Is Justin Bieber Really Retiring?

JB announces he's 'officially retiring,' but is the whole thing just a hoax?

Justin Bieber gave his fans a real lump of coal for Christmas ... by announcing he's "officially retiring."

Bieber took to Twitter on Christmas Eve to break the news to his Beliebers, claiming that the decision to hang up his drop-crotch pants came after one too many mean-spirited stories from the media (perhaps making them work on Christmas is his way of getting revenge?) He also made an attempt to assuage apoplectic fans by claiming — in ALL CAPS — that he'll remain in their lives forever.

"The media talks a lot about me. They make up a lot of lies and want me to fail, but I'm never leaving you, being a Belieber is a lifestyle," he wrote. "Be kind to each other, forgive each other as God forgave us through Christ. Merry Christmas. I'M HERE FOREVER."

In theory, this puts to rest those pesky rumors about whether Bieber is actually retiring — earlier this month, his team had dismissed them as a joke, but Bieber himself would later dismiss that dismissal to MTV News — though not everyone is convinced JB is being entirely truthful.

In fact, some seem to think the whole retirement thing is a hoax, meant to stir up publicity for Bieber's brand-new "Believe" documentary ... which just so happens to be in theaters today. Bieber isn't exactly doing much to silence those whispers, either; rather than spend Christmas Day consoling brokenhearted Beliebers, he's been re-tweeting their messages about the movie ... finally concluding with one message that claims the film will "clear up all the rumors."

There's still no word from Bieber's camp, either. MTV News' attempts to reach his reps for comment proved unsuccessful.