New Video: Santa? What Should You Tell Your Kids?

Should you tell your kids the truth about Santa? What are the upsides? What are the downsides? How do you deal with it? Let me know in the comments!

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  • Virtual Atheist

    I’m all for keeping on with the Santa myth. It adds a little colour and wonder to the life of a small child. There is enough shit to be dealt with from puberty onwards through one’s adult life. Let them have their innocence and believe that the magic is real, at least for a while.

    And anyone who has a problem with that can fuck right off, eat shit then die in a freak yachting accident!

  • Jan

    We did the whole Santa thing with my daughter. When some kids at school started telling her that there’s no Santa, she came to me and asked if Santa was real. I asked her, “What do you think?” The first three or four times she came to me she replied, ” I think Santa is real.” I then replied, “Okay” and we were done for a while. She really wanted to believe, so I let her believe. The last time she asked me, when I asked what she thought about it she replied that she thought that I was Santa. This time I replied, “Yes, I am Santa, but you are Santa now too!” She was puzzled by this, but I explained that once you know about Santa your job is to make Christmas fun and magical for all of the little kids who do believe.

    I confess that I tested this out with my fifth grade class years before, during a discussion about telling kids the truth about Santa or keeping up the illusion. They really took to the idea that once you no longer believe, you become Santa, it made them feel very grown up.

  • Margaret Tombs

    I totally agree with you, finding out about Santa not being real was when I began to question things too because it is essentially the same thing as believing in a God, the big difference being that there are still Adults who genuinely believe in God and will swallow any tall tale to hang on to that illusion.
    My Daughter worked it out for herself a few years ago, I’m not exactly sure when because I think she kept up the game herself because it is a lot of fun, but I guessed she knew because comments kept slipping out about where the Santa gifts came from. eventually she had to admit she knew but now she plays Santa for us too, and for younger children she knows.
    Also contact with mythology and imagined creatures is good for developing the ability to Suspend Disbelief, which is not the same as actually believing something is true. It’s the suspension of disbelief which allows people to enjoy fantastical stories and movies such as Star Wars for example, and enter that world without losing sight of the real one.

  • lindsaybanks

    My husband and I have been discussing this since we have a brand new baby girl. Obviously, it’s not something we really have to deal with for a few years, but it’s still worth thinking about now. Our bigger problem is that we don’t like how consumerist Christmas has become and rather than focusing on “giving” I see too many kids focused on “getting.”

    I spent one Christmas with friends in Guatemala and was blown away by the generosity of these particular families and their kids and the focus on love and family. Maybe I wouldn’t be so disillusioned by religion if all religious folks were like this family. They practiced “posadas” where they go carolling at a different family’s house each night for 9 days leading up to xmas eve. Each night had a different theme and related kids activity; one night the theme was “grandparents” and the kids made drawings for their grandparents and each adult (there were about 20 of us- big family!) took turns sharing a story about a grandparent and why they were important to them (including me).

    On xmas eve, each kid had been asked to bring a small toy and the activity was for the kids to wrap their toy, and an uncle explained how lucky they all were to have a roof over their head, food on the table, and families that love them. He explained how lots of kids don’t have these things and in fact, many kids live by digging through giant trash piles just a couple miles away. He was going to take their presents and give them to homeless children when he passed by the garbage dump on his way home. I totally cried. It was such a beautiful lesson for those kids, and what I’d like xmas to be all about.

    I don’t like the idea of written a list of crap that we want someone to buy for us. Maybe this is why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! So much simpler.

    But I like what a previous poster said about telling kids that once they find out, they become Santa.

  • Rachel

    My mother had this thing where she claimed she would NEVER LIE TO US, and therefore my brothers and sister and I were always told that there was no Santa, Easter Bunny, etc. I thought that was pretty cool, and I always felt a little superior to my peers who did believe. I said I would do the same thing with my own children, although my husband strongly disagreed. He had done the whole belief thing in childhood and had enjoyed the magic and come out unscathed, so he wanted the same for our children. The compromise we came up with was that the one “big” present each year could be from Santa, and everything else was to be from us. My husband would buy the gift and put it under the tree, and I wouldn’t have to be involved, and therefore I could tell my children that I hadn’t bought it and didn’t know anything about it. Pretty lame, but I really believed in “not lying” to them.

    Then…the first year my daughter was old enough to understand about Santa/Christmas/etc., I did something that shocked me. My husband had put up the Christmas lights on the house one day while my daughter was at daycare. As we were driving home, I said “Wait until you see the house! A bunch of elves came and put up Christmas lights for us!” I don’t even know where that came from – it just came out of my mouth. And the magic of believing was born for my kids. I told my daughter the truth at six or seven and she was totally okay with it.

    My son has Down syndrome and autism and at 13 still believes in Santa (and the Easter bunny and tooth fairy) and probably always will. He ADORES Santa! We always take him to get pictures with Santa, and he totally immerses himself in everything Christmas related. He kisses his gifts when he opens them and says to the sky, “oh, thank you, Santa!” The joy he experiences at this time of year is priceless and so moving and is definitely the best thing about Christmas for us all.