OK, parents, you might want to shield your kids from this one.

But I never believed in Santa Claus, not even at the youngest possible age.

You could probably put this on on my parents, because they never encouraged me to somehow think Santa Claus brought our Christmas presents. My brother and I always knew they came from Dad and Mom, and I don't think we ever tried to find our presents before Christmas. At least I didn't.

We didn't have a fireplace in our house, and the only visible part of the chimney was in our dining room, covered with wallpaper. So Santa would have had to come through the front or back door, and nobody would have believed that.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't believe in Christmas, because I very much do. And when you consider the true meaning of the day, it's one of the two best days of the year to a Christian--right up there with Easter.

And "A Charlie Brown Christmas" still can choke me up when Linus stands in the spotlight on stage and quotes Luke 2, finishing with "And that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Of course, we didn't have shopping malls in those days, and when Santa came to Main Street we always knew it was a local businessman in the red suit.

So while I very much believe in Christmas, I never bought into Santa Claus.

And maybe I was preparing for a life in journalism, where a healthy skepticism is almost a job requirement.