Santa Suspicion

It’s hard to believe this year is almost over, and I’m usually running around up until the last minute, stressing myself out with unnecessary Christmas bullshit, but this year I decided to get everything done early so I can relax and enjoy a nice festive ending to a very shitty year.

As I sit here eating my Cocoa Puffs, I was thinking back on childhood Christmas memories.

Who's Santa??

I remember this vividly. We went to Lord & Taylor before Christmas, a very nice department store. I was about five years old and was with my mom, my sisters, a friend of my mom’s and a couple of her kids. I actually don’t remember anything until I got on Santa’s lap, and then after I told him what I wanted for Christmas, I innocently asked him if he took a bath. I think I remember it because my mom laughed, but she most likely was laughing in that embarrassed, “why can’t my kid keep her mouth shut” kind of way. In retrospect, this makes sense, as I am a little obsessed with good personal hygiene.  And I don’t remember if he smelled or if I just wanted to know if someone as magical as Santa took a bath like the rest of us. But I can imagine that probably didn’t make Santa feel very good that day. He was probably sweating in that suit and fake beard and here comes this little asshole asking him if he bothered to bathe.

I might smell...

Do you remember when you found out there was no Santa? I do…like it was yesterday. Wasn’t it devastating when you found out? It just planted a seed of bitterness within me. And yet, once I found out, I started putting the pieces together and thought, “of course, how did I not know sooner?”

When I was about six, I was smart enough to be suspicious of all the different Santas, I just couldn’t figure out how he got from a store in my neighborhood to a store in another I neighborhood without being seen. I remember consciously thinking that, but then again, it was Santa, so maybe he could do that. But wouldn’t someone see him leaving in his sleigh with the reindeer? But there was always a sneaking suspicion about things. For example, why was the Santa in my neighborhood a little dirtier than the Santa at Wanamaker’s?  (fun fact: Wanamaker’s was the first department store in Philly.) Why did the Santa in my neighborhood smell a little bit like booze? The Santa at Wanamaker’s had a clean beard. Oh yeah, I had an eye and a nose for detail.

Well, it all came together one day in the funeral home (I was seven). It wasn’t even Christmas time, but I was with my sister Kris and her friend Jimmy, who lived down the street from us. I don’t even know how it came up in conversation, (I was standing next to a casket) but Kris just came out with it and told me that Santa wasn’t real. It was like a slap in the face. It’s such a devastating moment when you find out. It’s like everything that makes Christmas so great is just crushed in an instant.  The first question out of my mouth was, “Does this mean the Easter bunny and Tooth Fairy are fake too?” I think I cried.

The real Santa....

I confirmed this horrible new information with my mom. That’s a bad day in the life of a kid. However, in retrospect, I’m glad Kris told me so that I wasn’t one of those kids that believe up until their 13 and everyone thinks they’re a weirdo. I passed on this favor to my brother, like a lot of siblings do. I had forgotten that I told him, but he reminded me and said I did it in my typical bitter fashion. He said he was at that age when he was starting to question whether or not Santa was real, but was holding on by a thread in the hopes that he was. It was Christmas day and we were opening presents, he had one in his lap and said something like, “I wonder what Santa brought me?” I looked at him, paused for a second and then said, “You know he’s not real, right?”

Isn’t that horrible? I was obviously still bitter about the truth, having found out about 3 years earlier, and I imagine I just couldn’t take having to pretend anymore just for the sake of my brother, who was damn well old enough to know by now that life just sucks sometimes. But I also did him a favor because there was no way I would let my brother be one of those weird kids either, and I certainly wouldn’t want him to hear it on the street. Where’s the gratitude?

Okay, I should have been nicer about it, but if you’re looking for nice, then Kris should have told him. Honesty is my forte, not diplomacy.  A lot of kids find out because they catch their parents putting the presents under the tree. I never did that, but once I found out there was no Santa, I would go hunting for the presents (my mom always hid them in her closet), and I would  go so far as to unwrap a few and look at them. It was compulsive behavior, I couldn’t not peek. I did this every year into my teens. It was a phase though…kinda like my shoplifting. We’ll talk about that later. How did you find out the devastating truth about Santa? Are you prepared for Christmas? Did you pick up some more pepper spray?

here's my tree that is required to get me in the Christmas spirit 🙂

About Death To Hollywood

My name is Celeste Donohue and I am a writer/comedian who started this blog to tell stories about my life growing up in a funeral home and my adult life which I have spent in Hollywood, California – hence the name, “Death To Hollywood”. Hopefully, you like to read those kinds of stories. If not, go read something serious and boring.....
This entry was posted in family, funeral home, funerals and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Santa Suspicion

  1. Barskii says:

    Beautiful Tree Ms “C”

    Maybe Santa will come See You
    if you Believe

  2. Josephine says:

    How traumatic! Poor C, I feel for you, what a bummer.

    What I really want to know is, did you and your siblings let your parents know you knew? After I found out (and I honestly am not sure where or how that happened it may have had something to do with NUNS) I made sure my younger sisters played it up like they still believed even when they didn’t so our parents would still buy us the extra gift from “Santa.”

    I wanted that extra gift, damnit after working my tail off running around after them all year!

    Pretty tree!

  3. John Donohue says:

    Oh yea, Santa? No he’s dead to me now that You killed him, and my soul!!! Hahaha!!! Just kidding. When you told me; “you know he’s not real rite?” You had a look on your face like; “you fool!!” I agreed so as not to lose face. Ah life, so bitter sweet!!

  4. mdonohue says:

    That has to be one of the worst things for a kid to hear.Thank God,it comes back when you’re older,and get to be, not only the kid, but Santa too.Loved the pictures,especially tricky tommy turtle.Love,Mom

  5. Barskii says:

    A 93 year old frail Woman in the local Grocery Store at 11:30 pm purchasing what she could afford seemed embarrased as to the lack of money in Her purse, The Ceckout girl was upset with the little old Women, when She asked what must she return? to get what She could afford with All the money She had. Thats when I walked in and saw what was going on.. I asked the little Woman if She still Believed in Santa Claus?? He answer was “Yes I do” , With that answer,
    I paid for All of Her Stuff & told Her to keep All of Her money, and walked Her to Her car, because She was crying, So were the Checkout people in the Store. The True Spirit of Santa Claus or St. Nick is the Spirit of Giving, I also put a $100.00 bill in her little bags of food..

    The Girls in the store when I went back in, were embarrased and in tears for not seeing why She was there so late at night.. (Her husband passed away, She had no income)
    I See the good in all people, I love to Smile, & I am as Sure as there is a Heaven – That “There is a Santa Claus”

    I did follow up and get The little woman help so she could live in her home and have her bills paid and food to eat…. Have a Merry Merry Christmas !!!

    • YOU are the kind of people that makes the world a better place. THank you for the story, it brought tears to my eyes. Should we get married? 🙂

      • barskii says:

        Married? Oh, Uh, well first, I shall confess, I didn’t mean to make you cry.
        thanks for your kind reply, Your emotions must be a bit fragile?, :-0
        Then really, I will ask you? – How many boy friends do you already have 🙂
        As beautiful as you are, with us, it would be the distance thing.
        You live in L.A. I believe ?? and Me, I live in AL.
        I know, I have heard Love has no distance, other than a lonely heart.
        I have been Happily Single for so long, and you don’t even know my name is ~ Blake ~
        Your personality is open & sassy with a free Spirit, Super cool & all the way good.
        So within all that dancing I just did – maybe there will be something in our futures.
        ~ Now I remember, the first of your blogs was of the perposal???
        Honestly, I just wanted to share only one of my many days of helping other people that has brought the most joy into my life, I was asked one day ” How do you want to be remembered” ??? All that already know me have said ” Never Change who you are”
        So, I will say unto you Ms. “C” ~ Be who you are, because you bring happiness to everyone you know ~ Including Me!
        ~ Blake ~

      • Blake!! I like the name..
        first, I loved your story and it’s okay to cry. My emotions aren’t as fragile as they are just always close to the surface. How many boyfriends do I have? HA! I don’t have one or more than one. Never been married either, just a weird proposal 🙂 and yes, I’m in LA and you’re in Alabama?? I’m glad you like my personality according to my writing. I like yours according to your comments. The question of the times…are you on stupid Facebook? I have to get ready for work now..but I will get back later 🙂

      • barskii says:

        Hello Ms. “C”
        Your answer is within your question ?? am I on?? “Stupid Facebook”
        I looked at all the Identity theft, spyware, malware, and giving the full life span of Kiss & tell..

        I got on “Facebook” for a while for family – but, I had to respect myself and keep my personal life personal.
        (plus every girl, I liked or dated since I was fifteen was wanting to know my daily movement)

        did you know they have tracking software and face recognition software built into Facebook as a Police State of free access into you account, your familys connections, and friends comments.
        plus they can track you on your cell phone if you are dumb enough th give them your number?

        So if ever you have done anything wrong,they know it – If you posted it –

        No, I am not a fan of Facebook..

      • yeah, FB is shady but for someone like myself who promotes their “work” and / or “hobby”, it’s kind of a necessary evil. I guess our only contact will be blog comments? 🙂

      • barskii says:

        you can find me at – email info at bottom of page

  6. Kris says:

    Cee….sorry! At least i said it nicely and not in a bitter tone that John got from You:) I had to let you know the news, because laurence carnuccio and Jimmy ruined it for me….i had to share, so you weren’t a weirdo kid….that didn’t work:) i loved tricky tommy turtle, Mom! I still believe in Santa now Cee, cause a few years later, in the back bedroom where our bunkbeds were, i saw Santa outside the window!!! I still believe in the magic:) that pucture of dad is really cute….i miss him! Love you

  7. "the elder sister" says:

    Yeah, Kris was the “Scrooge” in our family – she told me too about Santa! The worst part of it was she was smiling when she told me! Sick, sick! However, it does seem she has had visual hallucinations of the Easter Bunny’s foot, and then one of Santa, perhaps a psych eval should be suggested………;)
    I will never forget that day and like you I went for confirmation, however, from Dad. He was kind and compassionate and I was hysterical because then I realized that it meant no Tooth fairy, no Easter bunny, no Leprechauns. He made me promise never to tell you or John since obviously Kris knew. I never told any kid there was no Santa………

    • Kris says:

      Scrooge?? Smiling….perhaps it was because my older sister didn’t know something for once before me:) Just believe in the magic…with or without Santa!!!!

    • Funny how Kris told both of us, we confirmed with a parent and then realized no Easter Bunny or tooth fairy. It’s cute that Dad made you promise not to tell me and John, but Kris and I took care of that 🙂

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