12 Days of Christmas Anime, Day 5: Azumanga Daioh

Hey…I’ve got a secret to tell you.

You can’t tell ANYONE. It might literally DESTROY anyone you tell it to.

In fact…it might destroy YOU.

But I’ll tell you anyway.


Broaching the topic of Santa’s existence, especially with kids, can be tricky. Kagura and Tomo find this out when they wonder if Chiyo (who has skipped several grades and is younger than her classmates) knows the truth. Tomo, as per usual, asks without proper discretion.

And in true Azumanga Daioh style, the jokes roll on from there, as Chiyo explains who Santa really is, Kagura and Tomo try to figure out how Santa can do what he does, and Sakaki daydreams about Chiyo Father, who she imagines is a yellow catlike creature (my favorite part of the series by the way).

But back to the declaration at hand—I was reminded of when I found out “the truth” about Santa. My 4th grade teacher read us Superfudge—one of my favorite books—and in it, there’s a chapter dedicated to the subject, which treats Santa completely as a fairy tale. I went home immediately and asked my mom about it, and she confirmed that Santa was indeed make believe. I was crushed and wouldn’t believe her, but I later confirmed the harsh reality when I found my stash of presents before the big day (I still feel guilty about that) and discovered that everything addressed from Santa was bought purchased by my mom and dad.

It was a weird Christmas, as I pretended to be surprised by all the gifts I knew were coming.

Having had this crushing experience, I wanted to be careful with my own kids. I wanted to break it to them easily, not by them finding their gifts early or hearing it from a book. Of course, I never told this plan to my wife, who one day just decided to tell them.

They were fine with it. No tears or crushed dreams for them. “It didn’t really make sense anyway, Dad.”


When did you all find out that Santa doesn’t exist? Was it tough for you to hear the truth, or did you adjust fine, like my kids did?

Day 6: Episode six for day six, as we jump into Wotakoi tomorrow!


14 thoughts on “12 Days of Christmas Anime, Day 5: Azumanga Daioh

  1. Christmas is a week from today! what do y’all want for Christmas? comment down below,I know what Rachel wants for Christmas.Or is it you guys? I don’t really know,I’m not the grammar expert

    1. “Y’all” is perfectly permissible, and even expected, in the south, and is being accepted more and more outside of the south as a great way to express second-person plural. 🙂

      I don’t get much excited hoping for Christmas gifts anymore, haha, but I am excited to get a couple things that I know are coming—two anime figures, one that’s already arrived and which I’ll wait to unwrap on Christmas, and another that might not be coming until well after the holiday. 🙂

      What are you wanting for Christmas?

  2. Hmm…I don’t recall my exact age at this point (13 or 14, I think), but apparently I was an atypically trusting (gullible?) child who bought the whole Santa shtick hook, line, and sinker, and didn’t find out he wasn’t real until fairly late. At that point, I felt lied to and deeply betrayed. When I got upset with my parents over it, their defense was that they never literally said “Santa is real,” but that didn’t fly considering the ways they had tried to actively encourage me to believe in Santa and the things they did say implying he was real. It was a genuine breach in my relationship with my parents that diminished my trust in them. At that wasn’t even the beginning of the pain the Santa lie caused me, just the climax. For years prior, I’d felt hurt and disappointed at not receiving the things I asked for in the letters to Santa my parents encouraged me to write (I mean, if you’ve convinced your gullible kid that Santa and his magic elves make toys and give them to all the children of the world, what do you expect?).

    Honestly, I still hate the Santa rigamarole and if I could have had kids I would have started telling them as soon as possible – in absolutely unambiguous terms – that Santa does not exist. Children can be EXTREMELY trusting. I know (not just from the Santa issue!!!) how painful it is to have a parent take that trust and betray, stomp all over it, set it on fire, and then demand that you trust them and act they’re the victim when based on past experience, you (the kid) don’t. A child’s trust in his parents is something to be treasured, not squandered on a pathetically stupid game like the notion of “Santa Claus.” If parents want to teach their kids about a person they can’t see, who knows everything they do, who cares whether they do what’s right or wrong, who gives all sorts of good things he himself makes… Talk about God, not Santa. I will, with great struggle, restrain myself from telling anyone else’s kids that Santa is a lie, but I will do all in my power to avoid giving any support or encouragement whatsoever to that pernicious fiction.

    At this point, after celebrating Christmas in a strictly, thoroughgoing secular sense for all my life, I have just about completely rejected not only Santa but gift-giving as well, and am instead seeking to figure out how to approach the season

    Okey-day, the above was my serious take on Santa. Now let me give you my humorous literary conspiracy theory regarding Santa: did you know that on top of Santa being an anagram of “Satan,” Santa supposedly lives at the North Pole, while Satan, according to Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, is found in the ninth circle of hell – which “coincidentally” happens to be a frozen, icy waste? #makesyouthink 😉 ;P

    1. All I can say to all the above is WOW. Haha. Also, I saw a short video recently of some Christmas TV special where Satan was posited as the enemy of Santa Claus hehe.

  3. Whoops, got distracted and didn’t finish the penultimate paragraph.

    At this point, after celebrating Christmas in a strictly, thoroughgoing secular sense for all my life, I have just about completely rejected not only Santa but gift-giving as well, and am instead seeking to figure out how to approach the season …

    …in a religious way. The faith tradition I come from mostly tended to bash the idea of celebrating Christmas with any religious significance (and some people were against observing Christmas at all!), so I don’t have any experience on that front. As an adult, however, a variety of factors have led me to alter my views – most notably, a few good sermons that highlighted some of the weaknesses of the anti-Christmas position, learning a little more about what people who celebrate Christmas in a religious sense truly believe instead of the caricature I heard as a kid, and going through a much broader (and still ongoing) process of sifting through what I learned growing up and rejecting a ton of things I can now see aren’t correct.

    1. I definitely think Christians need to give more thought to how we celebrate Christmas. Recognizing advent is a good start. Considering why we do what we do for the holidays and thinking of and doing things related to Christ in the season and the day are important as well.

      You bring up a good point about the anti-Christmas position. I think that sometimes, out of the attempt to do something right, we can do something terribly wrong. There’s so much opportunity in Christmas to focus on God and grow in our love and adoration for him, in celebrating a joyous day among people—some maybe in our own household—who otherwise don’t prescribe to any religion, and to use the holiday to share the love of Christ. But it’s a messy minefield, and one that’s very easy to get lost in, even if we’re carefully wading through.

  4. I don’t think I ever believed in santa. While my parents would say stuff like ‘we’ll see what santa brings’ given we would buy and wrap gifts for other people together and swap gifts with the family, it all just made more sense that the rest of the gifts came from family as well. It didn’t help that I’ve always been an impossibly light sleeper and I’d hear the grown-ups moving around and discussing the layout of gifts and then in the morning be up and waiting for everyone else to get up to start the day with family breakfast before gifts.

    1. Haha, you and I are the opposite. Despite the “To/From” tags on the gifts from Santa having the exact same script as my Dad’s, I still bought it all hook, line, and sinker, even when I was well past the age to believe.

  5. How interesting! In Spain, the tradition puts the Mages of the East who visited Our Lord as the gifters instead of Santa, and presents are usually delivered on January 6th, Epiphany (last day of the Christmas holiday, too). With the TV and so, things are changing, but we keep it this way.

    Also, my parents encouraged me and my siblings, in time, to ask for more spiritual gifts, including gifts for others (which was kind of heroic, because we had a limited space in the paper), in our Christmas letters. So even if I was briefly disappointed when they told me, mostly because having strong chuunybiou tendencies I love the signs of the extraordinary, I naturally came to the conclussion that after all, from the Catholic point of view all sainctly men are forever alive in the presence of God, presenting him their prayers, so they do exist and hear us. I remember myself trying to explain that to my classmates at 14. I suppose I would have applied that reasoning to St. Nicholas of Bari if I was from the States. That way, it didn’t felt like a treason, and I didn’t lost the feeling of wonder when the season is near (also, as right now, it comes after a penitential Advent). I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing my Christmas letter.

    My usual Christmas is a lot like Sakamichi no Apollon: we go to Mass together the 24 in the night, then we have a family meal after reading the Gospel together (also, we don’t have Thanksgiving in Spain), then we sing Christmas Carols until late, and the 25 we just enjoy and rest together.

    About Santa, I loved that Toradora! Christmas episode in which he was a explicit symbol for a certain character of the good, loving God that encourages sacrificial love, a God in whom she didn’t believe, but sorely needed nevertheless.

  6. I had started to have my suspicions one year when I thought I would be on Santa’s naughty list for sure but still got presents. So when my parents told me Santa wasn’t real, I didn’t get bothered. I think it’s more important that we believe in what Santa stands for than him being real.
    Also, NORAD never changed their Santa tracker posts every year, so I knew something was up.

Leave a Reply