• Fri, Dec 20 - 8:00 am ET

It’s Not My Responsibility To Protect Your Kids From The Truth About Santa

shutterstock_167767673In our house, we basically try to treat Santa like Diego and Baby Jaguar – my kids know they are characters and they aren’t real, but they don’t love them any less. But when he asks specifically, I always tell my 4-year-old that Santa is not a real person. As you can imagine this gets the serious stink eye from other parents, but I think it’s absurd. It’s not my responsibility to protect your kids from the truth about Santa.

Another one of my friends was openly debating this very point on Facebook and her question elicited this response from one of her friends:

“If you decide not to run with the whole Santa game, make sure she understands how important it is that she not spoil the fun for the other children. Everyone remembers “that” kid that ruined Christmas for them, and not fondly.”

I really hate the argument that I shouldn’t tell my kids the truth about Santa because your kids might get upset. First of all, I don’t know why there’s an idea that a three or four year old is going to run around shouting “Santa’s a fake!” The kids who tattle are old enough to know the truth but really old enough to want to rub it in that they know something your child doesn’t. It certainly doesn’t happen at age three or four.

But even if my kid was a snot nose snitch, that’s not a reason for me to alter my parenting beliefs. If you feel strongly that Santa or Elf on the Shelf is vital to the magic of Christmas, you can be sure I feel strongly about my own parenting point of view. I’m certainly not considering having a conversation about what’s real and what’s pretend just because I’m bored on a Tuesday night.  It’s not my job to consider what my kid will be saying about Santa in school.  After all, my kid now knows the word “f*ck” from yours.

Also, diversity is really important to me as a parent, which is why we are trying very hard to raise our kids in New York City. That means my kids already know people who don’t believe in Santa, all of them are different religions and cultures. With or without Santa, it’s important to teach our children that different people believe different things. It doesn’t make their beliefs wrong or ours right — they are just different.

But really — this argument just reeks of lazy parenting. If your kid comes home and says “little Jimmy says Santa’s not real” it’s your job as a parent to handle it. Based on their age, maybe you tell them the truth or you tell them little Jimmy’s an a-hole, or maybe you explain that in your house “we believe in Santa.” I don’t really care how you handle the idea of Santa in your house and I’d prefer you stop trying to guilt me into changing my mind so you don’t have to have your own hard conversations.

(photo: Sirozha/Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Carinn Jade, on twitter.
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  • LiteBrite

    “But really — this argument just reeks of lazy parenting. If your kid
    comes home and says “little Jimmy says Santa’s not real” it’s your job
    as a parent to handle it”

    A friend of mine handled the “So-and-so says Santa isn’t real” situation this way: she asked her kids if THEY thought he was real. Not only did it get it off the hook in having to tell the truth (or tell a lie) but it made her kids do their own thinking and come to their own conclusions.

    I just did this same thing with my son. His buddy at school doesn’t believe in Santa. “G said Santa isn’t real. Is that true?” the boy asked. “Do YOU think he’s real?” I asked back. He said he did. Well, okay then.

    • Carinn Jade

      I love that approach. You know what’s really funny – my 4yo is turning this all around on me — he’s asking me questions, I’m telling him “the truth” and you know what? He’s still choosing to believe Santa is real. I say okay then too.

    • http://www.ambiencechaser.com/ Elizabeth Licata

      I remember just assuming that my mom had no effing idea if Santa was real or not. All the Santa movies involve skeptical adults, so I just sort of figured that if Santa were real my mom wouldn’t know because she was a dumb old adult, and dumb old adults never believe in Santa.

    • ChopChick

      Amazing.

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ FaintlyXMacabre

      Excellent point.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      I have fond memories of my late mother telling me as a teenager that if I didn’t believe in Santa, that was too bad because she did. In her honour, I refuse to acknowledge there are no such things as unicorns.

    • Janok Place

      That’s what it’s all about, your mom sounds like an awesome lady :)

    • EX

      That’s a good tactic. Will have to file that one away for future use.

  • Andrea

    No matter how I try to post this I end up looking like a bitch. Well whatever, bring on the down votes:
    I think it’s an asshole thing to do not to tell you kid that some people DO believe and to respect those beliefs and to please not say anything. There I said it. But no, it’s not your responsibility.

    • Véronique Houde

      I’d actually never thought of comparing believing in santa to believing in jesus until I read the blog (good job Carinn!). I guess it really comes down to this: if your child doesn’t believe in Jesus, do you feel it necessary to tell them that some people do and not to “spoil it for them?” No. When you believe in Jesus and raise your kids to believe in him, as a parent, you deal with it. So in that sense, I disagree with you.

    • Andrea

      When my kid was attending a church sponsored preschool, one kid came up to him and told him: “My mom says Jesus isn’t real”. My kid was only 3 years old and it made him cry. While I don’t want to compare Jesus with Santa, there is a difference between saying “You [belief] isn’t real” and “I don’t believe in [belief]”
      Not it’s not your responsibility to teach your kid to believe in something just so he doesn’t “ruin” it for someone else. At the same time, teaching your kid to respect what other people believe in is basic decency.

    • Véronique Houde

      For most kids though, saying something like this isn’t considered to them being indecent, it’s considered being honest (and kids don’t really have a filter, do they?). You can’t control everything your kid says until he actually says it, and if you have to go through your child’s day like a checklist and make sure he knows what to and what not to say, that’s overkill. Kids will comment on someone being fat or being black, will say that they believe in santa or not, and will ask why so and so has crooked eyes. And when that happens, you can explain to them why making those comments can be seen as rude. But no, I won’t be having the “speech” with my child.

      I don’t think I’m going to “make” my child believe in Santa, although hey, she’s only a year old so I have time to think about it. I don’t think I ever really believed that santa was real, but I enjoyed the santa story and it didn’t take away from the magic. But I remember appreciating my gifts even more because I knew that they were from my parents and I felt like my parents understood me and what I liked.

      TBH, last year, we bought Christmas presents for my niece and nephew that live in France and sent them home with their grandparents who had come to spend the holidays with us. I was looking forward to seeing their reactions and having them tell me how they liked them because I love pleasing them. I was sort of disappointed when their parents told them they were gifts from santa that got lost in the mail!

      Anyway, long story short, having a kid tell your kid that santa doesn’t exist won’t “ruin” christmas for your child if you know how to deal with the situation. I don’t hear Christians give America shit for “ruining” jesus for their children. Why do I have to hear it from parents about Santa?

    • Andrea

      You don’t. It’s well established in this article that parents should be able to do whatever the fuck they want and fuck anyone that doesn’t like it.
      Carinn wants to parent however she wants and that is her right. I reserve the right to not like it.

    • http://www.ambiencechaser.com/ Elizabeth Licata

      If another child came up to mine and started talking about how Jesus saves people from Hell, I would not like that at all. But I would deal with it at home and explain the situation to my child. I fully expect that to actually happen one day. It will be annoying, but I will deal with it. This stuff happens. I cannot reasonably expect other people to raise their children the way I raise mine or teach them what I teach mine, so my child is definitely going to encounter people who believe and say different things. That’s just a thing that I as a parent have to be prepared for.

    • brebay

      I think it’s fine for a kid to say God isn’t real. Saying “I don’t believe in God” implies that there’s one to believe in. I would go with Carinn’s suggestion of “Little Jimmy’s an a-hole” if my kids still believed in Santa, but there’s nothing wrong with saying something doesn’t exist, it’s not mean or rude, people disagree. It doesn’t exist versus yes it does; neither is an insult.

    • Andrea

      Well I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. I don’t think it’s ok to say God isn’t real. Specially to a 3 year old.

    • EX

      I’m with you on this, although I think it’s just as important to teach kids who do believe not to tell other kids that they’re going to hell if they don’t.

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ FaintlyXMacabre

      This reminds me of how my five year old told some kids on the playground that Jesus wasn’t real and they told her that she was going to hell. Talk about ahole parents, amirite?

    • noelle 02

      Those parents have clearly failed to teach their children about manners, grace, and compassion, that is clear.

    • brebay

      My kids went to elementary school in rural Nebraska….they were “evangelized” on the way home from school countless times, came home with bibles with free ice cream cone coupons taped on, told they were going to hell…girl…I could tell you stories!

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ FaintlyXMacabre

      That’s such a fun fire to put out! But explain hell to a child who’s never heard of it and you can pretty much guarantee they’ll never convert.

    • Tinyfaeri

      It does sound like they missed the whole “judge not lest ye be judged” bit, doesn’t it? I never really understood how anyone could think it was OK to tell anyone else they were going to hell. It’s kind of the religious no-no equivalent of it being rude to tell someone they’re being rude.

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ FaintlyXMacabre

      I wasn’t pleased that she spilled the beans. But the context is; we had just gotten married, she was the FG. Super excited, told all her friends, some older kid started going on about how Jesus would disapprove of her being a little bastard (not sure what they actually said here) so she blurted it out.

    • Tinyfaeri

      What with the who told her what?? That’s awful.

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ FaintlyXMacabre

      I have to assume they were older because what little kid thinks/cares about that? The teacher told me I should encourage her to not talk about the wedding. I was like, how about you encourage other kids not to be little shitmongers?

    • Tinyfaeri

      Yeah, I’m in the “don’t be shitmongers camp” – the teacher was an idiot.

    • EX

      That’s messed up that the teacher said that.

    • http://www.ambiencechaser.com/ Elizabeth Licata

      That is appalling! How does “Little girl, don’t talk about the wedding you’re going to be in!” ever trump “Don’t call little girls bastards” as the lesson of the day?

    • Véronique Houde

      Haha this is something I take HUGE issue with – I used to be intense with my religious beliefs and converted one of my high school friends… 15 years later, I no longer believe in all of it anymore and he does. He truly believes that telling people that they will go to hell if they don’t accept Jesus into their hearts means that he cares about them and wants them to find the “right” path. No matter how I explain how disrespectful his POV is, he just doesn’t see it. All that to say is that, for highly religious people who believe that their religion is the ONLY path to heaven, saying what they say is coming from love and you can’t do a damn thing to change that. Your kids will meet people like this in their daily lives, and you can’t control what they hear. You can only discuss it and encourage them to stay open-minded and non-judgemental…

    • Tinyfaeri

      Right, assholes abound in all walks of life, religious or no. I’m still always dismayed to see it happen so young.

    • Bethany Ramos

      You and I sound very similar. PS. Glad to see you back on here more!!

    • Véronique Houde

      Awww thanks! I was reading, I was just so tired from my first trimester that I could barely form a cohesive thought!! We ARE super similar though! I agree!!

    • Bethany Ramos

      I feel that – first tri is the WORST. And congrats! :)

    • Véronique Houde

      Thanks! It’s over thank god!

    • Véronique Houde

      What exactly is the problem with kids crying once in a while? Yeah, it means they’re sad, but does that mean that they’ll be sad about it forever? Does your child, these days, remember crying when his 3 year old friend told him that Jesus didn’t exist? Probably not… And if so, I get the sense that it’s more because it wasn’t dealt with in an appropriate way, not that it’s because it scarred him for life. That’s why I’m not worried about creating negative feelings for a kid. With some compassion and empathy, there is a way to help your kid figure things out for him or herself where he or she will come out of the situation not only just fine, but even better.

    • EX

      Agreed. I think there is a way to teach kids to be respectful of others beliefs. If you’re going to raise your kids atheist, for example, I would hope you would teach them not to run around saying “god isn’t real.” Of course, there’s only so much you can do and it’s not your fault if your kid “ruins christmas” for another kid, but you can at least make an effort to teach them to respect other people’s beliefs and not to get into debates about the existence of Santa Claus, or god… At least until they’re in a college philosophy/theology class.

    • brebay

      But it’s okay for religious kids to run around saying “god is real?” Because I never hear devout people say “I believe god is real,” they say simply “god is real.” What is the difference there exactly? If your’e a christian, god IS real, he just IS. If you’re an atheist, god ISN’T real, he just ISN’T. Why should one get to express it as a statement, and the other not?

    • EX

      So, to clarify, I am an atheist. I was originally going to say that I would hope MY kids don’t run around saying “god isn’t real” but then changed it because I haven’t actually figured out what I’m going to say to my kids on the subject. So if you got the impression that I am a devout Christian or whatever, that would be inaccurate. If I was raising my children with a religion I would be just as adamant about teaching them not to run around proselytizing or telling kids they’re going to hell if they don’t believe in god. My point was simply that I DO think it’s our responsibility to teach our kids to be respectful of others’ beliefs (or their choice not to believe) and to teach them that this is a sensitive subject (as evidenced by the responses here).

    • brebay

      Yeah, I agree with that. I do teach my kids to be respectful, but I guess I just think that can be done without so much accommodation. I think a statement of fact is not rude, from either side. I think people generally more expect the minority to accommodate the majority, and so it’s okay for a christian child to say “god is real” but an atheist kid has to say “I don’t believe so.” Does that make sense? I don’t think I’m expressing it that well. Anyway, yes, this is always a heated topic, but that’s not a bad thing. I personally long for the days when religion was a private matter, and kids talked about other things, but I guess they’re not coming back around!

    • EX

      I think we are probably closer in agreement on this than it may at first appear. And, you’re right, just because I would want devout kids to say “I believe in god” rather than “god is real” doesn’t mean it happens that way.

      PS Do you ever think to yourself that Congress should read through the comments section of a mommyish article to see how sane people can have a discussion or even (shocker) a disagreement in a civil tone? They could learn something from us!

    • brebay

      Oh so true! Sadly, I think the majority of Americans love a good fight or a good war, logic and civil discourse are boring and don’t win elections. I really do think at least half the congressmen are playing characters to win reelection, they can’t seriously all be that nutty in real life…if they are…I don’t even want to know.

    • EX

      See, me, I love a good discussion or debate. It’s like a Red Bull. Totally energizing. But it does seem rare these days and discussions or debates usually quickly dissolve into name calling and nastiness. Mommyish is the only place on the internet I ever comment because it’s the only place I’ve found where people are (generally) nice to each other even when they disagree.

      PS I don’t actually drink Red Bull.
      PPS I guess I am not counting the comments sections of Rebecca Eckler’s articles.

    • brebay

      Ha! Yeah, I migrated over here from CafeMom, where any dissent was met with “BITCH!!!!!” I can’t figure out if Eckler is really that clueless or just a marketing genius.

    • Carinn Jade

      By the way, I would agree with you. To tell you the truth, I never even told my kid what to believe or not. When he asks me if Santa is real, I say no. It’s up to him to decide what to do with that.
      And I always always teach him to be respectful (in fact that was a whole paragraph in the OP). However I don’t appreciate the idea that he needs to be “extra” respectful to not ruin another kid’s belief in a made-up character.

    • chickadee

      See, the sanctaSantamommies ruin things for normal parents….who posts lectures about Santa to other parents on social media platforms anyway? A-holes, that’s who.

    • Andrea

      I’m not even sure exactly what you are saying or how to respond to that.

    • chickadee

      I was referring to fb posts where people start lecturing others about parenting techniques….

    • Tinyfaeri

      I’m inclined to agree. It’s not a hard and fast rule, nor do I expect everyone to do it, but it’s nice to teach your child to be mindful and respectful of others’ beliefs.

    • Jyss

      I agree with you to a large extent. As a Jewish kid, we never believed in Santa (or Jesus), but we were also told from a very young age that OTHER people believe in Santa and it’s not our job to tell them differently, just like we wouldn’t want other people telling us that our beliefs weren’t right.
      But I do agree it’s not technically your responsibility to keep other people’s kids believing in Santa. It’s a strange debate, because I figure if you’re teaching your kid tolerance and that everyone can believe whatever they want, then both sides wouldn’t have this problem.

  • chickadee

    I can see asking your kid to respect others’ beliefs and just not tell other kids that they are wrong. It’s the same sort of attitude that I appreciate from devout religious people who tell their children not to tell others that their god or religion is wrong. I live in the south, and proselytizing by wee ones is not as unusual as you would hope it would be.

    Obviously Santa doesn’t have a religion around him (not officially, anyway), but I did tell mine when they found out that Santa wasn’t real that it is nice to avoid spoiling it for other children. To insist that other parents protect your child is, as you say, lazy parenting.

  • jane

    It’s not your job to “protect” other people’s beliefs, but it is your job to teach your children to indulge in small kindnesses. It’s a small kindness to not spoil other people’s fun; hopefully you’d teach them not to spill the beans about a surprise party, or blurt out the punch line of a joke, or give away the ending to a movie. Of course they don’t fully understand these things at age 3 or 4, but it doesn’t hurt to start reinforcing those things now.

    You don’t have to believe in Santa; I’m Jewish and never had Santa either. But I also was never put out by keeping that to myself. I’m happy to explain to my children (who are being raised Jewish but with one Catholic parent, and who do believe) that different people believe different things and that’s ok. But there are other lessons to be learned here besides the Santa one: secret-keeping, respecting other beliefs, playing along for the fun of it, indulging the joys of others.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    I grew up in a pretty diverse area, yet it was my similarly WASP-y but slightly older than me friend who broke the news to me. *shrug*

    • http://www.ambiencechaser.com/ Elizabeth Licata

      Yeah, I’m confused by the comment that “we all remember ‘that’ kid who ruined Christmas.” Not only does it seem weirdly peer-pressurey (“that” kid), I just have no idea who I learned about Santa from. It was probably an older kid or a cool cousin or something.

      My husband has no idea who initially told him that Santa wasn’t real, but he has this weirdly deep, visceral feeling of betrayal from when his mom admitted that Santa was not real. He’s 35 and he still seems to mark it as just this gutting moment when he learned that his mother would wilfully lie to him for years. So, basically, it looks like we won’t be doing the Santa thing. I was all set for it, because I like pretending magic is real and remember it being fun. But I don’t feel very strongly about it and my husband appears to have Santa PTSD, so we are probably going to go with the “Santa is one of the fun stories about Christmas” thing.

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ FaintlyXMacabre

      lol @ Santa PTSD

    • bigger than the sound

      Now I’m worried about my own kids getting Santa PTSD, just great!

    • http://www.ambiencechaser.com/ Elizabeth Licata

      Oh no! I think you’re OK. My parents did Santa and I have no Santa PTSD at all. I don’t think that happens to most people. (My husband is a bit tightly-wound to start with, and he takes everything *really* seriously.)

    • EX

      I know, like we need another thing to worry about. For the record I believed in Santa (and several other magical, mystical things because my parents had a non-American background) but despite the fact that none of it really made any sense I believed it all and it was never “spoiled” for me. I just kind of grew up and figured it out. No Santa PTSD here.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      Interesting that he had that reaction. I remember when I found out…I didn’t feel betrayed at all, just happy that my parents wanted to do this magical thing for me…it made me feel special. When we talked about whether or not to do it with our kid, that was one of the things that convinced us – that neither of us felt betrayed or lied to when we found out.

  • TngldBlue

    You seem conflicting with your statements here. The beginning of this is all about how it’s not your job to consider what your kid might or might not say in school about Santa but then you go on to state how much you value diversity and teaching children that people believe in different things. Part of teaching children about differences is also teaching them how to be kind and considerate of those differences. It IS considering what they might or might not say to those that believe differently. Not having those conversations with your kids is no less lazy than the parents that blame you when something is said to their child that upset them rather than dealing with it as a parent should.

    • Carinn Jade

      It’s not conflicting. By telling my kid Santa isn’t real, I am not automatically teaching him to be a jerk – which is what I think most Santa parents assume. What I resent is the idea that I need to be “extra” careful to remind him about Santa, as opposed to just teaching him to be aware of and respectful of differences.

    • TngldBlue

      Fair enough. I don’t see any reason for some long lecture about Santa but it felt like you didn’t see the need for any conversation with them at all cause screw you Santa believing people!

  • iamtheshoshie

    I’m Jewish, and so knew from a pretty young age that Santa wasn’t real. This wasn’t a problem until a got in a fight with a friend at age 5 or 6, and my little kid logic told me that informing said friend that Santa wasn’t real would be a great way of hurting her. She got upset, so did her parents, and I got in trouble. Though I’m pretty sure my parents were amused.

  • bigger than the sound

    I wish another kid would break the bad news to my kids. It’s annoying that someone else gets all the credit for the amazing gifts I lovingly picked out on Amazon. Plus, my affectionate three year old tried to kiss “Santa” on the mouth this year because she doesn’t realize he is essintially a strange man in a costume and not the guy who comes into her house when she is sleeping and leaves gifts. I suppose both ways sound creepy.

    • brebay

      My mom gave “Santa presents” and “mom presents.” The really good ones were always from her, all the filler crap was from Santa.

    • http://www.ambiencechaser.com/ Elizabeth Licata

      Hahahaha. That is amazing.

  • ted3553

    I will absolutely run with the Santa Claus thing until my son is old enough to be told the truth. I am ok with people who don’t go with it. I figure if this comes up with him, I’ll explain it the way i will about religion. Some people believe one thing, we believe something else and it’s ok for people to believe different things.

  • Janok Place

    I agree that it isn’t your “job”. However I do think that it would be considerate to set aside ten minutes and explain to your kids that, even though you don’t believe in Santa Claus it would be kind of them to allow other children those beliefs. It really is magical for some parents to partake in this story of Santa. It is something we look forward to, and cherish. It would be nice if those who did not choose to partake would take a moment and consider how easy it would be to allow us to do so.

    • Lbdmom

      Agree 100%. No child needs a lecture about “ruining” some other child’s Christmas, but a simple, “some children believe in Santa and it might hurt their feelings if you told them he wasn’t real” would work.

    • Janok Place

      Exactly. It’s not like she HAS to, it’s not her “problem”. I suppose maybe I’m old fashioned, and I figure if I can do something mildly inconvenient to assist a stranger in something which may be hugely valuable in their lives I will. I appreciate that there are more “progressive” folk out there who don’t trouble themselves with the woes and worries of others. Modern society being what it is.

    • pineapplegrasss

      Hugely valuable? Santa is not a societal concern. So does this go for all fake figures? Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Boogie-man, Mickey Mouse, Zombies?
      And what if your children are hugely hurt and disappointed that you LIED to them for so many years. And especially an older child? How embarrassing to be the kid that still believes in Santa and all the other kids are not telling you bc their mom said it would hurt your feelings. “Oh btw Jimmy make sure you don’t tell Tommy that Santa isn’t real bc his mother is magical and we don’t want to inconvenience her.”

    • Janok Place

      Wow, you could always remove “Grinch” from the list of fake figures. You totally just brought him to life. Relax, have some eggnog. We’re talking about preschool kids and Santa.

    • pineapplegrasss

      Then why make it a huge societal issue? That’s right it’s just Santa. I don’t like eggnog either.

    • Carinn Jade

      I hate egg nog. I want it banned.

    • Janok Place

      I never claimed Santa was a societal issue. You did. Clearly you’ve got some deep seated Santa issues, I’m sorry that something obviously went so wrong. I’m sure no one ever meant to harm you with their Santa “lies”, I’m very sorry they did. Have a merry Christmas anyways, I’m sure you can find something to be positive about this season.

    • pineapplegrasss

      Oh. Then I must have misunderstood your tone when you spoke of all the progressive folk in modern society who don’t trouble their selves with the santawoes of others. My apologies.

    • Janok Place

      Wasn’t specifying Santa, society as a whole takes little time to inconvenience themselves for the sake of others. Their issue is being self absorbed and they clearly know better then those around them. Example, you seem to just know exactly how valuable watching my children experience the magic of Christmas is to me. You don’t know me, you don’t know why that might be so important to me. You just assume you know better. Like I said, I’m perfectly well aware of the fact that you have no obligation to help me let my kids believe in a little magic before it’s too late. I’m going to assume you are also a mom, and you also have your plate full. So how about you tell your kids Santa’s not real, and I can be the terrible parent who blatantly lies to her children… and you can judge *quietly* in your corner. Cheers.

    • pineapplegrasss

      I thought you said we were talking about Santa. I could turn what you said right back around, but honestly don’t want to get into an true argument with anyone. I just think its completely silly. All of it. Especially the part about expecting other mothers to help in facilitating another’s fantasies. It’s Santa. A fictional character. We’re not talking about world peace or hunger. And its obviously more important to certain people for their children to believe for their own reasons. And, I wouldn’t take that away from anybody. And I don’t believe that I said I would, or said that I encourage my children to do so either, but, I also honestly wouldn’t go out of my way to have my own children ‘play along’ in such an elaborate charade. And, maybe that is because I don’t see any true benefits of doing so. Right or wrong, that’s how I see it. What you responded earlier was truly ruder than what I originally said. You can try to shame me for disagreeing, but it doesn’t work. Anyways, I’m sure you’re a nice lady and a nice mommy and do want a magical Christmas for your kids. So… I hope our kids don’t go to school together LOL.

    • Janok Place

      I do believe I specifically said it was *not* the responsibility of other mothers. In fact, I’m really sure I said it several times. You seem to read things the way you would like them to be, for the sake of getting an interesting argument. And yes, you questioned the fact that experiencing Santa with one’s children would be “Hugely Valuable”. I’m not trying to shame you for disagreeing… Obviously we both agree that it’s *not* the responsibility of other parents. Where we disagree, is that I appreciate it when a non-participating mother chooses to encourage her children to play along for the sake of believing children like mine. You clearly think that’s ridiculous, we’re all LIARS and Santa has little value in anyone’s life because you think it’s silly and no one is allowed to value anything except world hunger or peace.

  • Kay_Sue

    I think we’d approach it with, “If you believe in him, he’s real. But not everyone does, and that’s okay too.”

    I was a shithead kid that spoiled it for someone in third grade. Yeah, we were nine, and yeah, I did not mean to (it wasn’t in anger, it wasn’t to be nasty, I had just found out and had a “dayum, did you know?” moment), but I still kinda feel bad when I think about how heartbroken my friend was. These things are going to happen, and if you’re going to do Santa, you’ve got to have a way to deal with it without foisting that off on parents that choose not to participate in the game/tradition.

    • Paul White

      At 9 I would be surprised if they *didn’t* know….I think I knew at 6 or so??

    • Kay_Sue

      Apparently, she lived a very sheltered life. I still kinda believed at nine–in that, I had never confirmed my suspicions until that holiday season–but I had those suspicions much earlier.

      I mean, who was Santa to tell me I was naughty when he was swearing so much putting together my Barbie dream boat? Not to mention, he swore in a voice suspiciously like my father’s. That was when I was six. I think after that it was kind of hedging my bets until I was sure, lol.

  • guest

    Why does EVERYTHING have to turn into a freaking debate or controversy. It’s getting a bit much on this site that regardless if people have differing opinions, or use examples of something, people immediately start a huge debate and it becomes just down right nasty and rude. On another note – is it really that big of a deal if someone learns santa isn’t real, are they going to die? No. Every little thing these days is just so measured as to how kids will react. They are much more resilient and will get over it. “Mommy is santa real?” “No” cue crying, two minutes later “i have to poop”.

    • brebay

      A debate is not a fight. People enjoy expressing their opinions, and when multiple, differing opinions are presented, it helps people clarify their position, change their opinion, see things from another perspective, learn something, or teach something. Many people enjoy engaging in a discussion of differing views. This site is far and away more civil than most, if you don’t enjoy it, that’s cool too. What would the comments be if not a debate? Just an endless stream of sycophantic praise? Like most facebook posts? I don’t remember when the word “argument” got morphed with the word “fight,” but I think we all lost a little something intellectually when that happened. An argument is simply a set of premises with a conclusion, not a value judgment. People are different, many of us enjoy engaging in discussions about those differences. It’s not a fight, and it’s not bad.

    • pineapplegrasss

      I agree. I come to this site for the debate in the comments. Its interesting, stimulating and fun. Many times I just read and don’t even need to comment bc its all already being said lol

    • Véronique Houde

      I’d never even thought about the Santa issue before reading about it here, and with the comments, I was actually able to define what I would do about it and why! I LOVE debates here because the crazies are rare and are therefore entertaining, while the rest of us can actually talk about tough stuff without having to go on Jerry Springer!! :)

  • kay

    I remember who told me Santa wasn’t real, and I have no bad feelings about it-I remember being very determined to find proof he WAS real to show her she was wrong. Which is what most little kids will do. “I am going to stay up and take a picture to prove you wrong!”
    One kid saying something isn’t going to ruin it unless your kid was already doubting. And if they’re doubting the jig will be up soon enough anyways

  • weedee

    I figured out at a very young age that Santa wasn’t real (“It’s not logical” I said to my mother). My brother, who is 4 years older than me, still believed. It didn’t take more than a minute for them to tell me not to talk about it and that he still believed. I understand not wanting to do the Santa charade, but I don’t think it takes much effort to tell your kids to keep it to themselves, knowing that it is something that will be brought up a lot among kids during the holidays. There’s a valuable lesson in teaching children what sorts of privelaged information is best kept to themselves (and not just as it relates to Santa…I’m sure you wouldn’t want them blabbing about a fight between family members or something embarassing like Grandma getting sloshed at a family reunioin). Kids have no filters sometimes, and it can hurt people’s feelings if they say everything that comes to mind.

  • Sri

    My friend is a Pre-k teacher, and she had a classroom full of crying kids to dispute your claim that “It certainly doesn’t happen at age three or four.” On Monday, one kid was told on his way to school by his older brother, mom didn’t have time for the “don’t be a jerk” talk, and he got into the classroom and immediately screamed it to the entire class. Then, she said that he laughed and smiled when kids freaked out. One little girl had a literal shit fit. It was bedlam. The kid was 4, so on the upper edge of your range, but still. He did it to be mean, so I guess the bigger lesson here is to teach your kids not to be assholes in general.

    I remember who told me, but it was because it was the same kid that bullied me every day. And, honestly, I wouldn’t be too upset if a kid told my kid in a little one-on-one in a “OMG, did you know that Santa’s fake?” way. It’s that one kid that really really likes seeing people upset that gets to me. If he wasn’t spoiling Santa, though, he would just be spoiling something else, though.

    • Sri

      I apparently really liked the word though in that last sentence. I really should register just so I can edit those things out. I’m just way too lazy to do it right now, and then I won’t remember until I typo again and, ugh.

  • NotaGrinch

    I have no problem with parents not telling their kids that Santa isn’t real. BUT Santa gives hope and a wonderful holiday spirit this time of year. Why not at least explain to your children that other kids may still believe and it would be unkind to tell those kids otherwise? Why is that so much to ask from you? Because it’s not your job? We are all members of society that need to work together. The way you phrased this is ridiculous, you just want the shock value. I sincerely hope that you do actually tell your kids about how they shouldn’t tell other kids.

    Some jerk kids tried to tell my 6 year old this year. He has autism and believing in Santa makes him happy. I will encourage and help him believe for as long as he wants. Fucking other kids.

    • pineapplegrasss

      I have to say that I agree that it’s the parents job to lie to their own kids if that’s what they want to do. Santa is not a thing that non believers are required to lie to their own children about and to convince them to lie to other kids for the benefit of society. That is just ridiculous.

    • ElleJai

      I’m still failing to see why “lying to your own children” has become synonymous with “teach your kid not to be a fuck face”.

      My friends growing up had different gods to mine (or none), some believed in Santa etc and some were more laid back.

      The key part is that to a kid who thinks Santa is a fun story, the worst thing that will happen when someone else believes is usually a weird look and a wtf head shake.

      On the other hand, you ruin Santa for a believer and the worst that will happen is tears, emotional trauma, trust issues and a distinct lack of magic for the rest of their Christmases.

      Thus my kid telling yours Santa is real will just make your kid think mine is nuts. Vice versa and I’ve got a devastated child.

      Teach kids not to be fuck faces.

    • pineapplegrasss

      Then some day the emotional trauma and devastation is going to hi. Cause, guess what! Santas not real!
      And, my kids aren’t fuck faces, my 8yo is actually one of the most sweetest loving giving children I’ve ever met. Not that it matters, just saying. Its different when they are 2 then when they are 8. I guess the problem I have with the whole Santa thing is that once your kids does turn 6 or 8 or whatever age they ask, then the parents try to trick them into believing.

    • ElleJai

      By the time they hit that age and have had a think about Santa it’s not so bad. It’s when they’re little that you get the issues.

      My 10 year old niece finally asked her mum about whether Santa was real and was told the truth. She was then asked to play the game with the adults so her little sisters could believe.

      She kinda regrets asking, because it’s taken a lot of the magic out of Christmas.

      I haven’t decided how we’re going to approach Santa; I suspect if I sell him as a fun story then the Christmas magic will still be present when some little rat gives the game up to my kids.

      But every family deserves to make that choice for themselves and not have it ruined by thoughtless comments from others.

      Also, I wasn’t referring to your kids in particular as fuck faces; that was a generalization. If you’ve seen the post on #youreamom you’ll know why I consider the general population in that light (but yet one on one most are miraculously awesome.)

    • pineapplegrasss

      I really really don’t have a problem with Santa in general. This conversation started about moms being mad at other moms if Santa got outed by someone else’s kid. And I guess the point I was ineloquently trying to make is that once anybody’s kid is old enough to understand that somebody is telling him that Santa’s not real, he knows logically anyways. And that’s a big burden for any mother, bc kids just talk. My 8yo knows that Santa’s just a fun thing about Christmas and still thanked him over and over yesterday for the new video game console. I wrapped it and marked it from me. Santa brought a new video game lol

  • Jallun-Keatres

    I honestly don’t remember if I ever really believed Santa was real. I remember wondering how my mom decided which presents to label as from Santa… lol

    My sister, who is 26 but mentally very much a child, still gets excited about Christmas and Santa and all that. I’m pretty sure she knows he isn’t real but feels like she’d do him and the whole world a disservice by ever admitting it. lol

  • FF4life

    Good job from protecting your children from the Santa lie. Meanwhile, my kid gets to experience the excitement. That’s my choice as a parent.

    If you have to constantly remind your kid that Santa isn’t real it sounds like he wants to believe. Today it’s Santa isn’t real… Tomorrow it’s God isn’t real. While I personally have a somewhat atheist view on religion I know that not everyone raises their kid the same way as mine. I still am not going to let my kid run around and conflict with other parents teachings.

    We all remember that kid in high school or college. The “you’re an idiot because you believe in god” guy. That guy was a dick.

    • Véronique Houde

      I didn’t believe in Santa as a kid, and I can reassure you that Christmas has always been, and still is, magical. You don’t need to believe in a mystical man to love the spirit of Christmas. There is no need for you to come off as high and mighty. And yes, one day, your kid will end up finding out that the myth is just a myth… Everyone agrees that the kids that don’t believe in santa don’t need to be a dick about it, but they don’t need to be a dick about anything, not just the santa thing.

    • FF4life

      I’m not so naive to think my child will believe forever.. But right now at 4 she does. Sorry that you never believed in Santa but honestly, it kicks ass. Believing in Santa as a kid kicks so much ass.

      Yeah kids do need to not be a dick about more than just Santa but isn’t that their parents job to teach them…. Not everyone else’s job. Which is what the author is implying here… “Not my job to stop my kid from telling yours Santa isn’t real… ” actually, it is your job. Teaching your kid not to be a dick kinda what being a parent is all about.

  • Charlie

    I waited a few days to post this because I needed to give it some thought as it got me pretty riled. At the end of it all, I still think denying your child and/or anyone else Santa makes you a total asshole and here is why. It doesn’t matter what YOU think. You are an adult who has come to terms with your life (hopefully). Your child is still a child and has a whole lot of life left to live. Life is hard and it is brutal sometimes and childhood is the only chance you get to feel free in your imagination and wonder and belief. Santa is all good. He has a magic world and he makes magic toys and he delivers them and he is awesome. How dare you deny a child of this? Every child knows eventually that Santa is not real but why do you think you are saving them from eventual disappointment? It is not up to you! This is a childhood we are talking about. I am grateful I had one for at least a little while. Think about this before you deny your child one completely.

    • Charlie

      Why did my post get stuck in the middle of 3 day old stuff?