2010: Santa’s swan song

This may be the last year Santa visits the McCullough residence.

I’m not entirely certain, but I think our daughter is beginning to see through the veil of the old Santa Claus mystique. I could be wrong, but I’m seeing some signs.

Allow me to explain

Like most kids exposed to more than 30 seconds of Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network or the Disney channel, Zoe has begun to compile a detailed, cross-referenced Christmas list. In the not so distant past, this list was created solely for Santa’s consideration. It’s no longer “….can Santa bring me overpriced hyped toy?”  Zoe cuts to the chase “Can you (as in Mom and Dad) get me overpriced hyped toy?” If I were tracking, I could count on one hand — and have digits left over — the number of times Zoe has referenced jolly old St. Nick so far this holiday season.

Even the threat of “…talking to Santa…” when Zoe decides not to clean her room doesn’t have the same amount of leverage as it’s had in seasons past.

I was a year or two younger than Zoe when the skids fell off the Santa sleigh for me. As the story goes, I was somewhere between 4 and 6 one particular Christmas and for some reason my parents opted to hide my yuletide booty in the trunk of the family Ford. Northeast winter weather being what it is, a hard freeze rolled in that Christmas Eve and froze the trunk shut. Rather than waking up to an assortment of Tonka toys, Hot Wheels and GI Joe gear, young Johnny padded downstairs in my best Batman footsie flannels to find my parents frantically looking for an arc welder to extricate my holiday bounty from the icy confines of our frozen LTD sedan. That was pretty much the end of Santa for me.

I digress…

Zoe’s a pretty bright kid, so it wouldn’t surprise me if she’s gotten wise to the Santa sham. I think if she’s buying into at all, she’s merely doing it to appease her geeky parents.

Our daughter, if she set her mind to it, could find Bin Laden and Hoffa, which is why attempting to hide toys around Casa McCullough has always been a bit of a challenge.

We have a few more weeks before the big day, so I’ll keep you posted on whether or not young Ms. McCullough gets on board the Santa band wagon or if she simply grabs my wallet, eliminates the jolly fat middleman in red and takes matters into her own hands!



  1. Edwina Owens Elliott

    Precious! I think she knows, John. My older brothers stripped the fat man of his red suit and whiskers when I was about seven or eight, revealing to me our bounty in Mom’s deep, walk-in closet. I was devastated. For a whole day ha-ha.


  2. Lisa Oliver

    NOOO!! Zoe doesn’t know! I hope not at least. I kept my kids going until 9 and 10 – the last ages they took a pic with Santa.

    We asked the kids a few nights ago if Santa exists. Justin (12) said No. (just that flat, just that unemotional – it’s the age they tell me). Cara (11) was more thoughtful; she said “I dont know. I want to believe because I believe in magical things happening, but I dont think Santa exists”

    Back in the day, I would get indignant when asked about Santa when their friends would convince them that Santa was real. “Of course! Who ELSE is going to buy you all this stuff?” The main question: How does Santa deliver all them toys, all around the world in one night? Mom’s answer: “Santa works with God. God stops time so that Santa does all that he needs to do – feed the raindeer between stops, let them go to the bathroom, pick up more toys”….you get the picture.

    And, about hiding gifts (your story is funny!) I have them all sent to my job. Problem solved!

    Hope you are better!


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