12 Days of Christmas # 4
For my whole adult life I thought I stopped believing in Santa when I was 5. In looking at stuff for this post, I have discovered I was off by a year.
See, one Christmas, I really wanted Snake Mountain. I also wanted Castle Grayskull, but I really, really wanted Snake Mountain. So one day in December that year, my mom told me that Santa was going to be paying a visit to our house so we could let him know what we wanted for Christmas.
Later that afternoon, lo and behold, Santa was knocking at our door. Or, at least a dude that looked like Santa. He had the suit and the beard and the hat and all that…but he also looked disturbingly like my uncle. I was pretty positive it was my uncle. I didn’t want to say anything, in case I was wrong, but I did devise a test. I figured Santa was magic and that no matter what I told him, he’d know what I actually wanted.
So I sat on his lap and told him I wanted Castle Grayskull, when I really, really wanted Snake Mountain.
I figured that on Christmas morning, if I got Snake Mountain, I’d know he was the real deal. If I got Grayskull…it was my uncle’s doing.
So Christmas morning, when we ran out to the living room to see what Santa left, I was somewhat surprised, and probably a little disappointed, to find Castle Grayskull waiting for me. Now, I was happy to have it, no question there. It was a killer playset. But in addition to not getting Snake Mountain, I now had to carry the weight on my shoulders that not only was that Santa who came to our house really my uncle…but that there was no Santa at all.
I don’t really know why my young brain made that leap. We were told all the time that the mall Santas and stuff were helpers and things like that. This deception seemed a lot more serious. I remember asking my mom about it and telling her I didn’t think Santa was real, and she did ultimately admit it and asked me not to say anything to my younger sister and brother.
At least, that’s how I remember it. But, as I said, I have ALWAYS remembered very clearly that I was 5 years old when I stopped believing in Santa. In Christmas ’83 I would’ve been 5 years old (5 and a half, thank you very much). But it turns out, Snake Mountain was not released until 1984! What the fuck! I was 6 years old when I stopped believing in Santa Claus?!
I never did get Snake Mountain, though a friend on my block did, so I did get to play with it a little. And 1984 was probably the actual last year I even gave a shit about He-Man, aside from the 1987 movie, because by ’85, my brain was 100% GI Joe obsessed.
By the power of Christmas….