    • Jessica — December 22nd, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

      This is one of the reasons I’m excited to have kids too!

      Reply

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    Alisha @ Wee Foodie Fashionista — December 22, 2010 @ 8:26 pm

    This is adorable. I just read a blog about a mom who won’t be doing Santa, but instead is going to use Christmas as a time to remind her children that those gifts were worked for and earned by the parents. I understand that side of things, but it makes me inexpressibly sad to think that her kids won’t have the wonderful, magical memories we had as kids. I wish I was still a kid, waiting for it to be time for Santa to arrive and running to the living room to look at the tree. Sheer joy that you just don’t find as an adult in almost anything. I would never take that away from a kid. Never ever ever.

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    mrsgregwillis — December 22, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

    What a great recollection! I am going to have to start the letter writing this year, thank you for sharing!

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    Kat — December 22, 2010 @ 8:48 pm

    HAHAHAHAHAHA Jessica! That is hilarious! Seriously – Santa is kind of a creep in your house if he’s watching you sleep. LOL By the way, why did you accept presents from a guy that scared the heck out of you?!

    Reply

    • Jessica — December 22nd, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

      Never thought of it that way… hahaha.

      Reply

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    Corey @ the runner's cookie — December 22, 2010 @ 8:49 pm

    That is so precious that your parents wrote out the long notes from Santa – and typed it the year you got a computer! I guess Santa really did know if you were naughty or nice :)
    I wish I could still believe in Santa too – I think I stopped believing pretty young but wouldn’t admit it to myself!

    Reply

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    Liz @ Blog is the New Black — December 22, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

    Jessica, I loved this post, and you didn’t even mention chocolate!!!

    Reply

    • Jessica — December 22nd, 2010 @ 10:04 pm

      Rare, huh? ;)

      Reply

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    Healthy chocoholic — December 22, 2010 @ 9:42 pm

    I believed in Santa for the longest time. All of my friends thought that I was crazy!! =D I even made “reindeer food” so that Santa’s reindeer wouldn’t be hungry!

    Reply

    • Jessica — December 22nd, 2010 @ 10:04 pm

      That is awesome.

      Reply

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    allison @ livingoneday — December 22, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

    i love this! it makes me think of the polar express. “the bell stills rings for all who truly believe.” i loved the magic of christmas, and finding out there was no santa was absolutely devastating. my sister is having a baby girl in march and i am so excited to begin the magic of christmas again :) <3

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    Terry — December 22, 2010 @ 10:13 pm

    Such a sweet and touching post! And as a mom, I can tell you all the only thing better than believing in Santa is when you get to BE Santa. So many great memories of my husband and I finding/building/hiding those gifts that the parents “could never afford.” My daughters are in college now, but I’m looking forward to the day when I’m Grammy Santa….Merry Christmas all!

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    Mish — December 22, 2010 @ 10:15 pm

    Thank you for this post. I was going to write something similar on my blog tonight. It is so marvelous and exciting to have that “feeling” of magic the days leading up to Christmas. To believe that a Jolly Man that has flying reindeer, and little elves that help him, comes to your house and leaves you presents. It’s even more magical to watch your children have that same “feeling”. To see the twinkle in their eyes, to still feel the butterflies in their tummy. It makes the difficulties of parenthood melt away, even if for just a brief moment! Heck, I have butterflies in my tummy just thinking about how it felt when i was little!! :)

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    Mary @ Bites and Bliss — December 22, 2010 @ 11:58 pm

    Awwwe scared of Santa? Well actually..I can understand why. I mean, it is sort of a scary concept. I wasnt scared of Santa himself..but I would HATE to sit on his lap. It was dreadful.

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    Lauren — December 22, 2010 @ 11:58 pm

    Your post made me smile. Both Santa AND the tooth fairy wrote me notes…and I too…was terrified of them. That being said-I believed till I was 13. As an adult, I am so glad I had that many years. I’m glad you had many as well.

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    Your Dad — December 23, 2010 @ 12:12 am

    HEY Angel Cake – Santa left those long letters – maybe you get your writng skills from Santa? I guess not – but probably from your Dad??????? xoxo

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    Kristen — December 23, 2010 @ 12:18 am

    totally agree about the magic…even though i know santa isn’t real now i love the memories of santa growing up. and my mom still to this day writes “santa” on the gift tags, i love it and i’m 32 years old!

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    Kocinera — December 23, 2010 @ 12:23 am

    LOL!! My sister and I were laughing the other day at that lyrics from “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” when it says “He sees you when you’re sleeping / He knows when you’re awake.”

    Oh, and good staging on your parents’ part with the soot! My parents took a picture of a huge boot sticking out of the fireplace, like they caught Santa just as he was leaving. :D

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    Marie Elena — December 23, 2010 @ 12:41 am

    I had “the talk” with my parents when I was in 4th grade (which I now realize is really late!) and halfway through that talk, I realized I just couldn’t give up the magic. I asked them to sit me down when I turned 13 and tell me if Santa was real or not. Somewhere in there I stopped believing, but I’m with you, I wish I could still believe. I guess that’s why we have children, so we can pass the magic along! :) Have a merry Christmas!

    (P.S. – I’ve been reading a while and this is my first comment! Love your blog, it’s one of the only ones my husband stands over my shoulder reading along!)

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    Jess — December 23, 2010 @ 1:35 am

    This is such a precious post!! Makes me wish my younger brothers still believed!
    <3 jess

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    Andrea — December 23, 2010 @ 2:01 am

    Great blog Jessica! I am also the oldest of four kids (my youngest brother is 9 years younger) so I got to enjoy the magic of “Santa” for a really long time! I loved those years! Oh to be a child again where everything is full of joy & magic! I have 2 neices and a nephew and this is the first year that they really ‘get’ Santa – I am so looking forward to spending the holidays with them! Merry Christmas to you & your hubby!

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    Jane B — December 23, 2010 @ 2:08 am

    Love this post. I had a friend who believed in Santa all throughout high school because her mum would always threaten her with “if you don’t believe, you don’t receive” whenever she questioned it. She was so scared of missing out on presents, she kept it up until she was 18!
    As for myself…one Christmas morning (I think I was seven or eight) I woke up really early and was bugging my folks to get out of bed so we could open presents. My mum and dad wanted more sleep-in time, so my dad stormed out of bed, went straight to my Santa sack in the living room, rustled around and pulled out a present. He unwrapped it – a new video for me – and put it on, with instructions not to wake anyone else up until it was finished. As I sat watching the video, it dawned on me – how did my dad know that video was in the sack if it was from Santa? Thus I discovered Santa wasn’t real on Christmas Day. Ooops!

    Reply

    • Jessica — December 23rd, 2010 @ 2:20 am

      Awww! That is pretty funny though. :)

      Reply

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    Kelly — December 23, 2010 @ 4:56 am

    Great tale as always. I also adore the depth of field in your photo. Stunning!

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    Alaina — December 23, 2010 @ 6:23 am

    Just reading this post made me think of Christmas’s at my grandparents house in Maine. My cousins and I would be amazed when the cookies and milk were gone and even the carrots for the reindeer! We always got up at, like, 5AM and just sat on the stairs, looking at all the presents, and waiting for our parents to wake up.

    Those were good times. Thanks for the flashback :-)

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    Lauren @ Once Upon a Brewhouse — December 23, 2010 @ 8:43 am

    First and foremost “Your Dad” rocks! I would listen to him, “Angel Cake”. (I am lucky to still have both my parents also: I am “Little Girl”).

    Second, as adults we need to join the “I was scared of santa” support group. I believe Augusten Burrows’ and David Sedaris’ Christmas essays help us get thru that. Just never read those stories to a minor before reading them yourself. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

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    Blond Duck — December 23, 2010 @ 11:05 am

    I do believe in Santa.

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    Wei-Wei — December 23, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

    I never believed in Santa – mostly because I haven’t really gotten any Christmas presents. These are really cute stories, though – your family is so lovely :D

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    Jamie — December 23, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

    I was scared of Santa too and in fact I used to sleep in my younger sister’s bed Christmas Eve and every year we have the discussion of “Remember when you were scared of Santa?” hahahah….and now my son says he’s scared of Santa too and doesn’t want him to come into his room to see him sleep. lol…I guess the apple didn’t fall to far. I still believe tho and it was the most magical time of life.

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    Amy — December 23, 2010 @ 4:00 pm

    I love this post. And I’m here to tell you you CAN still believe. I know I do. Sure, I know who brings the presents now, but guess what? Santa is so much more than that, and your post shows it. Notice that you didn’t speak about the gifts you received but about finding those letters and the extra touches Santa left behind. Santa, to me, is all about the spirit of Christmas…and I delight in the warm fuzzy feelings I get when I think about him–and about doing things for others. I feel so happy inside when I watch little kids who still believe sit on Santa’s lap in awe…and when they learn a lesson about the spirit of giving. Little kids are so much more free and open with their emotions that sometimes I think they’re smarter than adults. We get jaded as we grow, and there’s something so magical about kids who don’t have to worry about the big life stuff yet. I just feel like we could all use a little magic these days, and I find that secretly hoping there really is a Santa out there helps bring a little bit of magic to me.

    Cheesy, I know, but…I just can’t give it up. And I never will.

    Reply

    • Jessica — December 24th, 2010 @ 12:41 am

      Perfectly put!

      Reply

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    Kristi — December 23, 2010 @ 10:53 pm

    Oh my goodness… I say this all the time. I wish that I still believed in Santa. I want that anticipation on Christmas Eve that this magical person is going to deliver presents because you’ve been good all year!!! I so want to be young again and appreciate the magic of Christmas.

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    Marla — December 25, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

    Having little kids brings all the magic back & it truly is amazing! Merry Christmas :) xo

    Reply

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