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#AskAlyson: Dad, are you Santa?

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My kids are asking me if I am Santa Claus… Answer please!!??


It’s inevitable that kids will eventually grow old enough and wise enough to challenge the concept of the tooth fairy and Santa Claus.


While the age varies, it does seem that after 5 years old, suspicion is on the rise, and most 8 year olds are critical thinkers and can conclude that circumnavigates the planet and visiting every house via a chimney seems unrealistic.


I was young when I discovered there was no Santa because I had 3 older siblings who needed new ways to bug me. Ruining the story of Christmas was a great way. “Its really just mom and dad putting the presents under the tree. Haven’t you noticed the wrapping paper is the same? That is mom’s hand writing on the tag.”


Some older siblings feel a sense of maturity in knowing the truth and being on the “adult side” of the myth. They feel proud in keeping the secret from younger children, knowing how special it is for them. So if you have some non-believers, win their co-operation in helping keep the magic alive for the others.   They appreciate you trusting them to be the keeper of adult secrets. Shhhhh…   There will be some peer pressure as no one wants to be perceived as a baby, as in “only babies believe in Santa Claus”

Most kids feign believing in Santa for a year or two. It’s a fun fantasy to keep alive, and heck you might just keep getting those extra Santa gifts too! Why tip your cards early?


Some children will react to finding out by saying “ I knew it! I knew it!” and they merrily go about their lives.   Other kids seem deeply hurt that their parents have duped them and they are embarrassed that they were fooled in this way.


How will you know how strong your child’s reaction will be? You can’t. Children decide for themselves what to make of their life situations. I can tell you that a child is more likely to feel betrayed and duped if you go to enormous efforts in your Santa games.   Do you leave a glove in the living room showing he was there? Do you make tracks in the snow outside the house? Do you rent a costume and mount a motion activated camera that takes night photos so you can show your kids a picture of Santa under the tree? People really do stuff like this.


If you go hog wild in PROVING his existence – you likely have some bigger explaining to do.   Try to keep it light and simple: a bite out of a cookie and sip of milk gone from the offerings left out by the kids. When your kids ask, you can simply say “I still believe in Santa and the miracle of Christmas, I don’t know about you.”


I told my kids in a way in which I never lied: Christmas is a miracle. Just think how it feels inside, and how people come together in love and generosity at this time of year. That’s the miracle. Santa represents that to me.


So if you kids ask “Are you Santa?” Why not just answer “NOPE”.


santa by age

About Alyson

Alyson has been blogging parenting advice for over 15 years. She has been a panelist at BlogWest, Blissdom, #140NYC and more. Her content appears on sites across Canada and the US, but you can read all her own blog posts right here.

More about Alyson

3 Responses to “#AskAlyson: Dad, are you Santa?”

  1. L Taylor

    I could not bring myself to simply deny that I’m Santa if a child asked me a direct question. The reply about Christmas being a miracle works better for me, though we handled it slightly differently. We talked instead about helpers (especially if they see multiple Santas in one day at various stores etc). Without taking away the magic of Santa, we admit that even Santa needs some help and sometimes we, the parents, provide that help, such as when we helped Santa do a Scholastic book order to get the books on our child’s wish list. This allows for both magic and pragmatism. We have a 9 and a 4 year old and the 9 year old has figured it out and now delights in being Santa’s helper herself to preserve the magic for her sister. The 4 year old gladly accepts Santa and helpers (and the Easter Bunny and leprechauns etc etc).

  2. Amanda

    Thank you!!!! I felt awful when I found out, because my Mom told me that she’d heard the reindeer on the roof when she was little (likely to get me to go to bed) and I couldn’t fathom that she would lie like that to me – I could see why she told the Santa story, but the over and above story really hurt. With my little guy I won’t do any of that – no elf on the shelf, pictures in our living room, footprints outside etc etc. We pick our Santa visit (there’s soooo many times and places you can see Santa now that even before he was 4 he was asking how there were so many!) and that’s it. I love the magic, but hate the lies!!! It’s a hard line to walk, especially with so many ‘extras’ out there.

  3. Scooter

    I remember gramma always telling us that she still believed up to the end. Daddy told us when we were in 3rd and 1st grade. We were devastated. No matter what, we still all had fun with our Santa sacs at Roxbourgh. ❤


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