When Did You Tell Your Kids the Truth About Santa Claus?

I enjoy the holiday season, and my family usually celebrates Christmas. However, a number of people think that I’m grinchy because my husband and I have never done Santa Claus with our son. Santa has not been a tradition in our home (neither has the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy), but that hasn’t really affected our Christmas celebrations.

However, as another Christmas arrives, and as we wrap a few last minute gifts, I think about Santa Claus, and wonder when other parents tell their kids about Santa Claus. I know my parents did Santa Claus, and I don’t really remember when I found out that Santa Claus wasn’t real, nor do I remember how I found out. I remember keeping the fun alive for my younger siblings, but I don’t know when I actually stopped believing.

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How Do Children Find Out?

Since we have never done Santa Claus with our son, we didn’t have to worry about him finding out about his fictional nature. Instead, we had to explain to him that Santa Claus is a nice concept, and that many families have this tradition, and that he shouldn’t ruin for others. We also had to explain why we don’t do Santa Claus. He felt a little left out, I think, but eventually he felt pretty ok with it, since he knew something other kids didn’t, and we established, from an early age, that we will always tell my son the way things are.

I was curious about how other children find out about Santa Claus. I know that some children find out when an older child spills the beans. Others need to be told by their parents. Still other kids just figure it out over time, I think. It’s a fun tradition, but what happens when kids find out in a traumatic way? I’ve heard stories from parents about their children coming home crying, heartbroken that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. While this probably doesn’t happen for everyone, I’m glad I didn’t have to run the risk. I’m also glad that my son has no reason to think that I will trick him about other things. While, for some reason, the discovery about the truth of Santa Claus doesn’t destroy the parent/child bond between most families, I have heard of some families in which children become jaded and ask their parents what else they are lying about.

It’s an interesting process, and I’m not sure how I would have handled it. Do you sit down and tell your child if it seems that he or she goes on believing past a certain age? And what is that age? Should your child know the truth at age 8? Or can they really be expected to keep believing until they are 10 or 11? It’s an interesting question that I’m glad I don’t have to deal with. In fact, I think our lives were made much easier by the refusal to play the Santa Claus game. We never had to worry about it, we still had fun at Christmas, and my son has always known exactly who gives him his Christmas presents.

How did you handle telling the truth about Santa Claus?

About the Author

Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger. See more of her writing at MirandaMarquit.com. Her book, Confessions of a Professional Blogger is available from Amazon.