We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to recount how they found out Santa wasn't real. Here are the painfully innocent results.
1. Submitted by Reyrocksail.
I put laxatives in the cookies and milk. Found out when my grandpa was on the toilet all day.
2. Submitted by Katie Allred (Facebook).
My brother, who's 11 years older than me, broke the news to me on Christmas Day after I opened one of my presents. He said, "The Backstreet Boys? No one except Mum would buy that shit for you." He was right.
3. Submitted by Sheridan Watson.
My dad's secretary called me when I was 10 to have me clarify my list to Santa because my handwriting was messy. That pretty much cleared it up right there.
4. Submitted by Erin La Rosa.
My cousin Clark and I were jumping on a trampoline, and I accidentally stepped on his toe (I was only 5, while he was 8). He was crying, so as payback, he looked up at me and screamed, "Santa isn't real!" It was around Christmastime, so it was seasonally appropriate, but I ran to my mom and immediately told her what he said. She tried to explain that he was lying, but I realized Clark was probably right. I'm not sorry I stepped on his toe now.
6. Submitted by Kristin Chirico.
When I was in fifth grade, my "friend" (let's call her Jane) and a bunch of other girls found out that I still believed in Santa, so Jane got them to leave me letters "from Santa Claus" in my desk, which I assumed were real. Jane also got them to tell me that they were all secretly Santa's elves, and I believed them, because why would my friends lie to me like that?! This was all great, because when I found out that they were tricking me, I simultaneously got to learn that my friends were all dicks AND Santa Claus wasn't real.
7. Submitted by Arianna Rebolini.
My mom sat down with me on my bed when I was definitely too old to still believe in Santa (I want to say it was fourth grade), and then she straight up just broke the news. When she left I cried a lot and wrote in my journal about how I would never do something SO CRUEL to my kids.
8. Submitted by Joel Anderson.
When I was 8, on Christmas Eve in 1986, I was reading the front page of the Houston Chronicle and saw a headline that read "How Long Should You Let Your Children Believe in Santa?" I asked my father if he'd been lying to me and he smirked and the jig was up.
9. Submitted by kileyschlieper.
I was looking for my cat under my parents' bed and found Santa's "special" wrapping paper. I had been in denial that Santa's handwriting looked like my mom's for years.
10. Submitted by Emmy Favilla.
When I was around 8, I started getting suspicious about things. I thought that if I left a letter to Santa on the kitchen table asking for his autograph, this would MOST DEFINITELY prove whether or not he existed. Lo and behold, the next morning, "Santa's" John Hancock was right there on the paper I'd left out for all to see. I was super pumped and brought it around to show all my relatives during Christmas dinner. A few months later, something just clicked in my brain, I guess, and I asked my mom if she had left the signature in December. I think she was relieved that I was finally wising up and wouldn't be the last kid in school to still believe in Santa. She admitted that it was her. I wasn't totally shocked by this news, but was still kinda sad for a few hours.
11. Submitted by scopp.
One year for Christmas I got a camcorder from "Santa." A while later, I popped in one of the tapes that came with it and found footage of my parents' bedroom from November. Turns out they tested it to see if it worked. So after a while, I finally confronted them about it, and I think they were actually surprised I still thought that Santa was real.
12. Submitted by Catherine Fuentes.
When I was like 5 or 6, I realized that the wrapping paper we were given on Christmas morning was the exact same stuff my mom bought. I asked why, and without a beat she was like, "Oh, on the night of the 23rd, the elves come down and get our wrapping paper," or something to that effect. That was sufficient for a while.
13. Submitted by monsterhighcrayz02.
I was in fifth grade, and I brought a game I got for Christmas to school. My so-called "friend" wanted to know where I got it from, so I told her, "I got it for Christmas. so I don't know where." She then told me to ask my parents. I kept saying that Santa gave me it, and then I walked back to my desk. That answer obviously wasn't good enough for her, so she shouted, "SANTA ISN'T REAL, RANDI! NOW TELL ME WHERE YOU GOT IT!!!!" I was so mad at her for ruining Christmas for me.
14. Submitted by ericj4fbac205a.
When I was younger I searched "Santa" on Wikipedia, and the first paragraph stated that he was a fictional figure. At least Wikipedia edited the content to make him seem more authentic.
15. Submitted by jasonp463428132.
I was in fifth grade. While I had my doubts about Santa, I always tried to maintain positive of his existence due to my father saying, "if you don't believe, you don't receive," and goddammit, I wanted those presents.
It all fell apart when my teacher decided to tell us a "funny" story with scientific facts that outlined how it would be physically impossible for anyone to travel the world in 24 hours. My teacher explicitly stated that Santa would die if he traveled at the necessary speed to complete such a feat. I was so upset when I found out that I decided to ruin it for my cousin, who was four years younger, because I thought it was wrong for him to be lied to, and I guess I also wanted someone to feel the same misery that I felt.
16. Submitted by kaleem2.
One year, my older sister got this mini blow-up couch that was large enough for two small kids to sit on. After we opened presents, we went to my grandma's house. I was sitting on the stairs where I could hear the grown-ups talking but couldn't be seen. I heard my mom say, "That stupid couch took me, like, three hours to blow up!" That's when reality hit me, and I started to cry.
17. Submitted by kaizoku.
I was the oldest of four brothers. When I was 7, my youngest brother, who was almost 2, got hit by a car and spent Christmas — and his birthday — in the hospital that year. Mum stayed with him, and Dad wrote the notes on the rest of our stockings that year. I recognized his handwriting but kept up the charade for years, for my brothers' sakes.
He recently asked me why I never said anything when we were younger. I responded, "It's called being a big brother."