“Mummy, is Santa really real?”, my five year old asked me the other day.
My mind started to race, I started to sweat bullets….what on EARTH was I going to say? Play this carefully, Talya, because your answer could be responsible for shattering childhood dreams.
“I don’t know – what do you think darling?”.
I’m such a flipping coward, I know! Answering a question with another question.
She nodded her head with a big grin on her face, the sort of grin that kinda looks goofy like she wasn’t convinced at all. I smiled, pottered around the kitchen for a couple of minutes thinking I had made a lucky escape (how naive you ignoramus!), and swiftly made my exit. As I left the room I then heard….
“Alexa, is Santa really real?”.
Good GOD, am I really going to leave this to Alexa to deal with? Is she going to lie to my daughter about Santa????! Apparently, yes I am, the 21st century coward that I am. Thankfully Alexa gave a much better answer than I could muster. It went like this:
“I don’t know him personally, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about Santa. If I ever meet him, I’ll tell you.”
I LOVE you Alexa! But hey, it’s easy to say that when you don’t have to look into a five year old’s eyes and say it. It’s kept the sham going for now but here’s the thing – I don’t do lying and so right now I’m desperately twitching with the thought that my daughter might ask me again, and then I will STILL have no idea what in heavens name to say.
Beam me up Scotty!
But when it comes to the whole nightmare of knowing what to say or not to say to your children when they ask the question which everybody dreads – “is Santa really real” – and whether it’s even okay to lie to your children about Santa….what on earth is anyone saying to their children???! Because I certainly have no clue! I know I can’t be the only one drowning in anguish over whether we keep the dream alive or crush the magic with brutal honesty, and so I asked around the parenting blogger community and here’s what I found…
In a quandary….
Less Refined Mind says: I think this is a really difficult one to navigate – we as a family (and probably we collectively as parents – value honesty enormously. It’s basically at the centre of everything (along with kindness). And yet when it comes to the big man we explicitly lie. Ultimately, our stance is that life is rough and we have our whole adult lives for that crap. Therefore keeping childhood innocence and magic alive for as long as possible is the right thing to do. It’s a harmless white lie, for the right reasons. But it’s the only one that we advocate (alongside the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny of course).
Someone’s Mum says: I have a real problem with this at the moment. My son is autistic and any form of inaccuracy or lie distresses him immensely. He is starting to realise that Santa cannot possibly be real (he is far too logical not to work it out) I do not mind him knowing but the problem is he continues to be extremely distresses if other people are not aware of the lie. So, once he knows for sure he will not tolerate his sister or his schoolmates (or any of us) talking about Santa as if he is real. He will just see it as wrong, as a lie, and nothing upsets him more. I am not really sure what I am going to do about it yet….
Keep the magic alive!
My Mummy’s Pennies says: With my son we’ve never actually told him he’s not real but he definitely knows and we have a special wink we share when talking about the man in red in front of my daughter and he happily keeps the magic alive for his sister!
Mummy and Moose says: Mine asked once. What I said was this, “you have always believed and each year you have received gifts. Do you really want to rock that boat?” They clearly didn’t as they never asked again!
Eats Amazing says: I plan on using the same line my mum used on me. When I asked her if Santa is real, she replied with ‘Santa only leaves presents for those who believe in him’. That shut me up quick, and I still ‘believe’ in Santa 30 years later! He still fills my stocking too so it’s worked out perfectly for me!
Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs says: I will keep the magic going for as long as my boys believe. Santa may not be real but childhood memories are!
Over 40 and mum to one says: My almost nine year old still believes but when he has questioned things, I just get out the little sleigh bell we have and ask him if he can hear it. We both can, so I just tell him well if you can hear it then Santa’s magic is still there. He loves Polar Express so that’s him sorted. Even when he doesn’t believe in Santa, I’m hoping he’ll still believe in the magic of it all thanks to that bell.
Much More With Less says: My 8 year old was asking just last week for confirmation that Father Christmas isn’t real. I fudged it. I said: “You’ve seen Arthur Christmas haven’t you? Do you like stocking presents? Would you like Father Christmas to be real?” I couldn’t bring myself to lie, but I’d like him to hang on to any tiny part that still believes.
Mandy Charlton says: My youngest is now 15, I recently went to see Santa with her and we were the two most excited people there, I’ve never had the conversation with any of my children actually, and they’re 15, 16 and 22, all I say is “As long as you have Christmas in your heart there will always be magic” and you know what? I truly believe that.
Devon Mama says: I intend to keep it going for as long as they’re up for it. Me and my siblings still get gifts from Father Christmas and the youngest of us is 24. It’s part of the magic isn’t it?! I wouldn’t lie if they asked me outright but I want to keep that magic going for as long as possible. And when the time comes, I want them to see the magic in the fact that all over the world people are following the same story just to spread excitement and happiness amongst each other. Which is more magical than if he really existed if you ask me!
Pink Pear Bear says: I had no Santa as a child as my parents didn’t want to lie to me but my Granny would fully go for it and do stockings and creaking floorboards and bells and I loved it! I knew it wasn’t real but it was magical anyway and I’m fully living the Santa dream with my two. When they say they’ve heard he’s not real, I just ask them what they think. Any point they say they don’t believe is totally fine but I’ll keep it up still! I think there is a big difference between lying and make believe and I’m happy to sprinkle glitter and write tiny tooth fairy notes, jangle bells in the garden when they go to bed on Christmas Eve and just generally make life as fun as possible for as long as I can get away with it!
Team Stein Blog says: Our 12 year old has never asked, but we know he’s known the truth for probably 2 years. When we tried to discuss it with him, he was firm in his response that ‘magic’ is part of having a childhood. So we never progressed to have the actual conversation. He’s got 3 siblings and he keeps the magic going, just like Buddy the elf! I prefer to have it this way, as I still like to believe in the magic. We are a very convincing magic act in our house!
Honesty is the best policy
Rock and Roll Pussy Cat says: My son is still only 4 and a half so hasn’t really questioned it too much but when he does we’ll be honest and tell him about how Christmas is still an amazing time of the year but that Santa isn’t real. Not believing in Santa doesn’t mean Christmas is any less special, it just means we get the credit for the gifts he’ll get and not Santa.
Scandi Mummy says: This is the first year my now 3-year-old is getting Christmas. He is so excited and talks about Father Christmas a lot. I will try and keep the magic alive for as long as possible but when he’s 6-7 and if he asks outright I don’t want to lie.
Chasing Simplicity says: My 9 year old asked this year, and we have told him the truth. He’s asked before and we have kept the secret going, but the way he asked this year made us realise it was time to tell the truth – one of the things he said was that “he wanted to know, but he didn’t want to ruin the magic.” We told him the magic is inside us all, and Christmas is about being thoughtful, kind, and enjoying time together. When we do that, the magic will always be there.
Kiddy Charts says: I basically fudged it without out right lying until I couldn’t anymore. I just didn’t like lying to them. And when someone told them to tooth fairy wasn’t real and my son said, “Don’t lie to me mummy, I know Santa isn’t real, it’s you”, when he was nine…I didn’t have the heart to lie to him anymore. It felt like an important trust thing with him, so…. We said it was important to keep the magic going for younger kids, and it was part of being an adult that he had been let into a really big adult secret, and he had to respect it. Sad, but they all grow up.
A Mum Reviews says: We’re probably in the minority but when our kids ask about Santa we say that he’s from a story but that some people believe that he’s real. Santa doesn’t come to our house and the presents are from mum and dad! :As kids, my sisters and I never had presents from Santa and weren’t under the impression that he was real but my dad always had a present “from Santa” that he’d bought for himself under the tree!
It seems for most of us, it’s about keeping the general magic of Christmas alive which is probably why so many of us keep the Santa rouse going. I really applaud those who are bold enough to be so honest about the truth about Santa, but because this is our first year of hearing the question I most fear – “Mum, is Santa really real?”, I think I’ll continue to bat that question back with a question – or happily let Alexa answer that one for me lol!
What do you tell your children about Santa? Are you honest about the truth? Do you like to keep the magic alive? Or perhaps like me you are still absolutely fudging your way through the dreaded questions and thinking you should take inspiration from some of the above suggestions? Do share in a comment below….