PICTURED ABOVE: Five-year-old News Editor Katie O’Meara sits on Santa’s lap with her brother as she requests a new Barbie dreamhouse.
The glistening white snow coats my shoulders as I walk through the globe set up at the Shops at Willow Bend in Plano. Scenes from “Polar Express” surround me, and then I see the light at the end of the tunnel: Santa.
Like any over-eager five-year-old, my favorite day of the Christmas season was my visit to Santa. From listing off all of my Christmas wishes to smiling for the camera to take my picture, I have always loved my visits to Santa. Even as a 13-year-old, my two older brothers, two of my cousins and I would make a trip the Wednesday to visit Santa, and this was after I learned the truth. The cold hard truth about Santa.
At the age of nine, I had an inkling that all of this Santa business was a little too good to be true, but as the ever optimistic girl that I am I tried to make myself believe. After all, my parents always told me to receive you had to believe. So I listened and pretended that I had no doubts about Santa’s existence.
One Christmas later, the ever curious girl that I am I searched for my presents. There in the hallway closet I saw the Tempurpedic Mattress Pad shoved all the way in the back so that I would not find it. But I did.
At first, I thought it was just a present from my mom and dad. One that would be wrapped and placed underneath the tree only days before Christmas. But as my countdown to Christmas dwindled down to just one day, a wrapped present the size of the mattress pad never appeared.
That night on Christmas Eve I could not contain my excitement about getting to open all of my presents and to get all of my Santa presents and could not fall asleep. Laying on my bedroom floor with NORAD Santa Tracker pulled up on my computer, the light flickered on in my entryway. It was only 10:00 p.m.
Even today whenever that light in particular turns on after I have gotten into bed, I always go to investigate – and that is just what I did. But the sight that I saw all but confirmed all of my doubts about the existence of Santa.
There were my parents pulling the mattress pad out of the closet and making three neat piles of unwrapped presents, which was how our presents were distinguished between Mom and Dad presents and Santa presents. Astonished at the sight, I creeped back into my room and did not speak of the scene. The next morning I happily ran downstairs to see the exact piles that I saw my parents put out just hours earlier and pretended that I had yet to see them.
Unfortunately for me, the worst part of that Christmas was not having my doubts about Santa confirmed, but was in fact that I received a mattress pad. As a ten-year-old, I wanted toys, not something to sleep on. But I will say, seven years later I still sleep on the same mattress pad and have dreams of bringing it off to college with me next year.
While discovering that my parents blatantly lied to me for years about Santa’s existence upset me when I found out, I appreciate everything that they did to make the holiday special. I think all kids out there should too, even if they are on their way to no longer believing in Santa.
Katie O’Meara, News Editor