"Oh my god, I got it."
December 27, 2014 8:08 AM   Subscribe

Spoiler alert! Santa Claus uses digital effects!
posted by clvrmnky at 8:29 AM on December 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Well, it's probably better than my dad's effort of leaving boot prints to convince my skeptical younger brother Santa was real. Protip: if you're going to leave sooty footprints, use both the left AND right boots, otherwise you will be asked why Santa has two left feet.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:47 AM on December 27, 2014 [14 favorites]

that was just.... so nice.... crap, something just got in my eye a little over here.
posted by chasles at 8:49 AM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

When I was growing up, my parents would wait until they were pretty sure my sister and I were just on the edge of sleep, and my mother would bundle up and go outside with a train of sleigh bells that she had since her childhood in Ohio. She would go 2-3 houses away and jog toward the house with the sleigh bells jingling, wait a short while, and then jog away from the house again.

I was 13 before I actually caught her at it.

It was some of the most amazing Christmas magic to create for kids. As someone now in my mid-40s, sitting here typing this, I feel a warm glow of love and schmoopy toward her for doing that.

I think I'll call her right now and tell her.
posted by hippybear at 8:58 AM on December 27, 2014 [88 favorites]

My 8-year-old nephew left Santa a very nicely written note asking Santa if he could video-document himself, since Nephew wasn't going to be waiting up. Santa said sorry, but no time.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:06 AM on December 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

crap, something just got in my eye a little over here

That will be soot. You'll want to wash that out, it can scratch your cornea.
posted by flabdablet at 9:13 AM on December 27, 2014 [13 favorites]

I'd like to think this will inspire a whole series of holiday themed paranormal investigator reality specials, where Santa is treated as some sort of cryptozoological creature.
posted by KingEdRa at 9:16 AM on December 27, 2014 [10 favorites]

Okay, that was adorable and genuinely filled my heart with happiness, and I love that they were this devoted to bringing joy to their child.

I say the above not only because it's true, but also to offset the cynicism people will assume of me when I say this next part.

I'm not at all educated about childhood development, but it seems intuitive to me that there's a transitional period from "anything is possible" to "some things aren't possible", and that it's an important part of becoming an adult.

In that spirit, the Santa Claus myth seems perfectly healthy to me... as a myth. You never see him, you only have indirect evidence that he exists.¹ When you discover he isn't real, you lose the magic but still get one of the major appeals of the story: presents! You don't have to go "cold turkey" from joy and rewards, to cynicism and disappointment.

So despite my initial reaction, and my lasting appreciation for what they were trying to do, I think this was a wrongheaded thing. This escalates the Santa story from "storytelling" to "forgery", and from "it's a cultural norm/rite of passage" to "we were particularly dedicated to preserving the lie".

I'm really not trying to be a concern troll here, I promise. But what's going to happen when this kid tells a classmate who knows Santa isn't real that he has video evidence to the contrary? How are the parents going to explain the situation to him if he gets mocked for it, or to the angry parents of twice-betrayed children if he's believed?

¹ If nothing else, that's a good lesson later on that indirect evidence can be misleading. I wish more people took that lesson to heart.
posted by Riki tiki at 9:19 AM on December 27, 2014 [34 favorites]

I'd like to think this will inspire a whole series of holiday themed paranormal investigator reality specials, where Santa is treated as some sort of cryptozoological creature.

Your dream is already on the way to reality; check out Rare Exports.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:22 AM on December 27, 2014 [7 favorites]

riki tiki, the thing you worry about is detailed in a This American Life episode (Act One). Some kids react well to this, and some don't.
posted by vespabelle at 9:30 AM on December 27, 2014 [8 favorites]

Riki tiki, part of the assumption that this is a detrimental thing is that kids live in a vacuum and only know what they individually experience. This is not the case - I remember being in elementary school and discussing Santa theories with other kids my age. Some kids were still pretty solidly in the "Santa is real" camp, sometimes due to vague proof they had, while others were skeptical.

Anyway, there are a ton of stories and other things to really foster the myth - The Polar Express comes to mind, with the bell only young true believers can hear, and the related bells parents can buy for their kids.

The ruses are numerous and wide-spread, but in no way comprehensive in their coverage.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:45 AM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

This just sets up people to believe even more nonsense later. Bah. And get off my roof.
posted by cccorlew at 9:56 AM on December 27, 2014 [7 favorites]

vespabelle beat me to it: this immediately made me think of the recent TAL episode.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:58 AM on December 27, 2014

This is undeniably cute, but given the looks he gives he other people present I still get the feeling that the kid knows that the adults are putting him on.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:01 AM on December 27, 2014 [6 favorites]

You know what ELSE isn't real... that damn mongoose that Kipling wrote about... So, if you hear it chittering, just ignore it....
posted by HuronBob at 10:07 AM on December 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

I read his expression as "man, my parents put a lot more effort into this than I thought, I better act like I'm buying it"
posted by Metafilter Username at 10:09 AM on December 27, 2014 [7 favorites]

My favorite bit was the "Law and Order" musical cue.

And I won't revisit what we call it.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 10:14 AM on December 27, 2014

This kid is seven? Presumably this kid is homeschooled? How else would you get around all the other kids telling you you're a simp for believing that bullshit your parents tell you?

Though I'm pretty sure a lot of kids like to continue to pretend to save their parents from being disappointed and fucking with the family tradition.

I read his expression as "man, my parents put a lot more effort into this than I thought, I better act like I'm buying it"

Yeah, this.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:28 AM on December 27, 2014

The return on putting up a great "I still believe in Santa" facade can often be greater than the effort put into constructing said facade.
posted by HuronBob at 10:34 AM on December 27, 2014 [7 favorites]

This made it a little less fun for me:
To use this video in a commercial player or in broadcasts, please email licensing@storyful.com

I recently heard a similar story that I really enjoyed; I can only find it in podcast form, but scroll to the 27:00 minute mark here if you want to hear about the time Santa Almost Got Caught.
posted by TedW at 10:34 AM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Can't kids these days just google "is Santa real" or whatever? How is it possible to keep this under wraps anymore?

It doesn't seem to be slowing down the psychics.
posted by fairmettle at 10:35 AM on December 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

When I was little, I dunno I had some dream or something that I thought was real, where I saw Santa. My parents insist it wasn't them dressing up or anything, but the result is I believed in Santa for way longer than any of my peers, and even when my parents told me that Santa wasn't real, I didn't believe them for a few more years.

Why yes, I did get teased a lot as a kid.
posted by aubilenon at 10:37 AM on December 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

You know, we tell our kids so many shitty lies, I have a hard time getting worked up about one of the nice ones.
posted by Myca at 10:45 AM on December 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

S'okay, aubilenon, I believed in the Easter Bunny for a full two years after realizing the truth about Santa (whose jig was up the moment I was able to read & comprehend the Sear's Wishbook).

The Easter Bunny, now THERE'S a cryptid worthy of investgation.
posted by KingEdRa at 10:46 AM on December 27, 2014

It was Jack Coen who said it:

"When I found out Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny weren't real, that made it real hard on God and Jesus. At least the other guys stopped by once a year and gave me stuff."
posted by Myca at 10:52 AM on December 27, 2014 [12 favorites]

When we were small, during Christmas Eve, our grandfather would go out to see why the dog was barking. Then he'd come back in for dinner.
Then someone would knock on the fancy door which no one ever used, and our grandfather would go out in the hallway to open the door for Father Christmas. They would have a long and loud conversation about every single family member. Generally, our Grandfather was our advocate, while Santa was somewhat disappointed with most of us.
When it was almost over, Gran would tell us all, enough of this, you need to clean off the table and do the dishes. And we went out into the kitchen with all the stuff.

When we came back into the living room, the lights on the Christmas tree were on, and there were gifts all around it! Magic! And decades after we had figured out how this all worked, we still wanted the show to go on. Even though we "knew" what they were doing, we also still had that feeling from childhood, is Santa real? have I been good? will there be gifts?
posted by mumimor at 11:09 AM on December 27, 2014 [10 favorites]

I would love to say I would do this for my kid when he wants to set up a Santa sting, but I know in my heart of blackest hearts I could not leave well enough alone and Santa's recorded visit would end in him screaming as he was attacked and devoured by a digitally animated Krampus. I mean, it would solve the age old problem of 'kid too old to believe in Santa' that's plagued parents for generations. So the bloody trail in the show will be tricky to set up and I shudder to think about how much all that raw pork will cost, but in the long run, so long as the neighbors don't call the cops on me for nailing a bloody Santa outfit by the woodpile, I think it will be worth it.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:15 AM on December 27, 2014 [13 favorites]

One Christmas Eve, my uncle stood outside the house jingling sleigh bells, and we were thrown by it. My brother and I both never 100% bought Santa, and it was definitely a let's-pretend game by that point. But then, the jingle happened outside! And my family is all inside! WHAT BELLS ARE THESE?

When spring rolled around, I found the damned bells just chilling in the backyard. And they didn't look all that magical. They looked very much like these here. When I presented the evidence to my mother, she said, "Oh. Must have fallen off Santa's sleigh." But, she didn't react with the enthusiasm you would think that situation warranted. Bells fell off a magic sleigh, driven by the most powerful being on earth, and it's ho-hum? No attempts to tap the magical essence of these bells? Just going to throw these bells into the box of Christmas decor, and shove it in the attic? Suspicious.

I believed in the Easter Bunny for a full two years after realizing the truth about Santa

Despite that the Easter Bunny was a much more vague concept than Santa (no permanent charismatic residence, no sidekicks, no enchanted transportation, festive pastel vest) my parents carried it off a lot better than Santa. They'd do that trail-of-eaten-carrots thing. It took a while for us to realize that they were just chopping the leafy ends off, and feeding the rest of the carrots to our pet rabbits.

At least they paid more attention to detail than this family, who just... left a trail of uneaten baby carrots? That shit doesn't even make any sense.
posted by Coatlicue at 11:17 AM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

My spouse, MeFi's own Comrade Doll, left "a letter from Santa" for our five year-old kid, which she wrote in Word and printed with a handwriting font. It congratulated him on being good this year and thanked him for the cookies, before gently scolding him for regularly reverting to baby talking. When he read that last bit, his eyes got wide. BUSTED. I think it was that part that sold the thing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:17 AM on December 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'm 47 and this is the first I'm hearing of Santa not being real. I thought the video was very convincing.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:20 AM on December 27, 2014 [13 favorites]

The cookies and milk I set out for Santa were devoured again this year. Crumbs everywhere - Santa is a messy eater.

There were some dark years when the only way to keep the tradition going was for me to both put out the treats and later eat them myself.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:23 AM on December 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

You can't prove that Santa doesn't exist; only that your parents are poor replacements.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:27 AM on December 27, 2014

I'd like to think this will inspire a whole series of holiday themed paranormal investigator reality specials, where Santa is treated as some sort of cryptozoological creature.

The aformentioned Rare Exports is a fairly terrifying import that takes this premise on.

If you'd like to show your kid something in the same vein but without the nightmare fuel and foreign languages, Savage Steve Holland made a TV movie for Nickelodeon this year called Santa Hunters that works from a "Let's catch Santa on video, paranormal investigator style!" starting point.

I would like to clarify right now that not only is said tv movie not a speck on Holland's much-lover earlier feature films like Better Off Dead, it's actually not particularly good at all for adults. Parents will understand what I mean when I say that I recommend it on the sliding scale specific to Watching Crap With Your Kids You'd Rather Not. On that scale, it's inoffensive, occasionally creative and funny in a hamfisted way, and mostly does not make you wish for the sweet release of death.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:28 AM on December 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I was able to keep my child believing in the Old Elf for the usual amount of time, I guess, but my belief in my ability to disguise my handwriting was the give-away, one Christmas long ago.
posted by kozad at 11:53 AM on December 27, 2014

On that scale, it's inoffensive, occasionally creative and funny in a hamfisted way, and mostly does not make you wish for the sweet release of death.
Which would still put it ahead of some of Holland's other recent work. The most recent (and final) time I tried it took me about 2 1/2 minutes to go from "oh, hmmm.. this doesn't look all that promising but it's something I haven't seen before by Savage Steve Holland," to "let us never speak of this again," and most of that time was credit sequence.
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:53 AM on December 27, 2014

I put out a Christmas stocking every year for our daughter. She's 32. We just added a stocking for her boyfriend. It's an agreed-upon belief. What the heck, why not?
posted by Peach at 12:05 PM on December 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

he got really into CrossFit this year
posted by The Whelk at 12:29 PM on December 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

what's going to happen when this kid tells a classmate … that he has video evidence to the contrary?

The children of this day and age will be learning some very hard lessons about how (un-)valuable video evidence really is, I'm afraid.

The Bigfoot and Loch Ness videos don't need to be out of focus anymore, for one thing, but those are just the tip of the iceberg really; on the darker side, it is also much easier to fabricate or remove evidence of wrongdoing. Giving kids a reason to question everything (and everyone) is a good thing.
posted by tempestuoso at 12:30 PM on December 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I put out a Christmas stocking every year for our daughter. She's 32.

My parents still put out the same stockings my brother and I had as kids. (Grandma made them, and they're awesome.) In fact, our entire Christmas morning is pretty much exactly the same as it was when we were excited about Santa, down to where each person sits and who hands out the presents, ending with either mom or dad saying "Don't forget to open your stockings!"

I'm in my 40s, he's in his 50s. We're not the ones who insist on the tradition, and we've had no luck changing it. It makes them happy, though, so we go with it.

As a middle-aged adult, I usually don't like it when my parents make me feel like a kid (which they are very good at). On December 25, though, they get a pass.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:33 PM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

The whole Santa myth has always struck me as extraordinarily interesting because of its religious and anthropological implications.

Here is an omniscient, omnipotent, father figure who keeps a tally of good and bad behavior and rewards or punishes it, accordingly. His existence is a matter of faith for the immature. Maturity means acknowledging that he isn't real, though, and that the myth and it's promulgation is actually a manifestation of deep, sociocultural elements, including the desire to wield behavioral control on the immature and the hunger for a sense of wonder, magic and morality in the world.

I love that the majority of our culture embraces and promulgates Santa so eagerly to its children, wide-eyed about his mythological status, while simultaneously insisting that his religious counterpart is absolutely real. The human condition is truly amazing, in that it gives rise to these types of archetypal cognitive dissonances. Even as I am sympathetic to them, they delight my inner anthropologist.
posted by darkstar at 12:37 PM on December 27, 2014 [7 favorites]

On the one hand, I've always been confused as to how parents are okay with being dishonest to their children in any way, including santa.

On the other hand, being dishonest to your children would teach them that there is no one source of truth, and that they need to find facts for themselves.

On the third hand, These kinds of traditions probably bring children closer to the human race as a community.

I'm glad I'm not a parent yet.
posted by bbqturtle at 12:51 PM on December 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Lying to your children is an age-old custom, and sometimes justified. I not only lied to my daughter, I taught my daughter how to lie, or at least evade the truth, around people who don't need to know everything. What is this telling-the-truth fetish people have? Is there some inherent virtue in flatly telling all to a five-year-old? Not that I ever led her to believe in Santa Claus, or the hokum that pervades our society and justifies the existence of Snopes.com, but there are all kinds of things she didn't need to know and I wasn't about to tell her, when she was little: Some of them about the world, some of them about her relatives, some of them about her parents, and a few things like Santa Claus.

Cultures are jam-packed with beliefs that ain't true. It's what keeps the stock market humming along. And I'm only being slightly sarcastic.
posted by Peach at 1:05 PM on December 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

That said, I really don't get Santa Claus. Seriously.
posted by Peach at 1:06 PM on December 27, 2014

The way he swaggers out of that puff of smoke: "I'm Santa Claus and I'm here to KICK SOME ASS."
posted by telstar at 1:26 PM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

We all got a stomach flu right before Christmas a couple years ago and we had to delay going to grandma's until the MORNING OF Christmas, and my older son was super-worried because he thought Santa might bring the presents to the wrong place or forget entirely, since we weren't at grandma's on Christmas Eve like we were supposed to be. We assured him and reassured him but he was super-worried. So we're driving north on the interstate Christmas morning, basically the only car on the road at dawn on Christmas day, maybe two miles from the exit to grandma's, right as the sun is coming up, and suddenly up ahead, on a motorcycle, in full red-suit regalia -- fur trim, boots, real beard, hat -- no helmet (Illinois has no helmet law), just sunglasses -- WE SEE SANTA.

We floor the minivan to catch up and we pull up alongside Santa with two very wide-eyed preschoolers in the back seat. He looks over at them, winks, and waves, then speeds off to the north right as we get off the expressway.

We arrived at grandma's ten minutes later and there were all the presents from Santa under the tree. My children are going to believe FOREVER.

Chicago-area motorcycle guy with the really good Santa suit who makes bad life choices about helmets, I LOVE YOU!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:54 PM on December 27, 2014 [56 favorites]

I went on vacation with a family as their nanny over Christmas a number of years ago. The five-year-old got herself into a panic over whether Santa would know where to deliver her presents, since they wouldn't be home on Christmas. So I had her sit down and write a letter to Santa on the hotel stationery, write Pere Noel on it in wobbly kindergarten letters, and take it down to the very snooty concierge at the very fancy Parisian hotel. I explained that we had a letter that needed rush delivery.

Bless that Frenchman, he took one look at the envelope and assured the five-year-old that she had nothing to fear-- her letter would certainly arrive in time, as France has a special North Pole delivery service for these situations.
posted by nonasuch at 2:05 PM on December 27, 2014 [14 favorites]

Here is an omniscient, omnipotent, father figure who keeps a tally of good and bad behavior and rewards or punishes it

Santa is not omnipotent. In fact the only mechanism at his disposal to influence the world is to give toys, candy, clothing, and coal to children once a year. How he does that requires some magic, but he couldn't use that magic to put out forest fires or rescue hostages or prevent websites from auto-playing sound.

I guess eating cookies could technically be considered to be another power he has. However at this time of year, I kind of think of eating cookies as the default state of affairs. The ability to not eat cookies would be the real superhuman feat.
posted by aubilenon at 2:23 PM on December 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Here is an omniscient, omnipotent, father figure who keeps a tally of good and bad behavior and rewards or punishes it, accordingly.

Santa's with the NSA?
posted by pjern at 2:34 PM on December 27, 2014

Born skeptical, I knew early that certain things could only be made just so real before they lost all charm. Santa Caus as a concept was great, but Santa Claus as a reality meant bad costumes, bad fake beards and usually some pretty bad smells. Certainly by six I could spot a rented suit. I imagine this kid scrutinizing his video as kids will, thinking: So the real, actual Santa Claus wears bad faux fur and polyester velvet and looks nothing whatever like the shining apparition in my dreams? Guess I'd better start scaling back expectations...
posted by kinnakeet at 5:07 PM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

i just googled 'is santa real' and it took me to this video what is this who are you people
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:52 PM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

This Santa is Euclid class.
posted by michaelh at 9:52 PM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

This was sweet. Before my kids were born, I remember having an internal conversation with myself (or perhaps actually discussing it with my wife) about whether we'd push the Santa Lie on our kids and how far to take to the charade.

When I was about five, my parents took me to gramma and grandpa's cottage on the lake for a good ol' fashioned White Christmas in rural Michigan. At 4am on Christmas morning my dad wakes me up. "Did you hear sleigh bells?" Sure enough, I hear sleigh bells jingling from the snowy meadow outside. My dad leads me down the hall, and there he is, the man himself, unpacking his gift bag in front of the fireplace, including the exact orange Tonka dump truck and the pink teddy bear I'd asked him to bring my baby sister a few days earlier when we went to go see him at the mall. We spent, I don't know how long, probably 15 minutes, talking about school and being good and the importance of family and love and generosity, but it felt like eternity because those magical moments were engraved on my consciousness forever. I was all in on The Santa question, and my belief didn't even flinch when he asked if it was ok to walk out the front door instead of the chimney, nor did it when my grandfather emerged from "the bathroom" a few minutes after Santa left.

"Grampa, Grampa, you missed it, you missed it, Santa was *just* here! Look what I got!"

I swear, I fully believed in Santa until I was like 12 years old. The illusion was lifted when I saw my younger cousins get the same treatment a few years later, this time with my uncle in the Santa suit, and the whole thing was incredibly obvious, yet I didn't feel betrayed, by then I was old enough to handle it, and seeing the looks on my cousins faces, it was clear to me, still a child, why we perpetuate this.

2 days ago, I celebrated Christmas at my folks' place with my 5 year old and my 3 year old. A few weeks beforehand, my parents had asked my permission. My aunt's new husband whom we hadn't met had offered and someone still had the old Santa suit. At this point, whether we'd encouraged it or not, my kids are totally down with Santa. They'd been really worried whether Santa would know they were at Gramma and Pop-pop's and we sent a letter explaining where to bring the presents. At about 10 pm on Christams eve, there's a jingle and a knock on the door. Santa bursts in and explains he got the letter and wanted to stop here first to make sure my kids got their gifts. Santa explains in technical terms how he can tell naughty from nice, why his insurance doesn't let him use chimneys anymore and how Rudolph has been retired since they started using radar and GPS. And he pulls out the two gifts they'd asked for as well as a couple of jingle bells which all of the adults of course pretend they can't hear.

To realize magic is real, and to see it on the face of your children on Christmas night, that is a hell of a thing. That's my job, the only thing that matters in fact -- to show my kids that the world is a pretty amazing place, full of wonder, if you know where to look, and the magic goes far beyond a guy dressed up in a red suit.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:19 PM on December 27, 2014 [7 favorites]

I'm in my 40's and Santa still brings me presents every year. He's also started bringing my parents presents.

I think one of the hardest times of my life is going to be the first Christmas 'Santa' ceases his visits.

Damn, made myself cry just thinking about it.
posted by Jalliah at 6:57 AM on December 28, 2014 [4 favorites]

Oh, by the way, we just has to have the "don't ruin it for the other kids that still believe" talk with our 4 year old.

She just figured it out this year on her own. The story was just too weird, and too many parents seemed way into it. Our whole approach to Xmas is just one huge tell.
posted by clvrmnky at 12:14 PM on December 28, 2014

Just so long as the fat guy wasn't kissing mommy.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:20 PM on December 28, 2014

Ach, I'm such a sap.

Pretty confident about my decision not to have kids most of the time but then I see this.

If our lives had been different...if my partner and I hadn't each married the wrong person when we were young...we probably would have procreated together, even accidentally. And we would have enjoyed the heck out of the nerdy kid we created.

I envy y'all who met the right person in time. I shouldn't have kids - my parents are too mentally ill and I've spent 40+ years trying to navigate/offset those effects and that heritage. I wouldn't do that to a kid. But I can see how beautifully wonderful it is to have one. And I love my spouse so much that to see him replicated in a child would probably blow my mind in the best way.

My BIL and his partner want kids and my secret nasty dream is that they'll create the kid from sperm and ova they select and I'll be the vessel. I'd be delighted and honored to be their surrogate. I just don't know how to broach it. They've made noises about wanting a baby.
posted by Punctual at 2:57 AM on December 29, 2014

« Older "Whatever the orientation, fans are passionate...   |   How about those airplane seats? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments