Dec 102003
 
Authors: Chris Hess

How would it feel to be the most hated man in America? How would

it feel to have every little kid in the country despise you? How

would it feel to be affectionately known by listeners as “the DJ

who stole Christmas?”

Just ask John Praise, a Long Island radio DJ.

According to an article in the “New York Post” last week,

Praise, known on-air as J.P., had been hyping a big announcement

for the morning of Dec. 1, urging families to gather around the old

voice box at 7:30 a.m.

Then, on the fateful day, as children listened with ears wide

open and parents sat, warm cups of coffee in their hands, J.P. made

the big announcement.

“There is NO Santa Claus,” the “Post” reported him as saying.

“It’s Mom and Dad. Go and look in your parents’ closets and under

the bed and you’ll find gifts.”

Poor little tikes. Thousands of kids had their Christmas dreams

shattered that morning, being force-fed the fact that Jolly Old

Saint Nick was just mom and dad.

That morning will forever be the setting of the story that those

children will have to tell when asked, “When did you find out that

Santa wasn’t real?”

But, what about the students attending Colorado State? When did

they find out that the fat man in the tight red suit was really

just their parents putting presents in the stockings and taking the

cookies the kids had left out back to bed to eat while watching the

TBS “A Christmas Story” marathon?

A few brave souls dared to share their stories of when Santa

went from being a gift-giver to a story that they would someday

share with their kids.

Robert Fagnan, senior, English & creative writing

Robert’s story is a classic one. He was convinced that there was

a Santa until around age 9 or so, holding true despite the jeers of

other kids on the playground, getting reassured by his parents that

there was indeed a jolly fat man squeezing down the chimney every

December leaving gifts.

However, around that time, Fagnan finally gave in to the fact

that Santa was indeed not real, but he wasn’t going to let that

ruin the amount of loot he came away with on Christmas morning.

“I decided I would keep pretending there was still a Santa for

my parents’ sake, and so I could get a couple extra presents every

year,” Fagnan said. “But by the time I was 12, my parents caught on

and ruined my plan, and I’ve been getting two less presents a year

ever since.”

Matt Dexheimer, senior, human development

The tale of Matt Dexheimer’s falling out with the world’s

fattest elf stems from a family tradition.

Matt and his sister Megan would sleep in the same bed every

Christmas Eve and try their hardest to stay awake so that they

could catch a glimpse of Santa. Every year, they swore to their

parents on Christmas morning that they heard him on the roof the

night before. Mr. and Mrs. Dexheimer would then play along, knowing

the whole while that the noise on the roof was merely the

pitter-patter of raccoons and squirrels.

Then, on Christmas Eve when he was 7, Matt’s dream of catching a

glimpse of Santa Claus came crashing to the ground.

“My sister and I were still awake in her room, when we heard the

door open,” Dexheimer said. “We looked over and our dad was

grabbing a blanket from the room. He saw us and got out of the room

as quick as he could.”

The next morning, that blanket was wrapped around a doll that

Santa had “left” for Meg.

“He tried to cover it up and tell us that he was just helping

Santa, but we had already figured out that he wasn’t real,”

Dexheimer said.

Charlie Silverstein, freshman, apparel and merchandising

Charlie Silverstein was one of those kids who just figured the

whole Santa thing out. Her sister, however, is another story.

When Silverstein’s sister was 7, she was unfortunate enough to

come down with a cold on Christmas Eve. Seeking some sort of

remedy, she went into her parents’ room and was horrified to see

her Mom and Dad putting together the dollhouse that she had asked

for from Santa.

She then ran out of the room balling, with her mother in

pursuit. Her mom tried to tell her that Santa couldn’t fit the

whole dollhouse down the chimney, so he just dropped the pieces and

they had to help him put it together. She didn’t buy it.

“Finding out that Santa wasn’t real just kind of ruined it,”

said Silverstein. “It took the magic away from the whole

thing.”

Ben Brooks, junior, philosophy

For Ben Brooks, the realization that Santa wasn’t real came at

the early age of 4.

He and his sister, who was 5 at the time, were sitting on the

back porch of their house talking about life and what was going on

in the world. After discussing the topic of Santa Claus, they

simply found it hard to believe that one man could go to every

house in the world in one night. So, they took their question to

the man who would know the answer — their dad.

“We told him what we thought and he basically just told us

‘yeah, you’re right.'” Brooks said. “He didn’t try to cover it up

or come up with a story, he just told us that Santa wasn’t

real.

Peter Adair, senior, history

Peter Adair was, as he put it, “that kid.”

Adair never bought into the whole story of Santa Clause. He just

never believed it, and then he broke his girlfriend’s heart.

“In third grade, my girlfriend made me mad on the playground,”

said Adair. “So I said, ‘Oh yeah? Well Santa isn’t real!’ It

definitely made her cry.”

Joey Sudmeier, junior, restaurant and resort management

Joey Sudmeier’s mom is one who should join the ranks of Adair

and the DJ who stole Christmas.

According to Sudmeier, when his mom was 9, she found out that

Santa didn’t exist. However, she didn’t feel content just keeping

this secret to herself. So, she walked up and down her street and

told all the kids to go to her house because she had a secret to

tell.

“Once the kids got there, my mom charged them 25 cents to get in

the door,” Sudmeier said. “Then, after they were all in the living

room, my mom got up in front and told them that Santa wasn’t real,

that it was their mom and dad.”

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