When Kids Stop Believing In Santa
LIANE HANSEN, host:
With Christmas less than two weeks away, Youth Radio's Asha Richardson interviewed a group of children to find out whether the age-old notions about the big jolly bearded man still endure. She has this story.
ASHA RICHARDSON: Many young kids spend all year looking forward to Christmas morning's stealthy visitor. So we asked twin brothers Nicholas and Peter Reichenstein(ph) why they believe in a certain someone. First, we hear from Nicholas.
Mr. NICHOLAS REICHENSTEIN: I think I believe in him because usually when I go to bed I try to go to sleep and suddenly, I seem to be asleep. Like, he puts me to sleep so I wouldn't hear him putting presents under the tree.
Mr. PETER REICHENSTEIN: My name is Peter. And I think he's real because when I wake up I see all these presents and no one can be coming by and just giving me presents.
RICHARDSON: Just three years later, some of those sweet ideas transform into critical analysis of what is scientifically possible. Maya Rayford Cohen(ph) and Iko Kennedy(ph) are best friends, born only four hours apart and now in the fifth grade. They have some strong feelings about this subject.
Ms. MAYA RAYFORD COHEN: You have to use logic. You can't just say that someone's going to ride around in a sled. Around the world...
Ms. IKO KENNEDY: Yeah. Around the world in one night.
Ms. COHEN: With, like, eight reindeer.
Ms. KENNEDY: And billion presents.
Ms. COHEN: And, yeah, you can't say that. You have to use logic. And I don't really see where there would be, like, some magical workshop. And if there was some magical workshop, I think we would've discovered it already. So, and...
Ms. KENNEDY: We pretty much discovered the whole world basically right now. We're probably...
Ms. COHEN: We're doing pretty good.
Ms. KENNEDY: Above the edge of discovering anything. Yeah, we probably would've discovered it.
RICHARDSON: We moved further up the age ladder and talked to teenagers. For 17-year-old Jenae Powers(ph), finding out went hand-in-hand with an even bigger revelation.
Ms. JENAE POWERS: I stopped believing in the hairy man when I stopped believing in the Bible. When I used to talk to Jesus in my head, I never really got an answer back. And I would ask him if he could do little things to just show that he was there, like, make a salt shaker fall on the floor, but nothing ever really happened.
And then I started thinking about one Christmas when I wrote the hairy man. And in the letter, I asked him to call me and I left him out some cookies. And when I woke up, he never ate the cookies and he never called me.
RICHARDSON: This Christmas, I'm more concerned about getting good grades on college finals than I am about writing a letter to the big guy. But I can't help but smile, remembering back to a time when you-know-who delivered my two-story Barbie dollhouse with an elevator. Yep, that was a very good day.
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HANSEN: And that was Youth Radio's Asha Richardson.
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HANSEN: You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News.
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