My sister told me. As it often happened, she had some hot intelligence and no one to share it with, my parents already being clued in on the Santa thing. (The same thing would happen with sex education. She had to tell someone and all her friends knew, so I was the lucky one.)
I didn’t want to know. I continued to write Santa letters, hoping my faith could somehow change the facts. This earned me mockery from my paternal grandparents, who accused me of being a disingenuous faker and/or hedging my bets. But I felt I could have gone two or three years more in the Santa bubble and I resented having the illusion taken from me.
The result, I think, is a remarkable discipline about gifts. I like to be surprised. I do not poke or pinch, shake or examine. If I stumble on a strange parcel in a place where a parcel should not be, I back away.
What’s the right age to learn there is no Santa, if ever?