How did I get into this predicament? How did I not see this coming? I mean… really.
My sons are both 10. Our family tradition follows that of many others, a jolly old man with reindeer arrives mysteriously to our house late Christmas Eve and leaves wonderful gifts for them under our tree.
It is magical. It is wonderful. It is life as they would want it to be. Except… it isn’t real.
I have been more than a participant in this happy charade. I have been the mastermind. Granted, I had the help of the whole world around us, all of society and the collusion of modern media.
So, why is it, now that we are getting to the age of “the truth comes out” that I am feeling like I am in strangely familiar territory… and territory that I never wanted to be in again? Why? Because again, as I just said…this is another coming out.
I am flashing back almost three decades. I was lock step in another family tradition, the one that said the eldest son would go find a girl and date her, and marry her. The feelings to do so would enter mysteriously into my consciousness, and leave little grand babies under my parent’s tree… err, in the nursery. It would be magical, wonderful and life as my parents would want it to be. But of course, it was not real either.
I worked very hard back then on my subterfuge. Everything, of course, was at stake. If they found out, they would not love me anymore and all that would be left was a life of shame and loneliness.
It is no wonder that this current subterfuge came so naturally then. I was deeply comfortable with creating an alternate reality and making a great case for it for the casual observer. Back then, I cruised attractive women in the presence of my parents and feigned embarrassment when they noticed me doing it. Awww, how embarrassing… you saw me look at the pretty lady that I have absolutely no interest in.. In the current version I upped my game by leaving foot prints, having the exact last minute requested gift they muttered hours before under the tree the next morning and photoshopped evidence of a surprised Santa in front of our very tree. My evidence has been so good that my sons have actually recently started to realize The Truth, only to remind them selves of The Proof, and faith has taken over again.
So here I am, looking out from the closet , part two. This time, the hangers are doing a jingle bells clanging thing.
My first step needs to be answering the ultimate coming out question. Do I bring it up first? Or do I drop hints and let them bring it up when they start to figure it out? I employed the latter with my parents. That did not go very well. Have you gone gay? That was the question my sloppy behavior lead them to ask. Has Santa gone non existent? No, I can’t face that coming from my sons.
This time I have to bite the bullet. I need to be the one to bring it up. That would make the parallel dialogues go something like this:
Mom and Dad, I have something to tell you./ Jess, Jase, I have something to tell you.
What’s that son? / What’s that Daddy?
It is about my sexuality. / It is about Santa.
Oh? What is it? / Oh? What is it?
I have not been honest with you / I have not been honest with you
You’re…not……gg..ggg / Whhh…what do you mean?
It’s not real. / Santa is gay.
Huh? / Oh…. Cool! We thought so!
Yeah. Yeah. That is a much better approach. Thank you all very much. This has helped a lot!
Merry Christmas…and Happy Holidays!
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I have to say in this case, let them figure it out themselves. I remember being a kid and just realizing the Santa thing didn’t make any sense. I heard a story a while back that a boy decided the only way Santa made sense is if he’s really the Doctor from Doctor Who. His parents have gone out of there way to play along and he’s going to have the best childhood memories about that. At ten I’ll bet they’ve got a pretty good idea its you, mainly because who else has given them everything in life they could ever want or need? I’d say don’t come out until they say, “Dad, we know its you.”
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OK, seriously, let them bring it up, and then let them know that they are now old enough to have the truth. Santa is indeed real (he lives in your heart). By being Santa for someone, you can spread love and kindness to those who may not have it, do not expect rewards for being Santa, do not expect a “thank you” for being Santa, just enjoy the fact that you did something nice for someone else and made them feel good.
Lovely post though, well written. 🙂
I remember being about 10 when I ‘knew’ what adults knew in regards to Santa. When I informed my mother, her reply was, “Don’t spoil it for you sisters and brother, they still believe.”
My youngest sister took a different tack when she was about 8 or 9, announcing at the dinner table, “I’m not sure Santa Claus is real.” Mom’s reply that time, with my brother the youngest, listening and observing in shock, “Once you don’t believe in Santa he doesn’t bring you gifts anymore. He wouldn’t have enough time to bring presents to everyone in the world. He can only manage to bring gifts to those who believe.” My brother, “I believe!” My sister, “I do too!”
It’s highly likely – they already know.
loved this!! my daughter still believes, she’s 7, but when my son was about 10 years old he questioned Santa’s existance. He told me if Santa was real that all his gifts that year would be wrapped in heart wrapping paper! Ok, where do you find Valentine wrapping paper in December? Well to my very relieved surprise I found Christmas wrapping paper that was covered in Christmas ornaments that were all in the shape of, you guessed it, HEARTS!!! Safe one more year, now to just hide, hide, hide that wrapping paper, which I did, and it bought me another year! As for my daughter, I don’t think she would care, if on Christmas morning she found out Santa wasn’t real as long as that cotton candy maker she wants was in her little sugar addicted hands!! LOL
Well if Dad dresses up, Santa in this case IS Gay.
But to get down to business, I think you’ll find they have a good idea that he doesn’t exist and are only keeping it up to humour you. This year, just put the presents under the tree with out all the showmanship. They may say something, then will be the time to tell them, but as i say, I think you’ll find they already know. You can tell them that Saint Nicholas is the person Santa Claus was names after (say Saint Nicholas quickly 10 times). Saint Nick gave gifts to the poor and that is why he is the giver of gifts to children at this time of the year, although he gave the gifts when they were needed, not particularly at Christmas. As I say though, I think you’ll find, that at 10 years of age, they know really.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NYdpte1W0vk David Sedaris on St. Nicholas.
I just asked this question on facebook: “So, when did you realize Santa wasn’t ‘real’? Did you feel lied to by your parents? (And for those of you who still believe in Santa Claus, this is just a hypothetical question. Of COURSE Santa is real!!)”
Awww I know my daughter is 11 and Santa was outted by accident by her teacher this year. I was sad.
I could see how it would feel similar. The shameful part is your real and shouldn’t have had to go through the outed process. Santa on the other hand… that heifer has been taking credit for my gift giving for years. He deserves it, plus that perv Elf on the Shelf has been stalking us. (I still have an 8 year old)
I don’t really remember having the Is Santa Real conversation. Just talking about how Santa is the spirit of giving, which lives on regardless of whether one believes in Santa or not. I read all the Santa books and watched all the Santa shows with my kids (all four) and I’m doing that with my grandson, now. The kids wrote letters to Santa. I’m going to have to ask them what they remember about finding out he wasn’t ‘real.’ My parents gave us gifts that said “From Santa” for awhile, but I sure don’t remember when I realized they were Santa. Loved the surprise ending on your parallel dialogue!
Well, I don’t what to suggest about your dilemma, but the article made me smile non-stop. Especially the last parallel dialog. Thanks!