Is Santa Real? This might be the question we dread the most as parents. And for parents with kids of varying ages, it can be a delicate balance answering this query right in order to avoid any Christmas spoilers for the wee ones. So how do you answer when your kid wants to know if Santa Claus is real? We polled our community of moms to find out!
Think On Your Feet
Two years ago, a boy in my daughter's 3rd grade class told her that Santa isn’t real, it’s the parents, and to watch for more packages than usual being delivered leading up to Christmas. She told us about it, but didn’t 100% believe him. So I said, “Maybe he’s saying that because he’s been naughty and is afraid he won’t get anything.” Not sure if it totally worked, but she still believes and she’s 10.
Recruit for the Team
Here's our answer: Santa is real, but just not in the way that you think. We all team up to create the magic of Santa and Christmas together. Mom and Dad do some of the work along with other people in the world, like the Santa at the mall. So, now that you're in on the secret you get to be on the team and create the magic for other people.
The Secret of Santa
In our family, we have a special way of transitioning the kids from receiving from Santa, to becoming a Santa. This way, the Santa construct is not a lie that gets discovered, but an unfolding series of good deeds and Christmas spirit. When they are 8 or 9—whenever you see that dawning suspicion that Santa may not be a material being—that means the child is ready.
I take them out "for coffee." We get a booth, order our drinks, and the following pronouncement is made:
“You sure have grown an awful lot this year. Not only are you taller, but I can see that your heart has grown, too.” I point out 2-3 examples of empathetic behavior, consideration of people's feelings, good deeds etc, the kid has done in the past year.
“In fact, your heart has grown so much that I think you are ready to become a Santa Claus. You probably have noticed that most of the Santas you see are people dressed up like him. Some of your friends might have even told you that there is no Santa. A lot of children think that, because they aren't ready to BE a Santa yet, but YOU ARE.”
Read what happens next in Leslie Rush’s family here. It’s genius!
Use the Force
Any time one of my kids indicates any level of non-belief I just tell them what my mother always told me, "if you don't believe, you don't receive." I think they are too terrified to risk it. I know that I was!
When my daughter has asked if Santa is real, I ask her if she thinks he is real. She usually thinks about it & says yes. She's only five though so I know at some point that will stop working.
My sons are 5 and 1.5, so they haven't had the "is he real" thoughts yet. I think if they ever ask, I'll tell them that he was a real person a long time ago, and now everyone helps to keep his memory alive ♥️🎅
Pass It On
When they got older I told them that Santa is about the spirit of Christmas and spreading joy and we are the ones that carry that on. They seemed to like that and they love that we take toys and donate every year to a shelter by us as a reminder that there are always people less fortunate.
The real answer? There is no “right” answer. All kids are different and no two families alike. But we are also not alone. Watch actor and dad Jason Bateman squirm under his daughter’s questioning about Santa, the Tooth Fairy and even the Easter Bunny.