We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us their how they found out Santa wasn't real. Here are the stories...
1. Disney Disaster
"When I was eight, my mom and dad took me to Disneyland close to Christmas for some holiday fun. On our way out of the park after an awesome day, we were talking about Christmas presents and Santa came up in conversation. My dad then looked down at me and, thinking I already knew the truth, said 'Well, you know Santa isn’t actually real, right?' My mom got so mad and I was really upset, but played it off cool and said 'Yeah I knew that.' I cried in my room that night."
2. Mixed Messages
"I told my little brother when he was five. He was ok with it, the crying classmates he told in kindergarten were not. The teacher called my folks and while my mom was mad when I confessed I told him, my dad gave me a high five."
3. The Hamster
"One year, Santa got me a hamster for Christmas. However, we had a Christmas Eve party the night before and all the guests from the party, including my grandma, told me they met my hamster the night before in my parent’s closet."
4. Living A Lie
"It was just a random day when my mom told me that she wanted to talk to me. I didn’t know what was going on but she took me into a room and closed the door. She then went on to say that Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real. I was all like 'yeah right mom' but she then took me into her bedroom and unlocked a drawer. She then took out past notes to the Tooth Fairy and the ‘special wrapping paper’ Santa always wrapped our presents in, and pre-written Santa notes. It hit me pretty hard that I’ve basically been LIED to for about 10 years, but I got over it I guess."
5. Old Saint Nick
"In kindergarten, we were learning about saints. I asked if saints had to be dead in order to be saints, and my teacher (who was backed into a metaphorical corner by a 4 year old) just said yes. During the next holiday season, we were learning that Saint Nicholas was Santa, I connected the dots. I went home and told my parents that Santa was dead and that I knew they’d been giving me presents for years."
6. The Gentle Let Down
"I was 12, and I STILL believed, without a doubt, that Santa was real. Not wanting me to get found out and teased by my classmates, my parents decided to break the news to me gently. I however didn't take it very well, and I cried my eyes out for a good hour."
7. The Guilty Aunt
"I was 10 or 11 and in the middle of a shopping centre when my Aunt said; 'you know Santa's not real, right?'. I did not. Had a proper breakdown and both she and my gran had to calm me down as it was like a death in the family. All day they tried to appease me and bought me a couple of toys. My Aunt even gave me £20 to make me feel better."
8. Santa's Bra
"Santa's handwriting looked a lot like my mum's and his signature changed every year so I eventually started to guess but never voiced my suspicions. I tried to play along with the santa thing for my younger sister, but when he got me a bra in my stocking when I was 13 and I had to tell my sister the truth and stop living the lie."
9. The Letter Of Explanation
"We had this family iPad when I was younger and my mom had Pinterest on there. Once around Christmas she asked me to pull something up on one of her boards, and I found and article with ideas and topics for a letter to one’s child explaining that Santa isn’t real. I was pretty upset, to say the least."
10. Caught Red-Handed
"It was Christmas Eve when I was 11 and couldn’t sleep so I walked outside of my bedroom only to see my mom bringing all the presents down the stairs. As soon as she saw me she froze, dropped the presents and ran back up the stairs. I went back into my room and cried, and then my dad came in and begged me not to tell my 6 year old sister and 1 year old brother. It was traumatising at the time, but now me and my family laugh about it!"
11. The Footprints
"My Dad used the make footprints from Santa by dipping a pair of boots in icing sugar and printing them across the living room to seem like snow. When I was around 7 and particularly chubby, I ate the footprints realising they were icing sugar and my suspicion arose from there."
12. Teacher Telling Off
"My third grade teacher was asking us what we were asking our parents for for Christmas because 'I mean you all know Santa Claus isn’t real.' I told my parents and my father literally went down to the school the next day and cursed her out."
13. The Sneaking Suspicion
"My cousin and I were awake quite late on Christmas Eve as we were too excited to sleep and we could hear noises downstairs that sounded an awful lot like sellotape being unfurled and paper being cut. We had already had our suspicions, so we sneaked out of the bedroom we were sharing and stood at the top of the stairs trying to peer down into the living room below. Suddenly someone started coming towards the stairs and my cousin reacted quicker than me, moving to straighten up and run from the stairs, and smacked her head down right into the bottom of my chin. I bit my lip hard in the kerfuffle, it started bleeding, and I started crying my eyes out. My cousin tried to shush me to no avail, and the person coming towards the stairs (my Dad), found us covered in blood and tears at the top of the stairs. When he asked what was wrong all we could say was ‘you’re Santa aren’t you?! You’re wrapping our presents now, we saw you!’ and he was so shocked he didn’t deny it. Worst Christmas ever, although my cousin and I did get matching bikes."
14. The Phone Call
"Every year Santa would call me and ask me what I wanted for Christmas and to check I had been a good girl. When I was 8 after the call I looked at my parents and said 'Santa sounds a lot like my Uncle John.' Santa never called me again."
15. Sticky Surprise
"My mum owned a sellotape dispenser that was rather noisy. When I was 8 or 9. I was woken on Xmas eve by the sound of my mum loud whispering, laughing and swearing as she tried to wrap bean bags for my sister and me."
16. The Mix Up
"There used to be two piles of gifts on Christmas morning, one for me and one for my younger brother. They were wrapped in the same wrapping paper and never had handwritten tags with our names because my mom knew I’d recognize the handwriting. Christmas Eve night, when I was supposed to be sleeping, I heard my parents arguing which pile a gift belonged in since it was already wrapped. Woke up the next morning an opened up half of my brothers gifts while he opened half of mine."
17. The Forgery
"Every year my artist dad gives me presents from my pets and my favourite celebrities. He’ll come up with different types of handwriting for each of them. My favourite football players, Roy Keane and Wayne Rooney had really beautiful, flowery handwriting. I realised that Santa wasn’t real when I noticed that Santa had the same handwriting as my pet bird."
18. The Recycling Bin
"The year I became sceptical, probably in 1997, my mum suggested I email Father Christmas my wishlist and then I could delete the email. Surely there was no way to retrieve a deleted email, right? So if I got the presents I asked for he had to be real! Christmas rolls around and all my wished for presents arrive. The following year, on Christmas Eve, I'm lying in bed trying to fall asleep despite my excitement and overhear my parents tell my hard of hearing grandad how, unbeknownst to little me, they could retrieve my email from the recycling bin on the computer to see what I asked for and it was all a lie. Christmas ruined."
19. The Trap
"When I was 5 I decided to try and capture Santa. I put my duvet over my bedroom door, thinking it'd work like a net. Mum was not impressed. It did mean I got an extra present every year so I wouldn't tell my siblings."
Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.