How to tell kids Santa isn’t real

I love Christmas. Not “start the countdown in January” love Christmas, but I think it’s such a special time. Having children in our lives makes that even more special. It makes me so sad that I’ve already had to figure out how to tell my kids that Santa isn’t real but the dreaded day came a couple of years ago. It’s all the fault of Wilko and the Works. They ruined Christmas!

Why shops need to stop marketing stocking fillers

When Biggest child was 7 1/2 we went Christmas shopping with hubby, Middle child (then 5 1/2) and Smallest child (then 9 months). As we walked home Biggest child asked me “Is Santa real?” The reason for his question soon became clear. “Because if Santa is real why do all the shops sell stocking fillers?” Trying to think quickly on my feet my answers were crap. Umm, sometimes people buy little presents for their friends? Umm for secret Santa presents, like I do at work? That didn’t really answer his question (clearly) but I said we’d talk about it later. I was very conscious little ears were also listening to the conversation.

At Christmas time everywhere you look there are signs up for stocking fillers, TV adverts mention them all the time. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that stocking fillers exist because it’s grown-ups that are filling the stockings, not Santa. Surely the collective brain power of the advertising industry can come up with something better. Something that doesn’t give the game away?

How to tell the kids Santa isn't real | Free Time with the Kids

How to tell kids Santa isn’t real, except that he is!

I spoke to hubby about an idea I’d seen on Facebook and we decided to do our own version. I really liked this suggestion on how to tell the kids Santa isn’t real and I adapted it for our kids.

So I sat down with biggest child I started with “You’re right, Santa isn’t just one person who comes to our house and delivers presents every year. Everyone is Santa, and now you get to be Santa too!” I explained that Santa is really Mummy and Daddy (which by this time he’d guessed anyway). Everyone who knows the secret can be Santa if they want to be! I told him to choose someone to give a present, buy something, wrap it and put it in the stocking himself. The trick was to do it in secret so that no-one else found out.

I also asked him to keep the secret going until Middle child figured it out for himself. I really want Smallest child to grow up “knowing” that Santa is real. If the boys both don’t believe (or tell her) I’m worried she’ll never get to experience the magic.

The bit I’m leaving out is that I kept crying during this conversation. It was so sad that my “baby” knew Santa was made up. Every year my Dad comes to our house on Christmas Eve in his Santa suit and gives the kids a present. My Grandfather started the tradition and I asked Dad to do the same when Biggest child was born. Now he knows it’s “just” Grandpa. My heart genuinely broke a little bit that night.

On the plus side, Biggest child loves the idea that he gets to be Santa. He likes that he’s grown-up enough to share in the secret. He really enjoyed choosing something meaningful for Daddy and putting it in his stocking. The next year he chose Smallest child to be his recipient. This year I’ve suggested he has a small budget for everyone in the family.

SO the magic lives on…. for now

Eldest child surprised me the following year though. Despite knowing the truth, he asked to go and see Santa. I’d assumed he wouldn’t be bothered. Middle child was going to Santa camp, Smallest child had no idea what was going on so we weren’t doing anything. In the end we went to Elf School at the Eden Centre (read my review here) and he enjoyed it as much as if he believed.

Sadly I think there isn’t long until I have to tell Middle child and then eventually Smallest child the truth. I think Smallest child will be the most difficult because then no-one will believe anymore *sob*. Surely it’s OK for teenagers to believe????? Lots of people worry that their kids will be annoyed they’ve been lied to their whole lives. Hopefully you’ll agree this is a nice way to tell the kids Santa isn’t real.

Oh, and now the game is up for everything else. When Biggest child’s tooth fell out he said could I stick his £1 in his money box; he knows it’s just me.

If you liked this, you might also like “Why Christmas presents should be all about time together and not just more stuff”

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Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with our three children; a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out. You know, the essential information you need to know before your visit that can be surprisingly hard to find out. Where do I park? How much will it cost me to get in? Are there any discounts available? Are there loos? Can I take a picnic or get food? My aim is to be your go-to guide for all your free and cheap family days out across Bucks, Beds, Oxon, Herts & slightly beyond. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch or get in touch via Facebook