I used to be a very talented liar. But I gave it up. When I was an IT headhunter in NYC back in the day, my old boss used to say, “Always tell the truth, there’s less to remember.” Ironically, he later went to prison for fraud. But I’ve always remembered what he said because he was absolutely right. It’s a helluva lot easier to be honest. And so now for a very long time, I’ve been the most honest guy I know. 

Tonight, our oldest daughter left a long note for Santa. In it are requests of proof that he exists. It’s not enough that he leaves presents, because anyone can write, ‘from the big guy’ on a sticker. And she’s right. So we talked about how you’ve got to believe in some things that you can’t see. Ever. Like God. And love. And electricity. And she seemed ok with it. For now. 

But it’s all going to come crashing down at some point. And when it does, I fear she’s going to blame us for deceiving her. Especially me. Because it feels like the older she gets, the more elaborately I have to spin this tale. It feels like I’m regressing back into a really good liar each Christmas. 

I knew this would happen. I told my wife this would happen when we had our first Christmas with our daughter. I didn’t want to do Santa at all. Not just because of the lie, but because of the gluttony thing too. But my wife insisted, and it’s actually been pretty fun. Except for the part about knowing that the day would come when I’d have to look my little girl in the eyes and tell her the truth. After years and years of deceit. She’ll cry. And she’ll be right to. Not because Santa’s not real, but because her Daddy, the man she loves and trusts most in the world, lied to her. She’ll get over it eventually, but not before major damage is done. If I can lie that well about something like this, God knows what else I must be lying about – right? At least, that’s the way I remember feeling when my mother told me the truth. And if you’re like my mom, you’ll say that Santa’s not really a lie and that the spirit of Santa Claus lives in your heart. And maybe it does, but the idea of a guy flying around the world at light speed is still a lie. The spirit of giving, sure – that’s real. Santa, not so much. 

So tonight I have to figure out what to say as I forge Santa’s responses to her questionnaire.  And it breaks my heart. 

Thanks for reading my words and letting me share. Merry Christmas.


Jim Mitchem


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Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.