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Telling a child about Santa

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rabble

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My eldest is nearly ten, youngest is eight, and both of them as far as I can tell still believe in Santa.

Both my husband and I (and everyone I know actually) found out the truth at around age 8. Kids on the playground, discovering gifts in closets that were then "from Santa" on Christmas day etc.

My query is this - have any of you told a kid the truth because of their age? I feel horrible even writing this lol, but I've been thinking about it, and last year I noticed some of dd1s peers look highly amused when dd1 was talking about Santa, and that's when I really considered Santa's shelf life. Dd1 already knows that the elf on the shelf isn't real. Dd2 -not sure!

Sil accidentally mentioned Santa and co not being real the other day. I *think* it went over the kids heads though.

I dunno, I guess I'm worried about dd1 getting picked on by peers? At the same time I don't want to destroy any magic!

Sorry this is so wordy, just trying to explain it
 

Miss JoDee

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From the beginning I told my children Santa was a game we played at Christmas. I still hid the gifts and they didn't go under the tree until they were asleep Christmas Eve. It didn't seem to take away the magic (mystery) as I always planned something unexpected somewhere along the way.
My reasoning was I wanted the Reason for Christmas to be about Jesus' birthday, I even made a birthday cake and we sang Happy Birthday.
 
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rabble

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From the beginning I told my children Santa was a game we played at Christmas. I still hid the gifts and they didn't go under the tree until they were asleep Christmas Eve. It didn't seem to take away the magic (mystery) as I always planned something unexpected somewhere along the way.
My reasoning was I wanted the Reason for Christmas to be about Jesus' birthday, I even made a birthday cake and we sang Happy Birthday.
That makes good sense. And whoever "Santa" is, it's still fun. And of course there is more to Christmas than the dude in the red.

I remember one year there was a tv advert on appealing for Salvation Army, and they showed a picture of a sad little girl with the narration "she won't be receiving anything from Santa this year". Dd2 heard and said "why won't she get presents? Hasn't she been good?"

That shocked me as I'd never seen that from a kids point of view. Maybe then was the time to mention something. Hindsight eh?
 

missjane

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I suppose I had a different situation. My daddy was "the Santa" at several major malls for years...a muchly sought after one...to brag a little. Lol! We had to be a little creative and tell our children that he was Santa's helper because Santa was too busy to be everywhere. So, our children did believe there was a REAL Santa.

When it came time to deal with whether or not there was one, I told my children how the story of santa started and that there is a santa, just not who they think it is....that it's their parents. I explained that it's to add to the anticipation and surprise of Christmas morning. My children still like to get a santa gift!

In hindsight, I would have done what Jody did. I have friends who did it like that with their kids.
 
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rabble

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I suppose I had a different situation. My daddy was "the Santa" at several major malls for years...a muchly sought after one...to brag a little. Lol! We had to be a little creative and tell our children that he was Santa's helper because Santa was too busy to be everywhere. So, our children did believe there was a REAL Santa.

When it came time to deal with whether or not there was one, I told my children how the story of santa started and that there is a santa, just not who they think it is....that it's their parents. I explained that it's to add to the anticipation and surprise of Christmas morning. My children still like to get a santa gift!

In hindsight, I would have done what Jody did. I have friends who did it like that with their kids.
You are truly lucky to have Santa as your dad haha! We also told ours that the shop santas were helpers.

I find this conversation trickier than some of the other big talks lol. I just read an article about telling kids the truth from the start and how beneficial it is etc.
 

MrsSoup

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I will preface this by saying that we are not religious in any way so that doesn't play a part in our holiday seasons. When it comes to Santa or anything other mythical creature that has to do with a holiday, we keep the magic. I'm pretty sure Eli (who is 11) might still believe in Santa and i'm not bursting his bubble. I'm sure kids at school talk about it and my friends son has said something to him about it not being real. But we keep the magic alive in our house and even my older two (14 and 17) play it off pretty well like they still believe, even though I know they don't. They want to keep the magic alive because they know how special it is. I don't ask questions or do anything otherwise. I mentioned one time to one of the older two something about the elves since none of them believed anymore and they about went through the roof. I couldn't stop these things even if I wanted to. They will be 40 and still receiving Santa presents and wanting to know what the elves are up to. I think it's fantastic and I know that because of my actions, their children will have magical and wonderful Christmas traditions. It's how I grew up. No one ever told me there wasn't a Santa and I will never flat out tell my children either, or any child for that matter. Santa is very much alive and well in the hearts of everyone that believes in the magic of Christmas (love, caring, giving, etc).

I could get really deep here about what Santa and the act of delivering millions of presents to children around the world represents. But I won't. haha
 

rabble

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I will preface this by saying that we are not religious in any way so that doesn't play a part in our holiday seasons. When it comes to Santa or anything other mythical creature that has to do with a holiday, we keep the magic. I'm pretty sure Eli (who is 11) might still believe in Santa and i'm not bursting his bubble. I'm sure kids at school talk about it and my friends son has said something to him about it not being real. But we keep the magic alive in our house and even my older two (14 and 17) play it off pretty well like they still believe, even though I know they don't. They want to keep the magic alive because they know how special it is. I don't ask questions or do anything otherwise. I mentioned one time to one of the older two something about the elves since none of them believed anymore and they about went through the roof. I couldn't stop these things even if I wanted to. They will be 40 and still receiving Santa presents and wanting to know what the elves are up to. I think it's fantastic and I know that because of my actions, their children will have magical and wonderful Christmas traditions. It's how I grew up. No one ever told me there wasn't a Santa and I will never flat out tell my children either, or any child for that matter. Santa is very much alive and well in the hearts of everyone that believes in the magic of Christmas (love, caring, giving, etc).

I could get really deep here about what Santa and the act of delivering millions of presents to children around the world represents. But I won't. haha
Same, we're not religious either.
I was never told outright either, but I had a weird childhood where I was consistently lied to all the time by every adult in my 'family'. Maybe that's why I'm a bit iffy about how long to go along with Santa.
I suppose there isn't a generic right or wrong answer: it's individual to the family.

Eldest was relieved when she found out that i am the elf. She thought it was chucky doll-esque creepy lol
 

Minta

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We told our oldest when she was in the 5th grade. She kept asking about santa as the kids at school had already been talking. She already knew but was looking for confirmation. We told our youngest when he was in 6th or 7th grade as that is when he questioned it. They both keep the magic of santa going for their little cousins though.
 
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rabble

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Minta - my niece was told not to tell younger family members too. I think she enjoys being a part of the secret
 

girlsinmo

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With our kids and granddaughter who are all adults now we did things a bit different.

Santa was/is only a part of the magic of Christmas. Until they got old enough they didn't want one all Santa brought them was a stocking filled with stuff including one gift on Christmas Day. The rest of their gifts came from family and they knew it.

We let them figure out on their own Santa wasn't someone they could see and touch. He's just a small part of Christmas magic. We did tell them when we knew they'd figured out he wasn't flesh & blood not to tell younger children. We didn't want them ruining anything good for another child. If I remember correctly they were between 10-12 when they came to a different understanding about Santa. All of them know Jesus is the reason for Christmas season..

Hope this makes sense.
 
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sweetpumkinpye

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Rabble, my thoughts on this. If your eldest is 10 then they will only believe for a little while yet so let them continue to believe. I don't think it matters what is happening on the playground. If your child is not sure they will ask you.
If you are chatting about Christmas and there is an opportunity to tell the truth then do so and maybe drop a few hints and see what happens but overall I would let them believe until they no longer do.
 
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Holiday_Mom

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I loved believing in the magic of Christmas as a kid. Yeah, I was disappointed when I found out but I had fun when I was able to play "Santa" to others as well. My parents continued to play the part of Santa themselves and wouldn't let us know what our siblings were getting. If we were out shopping and my mom needed to pick up a gift for me or my siblings, then she'd ask me to wait in the car or go look in another area of the store while she purchased the item.

With that background stated, Santa visits our house still to this day. When my dc were under the age of ten and they asked if Santa was real, I would ask them "What do you think?" It helped me to see where the question was coming from or what prompted the question. Sometimes I never had to answer the question because they seemed content with me asking what they thought and that was that. I did have to answer that question once with my youngest and I answered truthfully. It was heartbreaking for both of us.

When my other dc turned 10, I decided to tell them during the summer months (June-August) since Christmas was far enough away. It gave them time to grieve. I explained that grown ups are just little kids in big bodies who enjoy the surprising others with gifts. I explained how Santa Claus grew out of the story of St. Nick. They knew about St. Nicholas since we celebrate that feast day. Then they got to think about people they would like to surprise with a gift and when it got closer to Christmas, we did shopping together for that gift. We wrapped the gift and dropped off on the front porch with a note saying it was from Santa. It gave us all great joy in anticipating the surprised look on the recipient.
 
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Ahorsesoul

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I always talked about how Santa lives in everyone's heart so my kids were not real surprised when they found out there wasn't a real live Santa that flew on a sled. No tears so disappointment. I guess I didn't want the magic to be all wrapped up in Santa but in Christmas.

DD was 5 when our military base had a Santa you could hire to drop off some gifts for your children. DD said afterwards that "There was a man in that Santa suit".
 

Lana

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I remember I was in 3rd grade when my best friend told me there wasn't a Santa. She found her Easy Bake Oven and her 2 younger brothers toys in a closet unwrapped.

I remember when my kids where younger and in the tub my son telling Jaymee there wasn't a Santa. Ryan was like in 1st or 2nd and Jaymee is 2 yrs. behind him. I immediately went in and changed the subject. I think I had left to get towels from the dryer.

Teigan was questioning it last year and the Elf. She is in 1st this year. After Christmas last year we got a mailbox that you put a letter in on small piece of paper and then you put the flag up for mail and it plays music and you open it up and its gone. When you move the flag the bottom drops and paper goes under floor. Teigan was really amazed with that. She started messing with it so got it away. Will see what she says this year.
 

rabble

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Thanks everyone for replying. It's given me a lot to think about.

I googled it last night and couldn't believe how many articles and whatnot have been written on it. It's obviously different for every family and what other beliefs or traditions they observe.

General impression I get from all of your replies is that the idea of 'Santa' is more of a belief and feeling rather than a physical, real life person, and that's how you did the whole Santa thing with your kids. I know that's really obvious lol but that's the first time I've ever thought of it like that. I was trying to pass off Father Christmas as a real life living person to my kids.
 

liltattoo

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My girls were both around 12 when they found out Santa wasn't real. My oldest found out first and purely by accident. I talked to her about how Santa was once real (St. Nicholas) and how we help to keep the tradition alive. She took it very well and promised not to tell her younger sister. My youngest had been asking questions and at some point, I realized that she was asking because she had doubts. I told her the same thing I had told her sister and she was very upset at first and it led to questions about the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Leprechaun, and the Elves. We still do gifts from Santa...usually gifts for the entire family such as games, movies, etc. They still love to have the Elves come and still feed them every night.

They will eventually start asking questions and start to doubt, if they don't already. They may already know but play along for you. Either way, don't rush it. When they're ready, they'll let you know. It's up to you how you want to explain the magic of Santa. If you look on Pinterest, there are several letters and ideas on how to explain Santa. Some of them are pretty good too.
 

missjane

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Liltattoo, excellently stated. That's pretty much how things happened at our house. I actually have a book entitled, The Truth about Santa Claus that tells the story about St. Nicholas.
 

MinnieCo

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My daughter was 10 and was heartbroken. She cried, I cried...lol...but she's a very emotional, ONLY CHILD, and hangs on to traditions like no other. She's an adult now and on occasion to be silly, she still brings up me telling her Santa wasn't real. Now 100% when she has children Santa will live on. My stepdaughter on the other hand is not raising her girls to believe in Santa. She told me from day one she'll tell them he's a ficional character, so for years I just tiptoed around the fact of what I could say and couldn't say around Christmas. It was akward...and then I was like..whatever. By the third granddaughter I was like, I'm gonna say whatever I want..lol Last week I was shocked when my 2nd grandaughter lost her 1st tooth and they said the tooth fairy came. But then mom followed up with, I only had 5 ones and not a 5 dollar bill, so that's what she got. And I was like..OH..okay..they know that's not true either.

Let me say this though. I've seen it from multiple kids. They go through that tween stage where they don't care about a whole lot and go bahumbug with Christmas and no Santa too. But when they get a bit older, they want to go back in time a bit and alot want to still live the fun of "Santa".
 
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sweetpumkinpye

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Rabble, let us know how it all works out.
 
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