If you’re over the age 14, chances are someone has already broken the news to you: Santa isn’t real. The jolly, good fella is just a product of a consumerist society — at least the cute, bearded version of him. But parents all over the world took his brand to their advantage and used him to fool their kids to behave. After all, St. Nicholas only gives presents to the nice ones. The phrase “he’s making a list and checking it twice” can set a seven-year-old straight and, possibly, give him or her serious anxiety problems. But you know, a present is a present and we need to work hard for it.
Everyone remembers the story of how they stopped believing in Santa. Three days before Christmas, we went the more optimistic route and asked some of our friends when and why they started believing in Santa Claus. With the year that we’ve had, we need all the hope — and a bit of attitude adjustment — we can get for a better 2017.
I think I started believing in Santa when I started to ask about the guy in the red suit that I see all the time during Christmas season. I remember my parents telling me who he was and what he does during Christmas. I remember being told “Kapag bad ka, hindi ka bibigyan ni Santa ng gift sa Christmas kaya dapat lagi kang good boy.” I even got nervous the night before Christmas because I was worried if I was a good boy. “Was I good the whole year? What if I don’t make it to Santa’s list???” It’s actually funny now that I think about it but back then it was one of my worst fears! Thankfully, every year, I’d find a gift under our Christmas tree on Christmas day. — Jelito de Leon, photographer
I think I was around six when I just kind of went like, “Broooo, Santa exists!” That year, a week before Christmas, my parents made me write what I wanted on a piece of paper, and I remember writing “PINK BARBIE BIKE” in big, bold letters. I was told to put it in my Christmas sock, and that that’s how it’ll get delivered to the North Pole. Christmas Eve came, we had our Noche Buena, and we were eventually tucked into bed. Around four in the morning, my dad came rushing to the room, started waking us up, and pulled us out of bed. We walked into the living room and there were two pink Barbie bikes parked by the tree for me and my sister. I couldn’t wrap my head around where the bikes came from, since we were all just hanging out by the tree before we went to sleep, and so I held Santa responsible for my pink Barbie bike. — Ellie Centeno, Sofar Sounds host
Okay, I wasn’t a Santa believer actually, but I do kind of remember this instance with my family that made me feel like he was real. When I was around seven years old, we spent Christmas Eve at a hotel. My dad came out wearing a Santa hat with gifts in his arms for us. We celebrated, opened gifts, and sang songs. It was nice to feel like my dad was Santa. Maybe he really was… and I guess that was more than enough for me. — Angelo Mendoza, travel photographer
I never did. My brother spoiled it for me cause he’s such an older brother. We just saw it as an opportunity to get something from our parents every December. They just check what we like. It was like “Oh, it’s Santa Claus” then it’s so obvious na sila yun. It was fun naman. — Lester Cruz, Serious Person at Serious Studio
I never really did because ever since, my mom would always write the Santa tags and she never tried to change her handwriting. It was super distinct so I always knew it was my parents. I just rolled with it so I could get “Santa” gifts. Haha! — Ross Du, illustrator
I believed in Santa straight from birth up until I was around nine years old. That’s when my dad broke the news about Santa being fake.. I told my mom I knew the truth and she got into argument with my dad. Haha! — Curtismith, rapper