Dealing With the Santa Claus Reveal

For those of you who allow your kids to believe in Santa Claus (or believed in Santa Claus when you were a kid) what did you do as your kids out grew Santa Claus?

My 10 year olds really like Santa, especially my daughter. But they are starting to run into a lot of skeptical looks from their peers, so I know I am going to have to intervene here soon. I have some ideas, but wondered if anyone has had a good experience with this that they wouldn’t mind sharing.

I really hate to dissapoint them. There is something innocent and sweet about believing in a fat jolly fellow who brings you presents and knows if your naughty or nice. How long before they are cynical old coots. Agony, agony.

I don’t have kids but I’m not sure I would worry too much. I had older cousins that pretty much let it slip and I kind of absorbed that information on my own terms. I turned out okay; I’m only a cynical old coot when I browse through P&R. :)

I don’t have kids but in your position I’d tell them that they’re getting old enough that they should know better than to believe in such obvious horseshit, but if they really must they can still believe in God and that’s socially acceptable.

Yeah, I had older brothers and that’s pretty much what happened with me.

Older brothers: “Mom and Dad are Santa.”
Me: “Whaa? huh. Okay. So much for this letter.”

What’s the point of Santa Claus? I was tempted to add a ‘these days’ clause at the end of that sentence, but when I think about it, was he really ever a useful fiction? I don’t mind this to be dickish internet trolling or even devil’s advocacy – I just don’t see the gain in allowing one’s children to take this bizarre idea that a fat dude from the North Pole watches them constantly then breaks into our homes each year to leave them stuff. Is it really that cute to pretend to hear him walking on the roof? I must point out that I appear to have made a lifelong practice of skepticism, I can’t recall ever actually believing in jolly old St. Nick, so this may just be one more thing I have to chalk up in the ‘I’ll never understand it’ ledger.

Do they have younger siblings or cousins? In my experience with the older set of nanny kids, the transition is a lot smoother if it turns into a special secret you keep from the younger kids rather than “I have to tell you something, sweetie. Santa’s not real.”

The older ones can help stuff stockings, sneak out to take the bite out of cookies left for Santa, etc. Then it’s more of a special big kid/grownup thing you share rather than a super shitty revelation that someone awesome doesn’t exist.

Let me be the first to say:

Whadya mean outgrew Santa?

Seems I just kinda figured it out and it never came up. Mom kept getting me Santa gifts and it just stayed a tradition. I will wait until they approach me and tell them something about the meaning and spirit of Chritmas. WHile he may not visit each and every house, the feelings of fun and surprise you get by giving and receiving gifts it what he means to me and why we give gifts from Santa.

The point is that it is fun. Just like the Easter Bunny or any other Holiday traditions. It turns something relatively routine into something special and when you are a kid, magical.

EDIT: Let me also add my own cliche, they grow up and the magic and wonder of life gets sucked out earlier and earlier it seems as the world gets more complicated. One cool thing like Santa is kinda nice and innocent to keep around as long as you can.

Reflecting on this some more, perhaps you could mod Bioshock and have Andrew Ryan scream “A man chooses, but Timmy, Santa is not real and your parents have been purchasing all your Christmas gifts.”

Seriously, perhaps figuring this out on one’s own terms is one of those important steps to growing up, and that it’s everything else that turns kids into cynics. :)

I would never let them down so hard, CCZ, but I did have to explain the difference between religion and Santa. In my daughter’s class, all the little Jewish kids are calling Santa dumb, so she told me she thinks hanukkah is dumb. I was like, hold on there honey…

Heh. When I was little I thought Noah was responsible for the demise of dinosaurs. If only he could have gotten TWO tyrannosauruses onto the ark.

Are you sure they still believe in Santa and aren’t just keeping quiet to ensure the flow of loot isn’t interrupted? Most kids figure out the Santa thing long before the age of ten, don’t they?

“I’ll believe anything you want, just keep giving me these eggs.” - Eddie Izzard on Easter

I’m with you. I love all the little childhood traditions like Santa, Easter Bunny, and Tooth fairy. I even weep when I watch Miricale on 34th Street or any of the old Santa movies. But they’re starting to ask really pointed questions, so it’s become an issue. Interestingly they don’t seem too concerned with the Easter Bunny. But Santa and the Tooth fairy are highly suspect.

Of my 3 boys, my 10-year-old knows about the situation, I’m sure my 8-year-old knows the score, but the 5-year-old is blissfully innocent and I mean to keep it that way.

So, whenever I hear skeptical talk from the older ones, I let them know that Santa sure won’t bring anything to kids that say they don’t believe in him. Our gentleman’s agreement has maintained the peace for the last few years.

Also, I let the “Santa” gifts be small, less-expensive things or things to be shared by all the boys. Perhaps I’m diminishing the magic of the moment, but dammit, dad should get credit for giving them the good stuff.

Maybe just ask them what they think and then work from there. THis may be a ‘seat of your pants’ parenting moment.

Oh, no. They totally believe. My dauther does, for sure. My son? He’s more of a come-along-to-get-along kind of kid, but I bet deep down he believes.

You need to let them find out for themselves with a little help from you.

Hide some gifts in the most half-assed fashion possible…like, I don’t know, a Lego box loosely wrapped in a beach towel on the kitchen table. Then on Christmas morning make a huge production about “How wink Santa knew wink you were getting wink these Legos”

That way the spirit of selflessly buying cool stuff for people you care for stays in tact, just with a more down to earth avatar.

edit: If your children finds all of the gifts no matter how hard you hide them, this can be seen as excellent future jewel thief training and is an acceptable trade off for dashing thier dreams for your dreams to retire fabulously wealthy while teh kids travel the globe stealing from the rich and giving to the parents.

I figured it out when I was 5 or 6 because Santa had my mom’s handwriting. It’s probably best to let them put the pieces together on their own. A big “HAHA IT WAS ALL A LIE!” reveal seems like a risky and possibly damaging proposition.

I’m with Tyjenks (and others). My parents never had a big discussion about it, I just eventually figured it out. I don’t see any reason to treat it as a “birds and the bees” type of discussion that you have to have with them. If they ask the question, be honest once they are old enough to handle the truth. I don’t know anyone who was scarred by how and when they learned that stuff wasn’t real.

This is strange, not only can I not remember finding out the truth, I don’t actually remember ever believing in Santa. :S

My wife spoiled it for the kids when they were very little, because she considers it a form of lying. I’m still mad at her.

What do you mean he’s not real? ><