Santa Betrayed Me as a Kid, so I’m Changing the Narrative


When I was eight years old, I lived in an RV. Not like a trailer park RV, but an actual RV on wheels with a hitch, parked in the middle of a dirt yard where “dreams” of building a home would be.

I didn’t get to have friends over . . . Where would they stay? I moved so much for a couple of years — with parents chasing money and dreams that would never happen — that it was hard to make those long-lasting friendships. I lied about my house. I said I had a big room with a ton of toys and the biggest barbie playhouse you have ever seen. I was a big fat liar. And it was the first day of school after the holidays that I lied the most. The teacher went around asking everyone what was their favorite thing they got for Christmas . . .

My stomach was turning . . . ALL of the kids got the most amazing gifts. (We lived in Pennsylvania at the time, so legit some girl got a HORSE — REALLY?! A horse!?)

But all I could keep thinking while they went around the room, was WHY did Santa bring them all of these things? Why didn’t he bring me this stuff? Was it because I didn’t have a big house (or a house at all), or because only richer kids got nicer things?

I was sad. I was angry. And I felt betrayed by this magical Christmas big guy.

This happened every year. I didn’t get more things each year. However, I got better at lying about it. I knew what I was already going to say I got from Santa.

changing the santa narrativeI have thought about this every year since I was little. When I finally learned there was not a Santa, it really hit me that every child is in a different circumstance. As I have grown up and now have children of my own, I am very mindful when I talk about Santa.

There is going to be another little Farin somewhere who doesn’t get all those nice things and will wonder why they weren’t chosen by the big guy to get them. There will be other little kids in each class that will be hearing about these fabulous gifts and maybe wonder why they didn’t also get them.

Ready for this??

I’m not telling my kids that Santa gave them their brand-new bike and Barbie dream house. I am not telling them that Santa got them these big, expensive items.

Mom and Dad got it. Mom and Dad worked really hard for it. When you see Mommy working at her computer, talking about helping people get healthy, getting on calls, waking up early, that is what she is doing it for . . . so YOU, my sometimes sweet little angels, can have all the things I didn’t.

Yes, Santa will bring some things. But Mommy and Daddy brought you the most. Santa is the king of socks and underwear.

Mostly, I have altered how we talk about Christmas altogether. While I love the elves, the magic, Rudolph, and all the Santa events, I make sure our children know the true meaning of Christmas. We make the holidays about volunteering and serving those around us. We make it about Jesus’ birthday. We make it about family, memories, and traditions.

I know one day the kids aren’t going to believe in Santa, so I want most of their memories to be about the family right now. I want them to go to school talking about making cookies with their parents, singing Christmas carols for the nursing home, and how they bought their sibling the coolest gift with their own money. I want them to have fun with Santa but also know that he isn’t the end all be all of Christmas.

I know this won’t be for everyone. I think that is the beauty of having your own family and doing things your own way. However, because of how I grew up and the little that I had, I make sure we do Christmas a little differently over here — and it works for us.


  1. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story and for the reminder about the wonderful things this time of year – serving others and the true meaning of Christmas!

  2. Your story is so inspiring and what we all need to read as a reminder of what is really important! Thank you for sharing!!

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