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Happy Holidays!

Is It Okay to Lie About Santa?

Santa reading to two girlsAs parents, we know that Santa doesn’t exist, but does that mean sharing this myth with our children is really lying? If Santa is not part of your family’s tradition or culture, then there is no need to even consider encouraging that belief in your child. But if you are struggling over whether or not to tell Santa’s story, you may take comfort in the notion that it doesn’t really harm children to imagine.

Santa Claus Is One of Many Myths 
“Kids up to four, five, six, seven live in what we call fantasy life magic years,” says Dr. Benjamin Siegel, Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine. “They are influenced by what they see and hear around them. They get very excited about characters in their life that have special meaning for them.” Those characters include superheroes, monsters, animals and even Santa.

While there are many ways to encourage your children to be good, the story of Santa is just one of them. Siegel points out that Santa, for most families, is a jolly man with helpers who brings presents to children who are good. Sure, there are tales of coal in the stockings of naughty children, but it would be hard to find a child who actually received that on Christmas morning.

What parents should assess is the values they are trying to impart and whether this myth encourages those morals. “Every culture has a fairy tale or myth that belongs to its historical identity,” Siegel says. “If the myths are good and talk about sharing and helping your neighbor, then that’s really nice.”

Its Tradition
For many families, the excitement of leaving cookies for Santa, watching through the window for his sleigh at night, waking up early to open presents and sharing all that goes into believing in Santa Claus are special and unique to their given family. That tradition is why many parents share the story of Santa–because  that’s what they learned growing up.

Caroline Jorgensen, a mother of two boys who blogs at, introduced Santa to her sons because it was natural to do so, even if it felt wrong at times.

“It never seemed like an option not to tell my kids that there was a Santa,” she says. “But, once I did, I was surprised to find myself feeling bad about it. I was lying to my child. There he was looking up at me, expecting me to explain the world to him, and I was telling him that a fat man in a red suit who snuck into our house once a year was as real as the green grass outside. To top it off, my firstborn was scared of Santa for a few years.”

As her son outgrew his fear of the man in the red suit, Jorgensen realized why parents tell their children about Saint Nick in the first place: magic. “It’s amazing, isn’t it? Presents of every kind appearing under the tree,” she says. “Adults don’t get that kind of magic. How wonderful that they can have that.”

Santa Isnt Just One Story
If you decide that Santa Claus is going to be part of your family’s Christmas tradition, there are many ways to tell his story. You may be surprised to find a myriad of Santa books waiting to be read at the local library.

There are books about environmentally conscious Santas and about animals, even dinosaurs that dress as Santa. There are Santa tales featuring popular characters like Corduroy and Curious George. Many parents may stick to the traditional “The Night Before Christmas,” which now comes in many variations. You can also check out illustrated children’s Bibles to provide a religious perspective, or find a book on the history of Saint Nicholas.

There is no right or wrong way to tell the Santa story. “Some holiday books are touching and poignant, others are fun and frivolous. It depends on the child,” says Marisa Conner, Youth Services Coordinator for the Baltimore County Public Libraries. “We find that for families it’s a very personal thing. A lot of parents want to pass on what they believed as a child, what they were excited about.” Whatever book you choose, the point is to encourage your child to dream.

“As an educator and as a person, I find that fantasy books do engage the imagination,” Conner says. “Children learn at some point what’s make-believe and not. That’s the fun of life. It makes us see different personalities.”

When They Find Out
Parents worry that they will have to break the news to their children and shatter their whole vision of Christmas. However, many children come to this realization on their own around age seven or eight, Siegel says. And when they do, they are basically unscathed. Siegel cites a study that revealed that children who learned the truth may have been upset, but not nearly as upset as the parents.

“Most kids do fine when they learn a myth is not real,” he says. “Sometimes parents feel very badly because they want their kids to continue to believe in Santa Claus. Maybe parents like the myth because it makes them feel good, or because kids get disappointed in them when they find out the truth. Kids realize that parents aren’t so powerful, but that happens in adolescence anyway.”

Jorgensen admits dreading the day her sons will find out. “When I thought about my sons not believing the other day, I suddenly felt sad. When they don’t believe, then it changes Christmas for me too, doesn’t it? Completely. I lose the magic too.” However, Jorgensen also realizes that providing the Christmas magic involves a lot of work, and it will be nice to have a break from sneaking around late at night to have everything in place for children with big expectations.

Talking Through the Disappointment
Whether your kids find out on their own, from an older child on the playground, or from you, there are ways to handle the disappointment.

If they are upset that you lied, acknowledge their disappointment and ask about their feelings, Siegel recommends. You can explain that Santa is a myth that your family has chosen to share. “Santa Claus is part of Christmas and we believe in Christmas,” you can tell them. Siegel recommends comparing the experience to the tooth fairy or Easter bunny, and encourage children to remember the fun and excitement that made the event special.

Children should also have the opportunity to define what Santa Claus means to them. They may surprise parents when they reveal that they knew all along, but still had fun playing along with the game.

Until their children catch on, parents may just want to enjoy the magical world of Santa that they have helped to create. Sure, Santa may not really exist, but believing in him for a few years can be tremendously fun, even for parents.

  • Ziplock

    Your article seems to really lack focus on one thing – the well being of the child’s long term development. While it’s true many children aren’t damaged by the lie, the point that some children are shouldn’t be ignored. Sometimes children trust their parents so blindly, they carry the myth into their teens, and that can have some embarrassing side effects, not the least of which is the damage it can cause their relationship with their parents.

    One key element that you’re dismissing when you’re talking about “one of many myths” is that the children know the rest of the characters are “PRETEND.” It’s OK to pretend that Santa exists and have fun with the fantasy, but convincing him that he’s real can have some lasting problems on his critical thinking skills and the natural doubt reflex we all need to develop over time. It can promote credulity and gullibility. And, again, it can really hurt their relationship with their parents. Children have a hard enough time maintaining a positive relationship with their parents without being pushed away further when they discover from their peers that their whole lives they’ve been lied to.

    • J

      Then the belief of Santa wouldn’t be the problem here. It would be the parents.

  • Rebecca Robinson

    I hope my wolf cut-out will believe in Santa Claus. My wolf cut-out is seven months old. My zebra cut-out is also seven months old. I hope my zebra cut-out will also believe in Santa Claus. I was born in 1987. My older sister was born in 1985. My older sister believed in Santa Claus when she was a girl. I am a twenty-six-year-old woman. I painted Santa Claus’ face when I was a four-year-old girl. I believed in Santa Claus when I was a girl. My mouse/elephant cut-out will believe in Santa Claus this year.

  • Rosy Moonrise

    Kids do have fun with their imaginations. They have fun with presents that appear under the tree. There is no reason whatsoever to lie to them.

  • Lucy Wilde

    While we’re teaching our five year olds about the ‘real world’ and encouraging their critical thinking skills which should already be focused upon in school ( because why the heck are we sending them to school in the first place), we should also tell them that their little dream jobs (” I want to be a singer!” ” I want to be an astronaut!”) are futile because most of them will end up with nine to five jobs in a cubicle. We should also not take them to see disney movies or let them read fantasy novels such as Harry Potter and instead have them sit and watch the five o’clock news to see who’s died, or been murdered, or what other freak accident has occured. We should also tell our daughters that they have a 1 in 5 chance of being raped and also tell all of our children not to have their hopes up for a happy marriage since up to 50% of married couples divorce. Let’s ignore the fact that normal, functioning human beings with half a brain develop critical thinking skills and rationality without being stripped of all the magic and innocence of childhood. Instead lets raise our children to become a robot, or another sheep with no hope,imagination, or aspirations in society.

    • Icicle

      Dude kids who imagine KNOW that what they are imagining is false. When a kid reads Harry Potter they KNOW that it is false. No parents says that wizards and witches really exist. Santa however is a lie. Kids imagine about him but acknowledge that he DOES EXIST. Kids often end up shattering their own dreams or getting them shattered by someone else.

      We don’t need to make it harder for them by feeding them a lie that some kids believe in with all their hearts. Well some kids do look back on their dream jobs and think “hah I’m such a stupid moron.” some others are genuinely shattered when they get older and realize that it just isn’t possible. We look at them now and think “Daww isn’t that cute that they want to be an astronaut and believe santa will leave the presents,” but some kids will feel bad when they realize a lie they’ve thought to themselves. This effect is amplified when it’s the parents that told them a lie. For example when I was four I learnt how to ride a bike when my training wheels fell off and my dad said it was a “happy accident” 6 years later my dad revealed that he had just loosened the training wheels. I was completely crushed when I found this out. My point is that imagination, reality and lies are three different things and when they get mixed bad things can happen. Santa is just one example of how a lie can have no affect or a grand one.

  • Erin McGann

    I am a 31 year old woman, and my mother and I are currently in a fight about this discussion. I was one of those children who blindly believed my parents until age 10. I fiercely defended my parents against people who told me that it was make believe, because I didn’t believe that my parents would lie to me. Upon finding out the truth, I felt incredibly embarrassed for misplacing trust in my parents. I didn’t care so much about not believing in Santa, as I did about no longer being able to have complete faith in my parents being honest with me. TO THIS DAY it really upsets me that they shattered that sense of complete trust over something as stupid as THEM wanting me to believe in Santa. I am pregnant with my first child, and I refuse to buy anything with Santa on it because I never want my child to feel duped or lied to by me. Yes, many children are fine when they find out, but some of us feel a sense of deception that sincerely hurts for a long long time.

    • John Smith

      This could not have been said any better.

    • 비투비짱

      I think you should make your kid believe santa. even though it’s fake.

      • Larissa SkinForce

        I wish my parents hadn’t.

    • Viktah

      LOL! I think you’re making a bigger thing of it than is present (pun…). If you’re still upset over the Santa lie then there is something more deep seeded in you than that one event. I know that no two people react to the same situation the same way, however, the extent of disappointment felt within myself and within my peers didn’t extend past “Oh.. he isn’t real?” and didn’t transfer into the mistrust of my folks (later events shaped that).

      I pity you for begrudging your family over such a trivial and stupid thing.

      • Armando Melendez

        This woman ADMITS she a deeper seeded issue… pay attention. He deeper seeded issue is that of being lied to… and that is a BIG issue… if you can portray Santa as a “Super Hero” type then its ok but when your parents portray as a a REAL person then they have taken it too far and many kids lose trust like this

      • William Trew Merrick

        It IS a big deal. It extends to how someone’s brain works. Her personal experience was a big deal personally… as a species, this is a threat to our means of survival: reason and creativity.

        Knowing what’s real and being able to image what could be – and knowing the difference is paramount. That’s what your frontal lobe is for… and all the research shows that religious belief messes that up.

        • Andrew

          Oh my God… That is taking it WAY too far. The fact that Santa is not real should not and probably does not affect her reason and creativity as a human being. She clearly states that she’s living a normal life and the fact that you think that having a religious belief (which many intelligent people have) or a fictional belief is detrimental to a person’s mind means that you need to do more research and stop telling stupid lies. She is just one of those people that tries to disrespect her parents and find reasons to hate them for the hell of it. 90% of people just shrug it off and don’t give a crap, 9% of people cry and forget about it the next day, and the few 1% like her decide to make a big deal about it. Based on your so called research that you allegedly “found” (made up), 99% of people in this world would have their “reason and creativity threatened”, which is absolute bullshit. Obviously you need to go back and do some real research. In the meantime, please stop telling made-up lies and using big words to make yourself sound smart. As for the lady that is “scarred for life because of this incredibly traumatizing experience that will affect her trust for everyone, especially her parents”, which obviously meant no harm from this lie, please stop holding this everlasting grudge. I hate the people like you all because you guys continue focusing on stupid little problems, whereas there are many larger problems to be focused on in this world, telling your child that Santa is real is not one of those. It is a tradition that has been practiced for hundreds of years and will never be stopped because it brings happiness for a multitude of years and brings sadness for one day (for a vast majority of people). The pros outweigh the cons. So please, get over yourself and go apologize to your parents for your stupidity and realize that they love you and would never do anything to intentionally hurt you. And for those of you that would much rather tell the “Story of Christ”, how are you so sure that the story of Christ is more true than the story of Santa Claus?

          • Nancy Power

            I’m researching this because I’m figuring out what to tell my kids, and I would love to read the research that you referenced with those statistics on how children react to learning the truth about Santa. Thank you for your help.

          • Scott

            I like that you gave a handful of bogus percentages that you made up in the sentence before accusing the person of making up research. Touché !

      • oyme

        I figured out the truth when I was in 1st grade but my Mother kept denying it over and over until I found out by finding where her gifts were hidden….so I am still pissed off because when I told her I didn’t believe in Santa she lied to me repeatedly for several years. If you want to say that’s deeper then I’d agree! The parent controls how this event traumatizes their child.

        • he

          nobody should care in the end

      • :)


    • friend

      I would agree they waited until other children had long been told. I think parents need to be sensitive to where their child is developmentally. I don’t think the problem is in believing in Santa, I think it is trying to stretch that belief beyond what is socially healthy.

      • Joy Ward

        Santa is NOT socially healthy at all.. you either participate, or you don’t and are out casted, and if your kids tell the other kids it’s a BIG DEAL. Schools practice Santa and tell kids he’s real, but no mention of Jesus… Christmas is a Federal Holiday for Christ NOT Santa… Santa is at the Mall for a reason… Holloween is not a Federal Holiday… get it? Jesus is the reason for the season not Santa. Santa is forced upon us via black friday, and anytime I tell people we don’t do santa it’s like “your kids never met santa?” and I’m like no need…

    • ビリー コックス

      Its ok.. just tell them the truth. See this guy…he superman, and this is spiderman, and thats barbie, and thats santa. Santa can still exist. Hes just not what all these little kids are running around thinking, because their PARENTS told them the first BIG lie that they will never forget.

    • Ed Bregstrom

      Wow. OK, seriously, please get some therapy. If this topic is this distressing to you, you need to (as a 31 year old) move on with your life, and this issue is holding you back. You are responsible to yourself, and now to your child, to be as stable as possible, and feeling “a sense of deception that sincerely hurts for a long long time” at this stage isn’t helping either of you.

      And really, this isn’t the only issue. You have to talk to someone about all the other issues you have, because you’re going to imprint a lot of these neuroses onto your kid.

      • Erin

        Ed I appreciate your concern, but a reflection on a previous time, or acknowledging that a lie was hurtful doesn’t indicate neuroses. It is a normal human reaction and healthy to be observant of how choices impact us. We won’t be including Santa as a part of raising our son, but rather focus on the story of Christ and loving others and having a giving spirit. Certainly a part of that is the practice of forgiveness- and my mother an I have never been closer since we talked. Once again, thanks for the concern. Cheers!

        • HM

          Seriously, people are so harshly judgemental of non-issue’s. I never get it.

    • Crowther Amanda-Beth

      Make it a story. Total pretend just like some of fav books as a child.

    • Kayla Joy

      Erin, I am 20 years old and my parents told all of us the truth from the start. Instead of telling us the false story of “santa clause”, they told us the REAL story of Saint Nicholas. And how he was a real man with a big heart that loved making toys for the children in his town. We grew up, not feeling left out from the “magic” of Christmas, because the real and honest story felt just as magical and warm hearted. I plan to do the same with my kids and teach them the TRUE story of Saint Nic. I just wanted to share this with you in case you decide to do the same. I commend you for speaking your heart even though others are quick to judge. Congratulations on the carrying of your first child! May God bless your family!

      • Joy Ward

        I hope that includes telling them that St. Nicholas Day is December 6th!

      • EWTN.COM

        check out EWTN.COM

    • m k

      You were not the last one to know. I am embarrassed by your complex. see note above.

      • m k

        also your Santa-less kids will be loudmouthed killjoys as soon as preschool/Kindergarten

        • Cbraz

          Wow. Just, wow. It must be both a wonderful and cumbersome gift to be able to tell what a child is going to be like in the future.

    • Chanika Patterson

      I declare these are my words exactly…I feel the same way…my children know the truth and in fact my son who is 6 is glad that I didn’t lie to him because he says he doesn’t like when people lie to him because it hurts his feelings.

      • Larissa SkinForce

        You are definitely doing the right thing. Even though their intentions were good, I wish my parents hadn’t done the Santa lie with me.

    • Casey Dean

      Yes! I believed until about 9 or 10. I remember it was slipping because every kid in school was telling me it wasn’t real – and making fun of me for believing still. I think it was my grandparents that orchestrated a Santa “fly by” on Christmas Eve to keep the belief alive when I was 8 or 9. I can’t remember what finally convinced me Santa wasn’t real, but I do remember that once I found out, I feel as stupid as the kids around me had said I was for holding out on this fairy tale. It really cut into my self worth. I wasn’t upset with my parents, but I was upset with myself for being so dumb. Now my daughter is 5, and she is super sensitive like me (yikes), and everyone, including my husband, is feeding her the Santa story. I’m not really sure how I feel about perpetuating it, though. I speak so little about Santa to her and instead redirect her to doing acts of kindness toward others for the holiday – teaching her she can be Santa Claus to others. I think I will be telling her the truth at the first sign of doubt, though.

      • Larissa SkinForce

        I was angry at myself for believing it too. I really wish my parents hadn’t put me in that position by doing the Santa lie.

    • Larissa SkinForce

      Erin I don’t remember the exact age when I finally let go but my story is similar to yours. Those feelings of betrayal as well as embarrassment and shame for believing something so obviously false stick with me to this day (31 years.) I applaud you for not perpetuating the Santa lie with your child. Even if your kid might not feel this way, why risk it?

    • Really?

      Deary me you sound like you weren’t very inquisitive as a child… I clocked it myself about the age of 6 when I realised that it is not possible for one man to travel the entire world and fit down the chimney of every house to deliver specific presents to every child in one night.
      I went to my mum all smug and said “I don’t believe in Santa” and she just went “Oh ok. Well don’t tell your brother”.
      He realised himself too about 10 years old and wasn’t that bothered.

      I can tell that my 5 year old nephew is doubting whether Santa is really true or not

    • arrrghle

      When my kids were little I made it a point to never lie to them, and I couldn’t lie to them about Santa any more than anything else. What I did say was “Santa Claus is a pretend game that everybody plays together” and they LOVED IT! They had no problem whatever with it being pretend, because at that age “reality” is pretty vague anyway, and they got just as excited as the kids whose parents lied about it did. They thought it was wonderful that everyone was playing along. Highly recommend this approach!

    • thats so funny

      haha thats funny

    • thats so funny

      Come to reality and realize this was over 20 years ago.

  • Rodrigo_Girao

    It’s not okay. It’s unethical. It’s absolutely immoral. No good comes from this repulsive, stupid deceit.

  • Ian

    Yeah, I’m not down with this lie. Be truthful to your kids.

  • John Smith

    “But if you are struggling over whether or not to tell Santa’s story, you may take comfort in the notion that it doesn’t really harm children to imagine.” What a stupid argument. Parents’ lying to their children is NOT THE SAME as encouraging children to imagine. Parents do not ask their children to imagine or pretend that Santa is real. When parents play pretend with their kids, the kids know they’re pretending. Parents do not say, “Let’s pretend Santa is real.” They LIE to their children and TELL them that Santa is real. It is a deliberate, premeditated, habitual deception. It is mental abuse.

    • Insanitea

      I don’t think it is always so black-and-white. My parents told the story, but I don’t remember a time when I actually believed it. I’m sure I did when I was little, but when I was a bit older there were so many broad winks in what they said that I was fully aware that it was a game. That’s how I approach it with my own children. My sister-in-law, though, furiously defended the illusion and got very angry with my if I accidentally said something which penetrated the veil, even when IMO it was entirely inappropriate for her kids to still be believing.

    • Crowther Amanda-Beth

      My daddy told me truth after couple week cause I was tjree and destroying house at nigjt affraid Santa woukd steal all my gifts after mother had me barely 3 watch the grinch whom stole Christmas and daddy said we can oretend Santa is real and that’s what we did. We all knew Santa wasn’t real every kid tjay hrew up witj my daddy but it is fin to pretend and don’t spoil for otjer kids cauze some parents are weird when dad explained it to me before I started K.

  • 비투비짱

    산타가 잇다고 믿는인간들 짜져요^^

  • miaoritz560

    hello hi no se beautiful by

  • ビリー コックス

    I’m totally against the Santa thing, because so many people are brainwashed to think that its the holidays and its for the kids, and if you don’t agree, they call you names…Grinch, Scrooge, you have no holiday spirit, and whatever other jolly jingle names they have for you. No NEED to LIE to your kids about such pointless things, right at that point of their life that you are teaching them that telling LIES is bad. I cant really explain what my feeling was when I realized that Santa might not exist. When I found that ColecoVision game console hidden in my parents bedroom, way before Santa was supposed to have arrived (because he only comes out for 1 night a year to hit up all the “good kids”). But I knew something was weird. AND I CANNOT believe my parents paddled me for telling small fibs, when at the same time they not only fed me this HUGE lie about Santa, but even played with with my little 6yr. old brain, to make me believe that he just flew over the house so id hurry to bed faster, because he may not stop at our place. So, anyways I soon realized, and for a few Xmas I acted surprised. Of ALL the questions I asked as a little kid, I was just too scared to ask my parents why my gifts were always hidden around the house, because they kept telling me the same damn lie…and I had to act happy about these gifts that Santa supposedly brought to me. I just didn’t feel right… i felt like I was bad, and they always told me that Santa doesn’t come to the bad boys houses. Not only me tho…a lot of kids at school would talk about Santa, and I just didn’t understand what the hell was going on. So after all the beans were spilled, they explained to me that real meaning of Christmas was to give and NOT receive, and to always remember Jesus. I was so happy that that was over… then I read Thou Shalt not Lie… I was totally lost! Its like the biggest lie, and everyone is okay with it. To this day, people always tell me I look so shy when I open any wrapped gift on any occasion… trauma perhaps? “They are only kids, let them be kids” is the LAMEST excuse… I wont tell my children about Santa, until they ask me. Ill take em shopping give em what they need and things they want, we can wrap and give gifts together. Ill wait for them to ask me about the dude at the mall everyone is going all crazy over, or if/when they come home from school, and asks who the santa person is everyone is talking about… then Ill explain to them that some people like to play that game, but our game is better. If he wants to sit on santas lap and tell him what he wants for Christmas, sure I dont mind. But all that magic stuff is uncalled for…and they will thank me later, Im sure! Then most importantly explain that it is bad to LIE. So, if you lie to your kids about Christmas, lets hope they aren’t in my children’s class, because my child will set everyone straight. Humans cannot live on the north pole, because its way too cold for human life. Not to mention, man eating polar bears all over the place. And deer jump, they dont fly! Christmas tree? Christmas cookies? decorations (even ones with santa on them)? Sure, why not!? Its fun, and at least they truly exist. My child WILL know the truth, and have just as much fun.

    Its just bad to lie to little kids like that. scary Holloween monsters that come out every year would have at least been a relief when the truth was exposed, NO MONSTERS..YAYYY!!! NO SANTA?? its such a let down!

    • Fran

      I totally agree. I was absolutely traumatized when I found out my parents were liars and made me lie to my little sister about Santa. Thay WANTED me to lie about that, but not about anything else? Why is that lie OK, but not another one? It didn’t make sense to me.
      Why not just tell your kids that the story of Santa is a fairy tale like Cinderella, and that it’s a tradition for the Santa character to appear at Christmas time? Same goes for the Easter bunny.

  • matthew

    When I found out about my parents lying to me about Santa Clause, easter bunny, tooth fairy etc my ideas naturally spread to the disbelief in God and Jesus and religion too. I mean aren’t those just mythical beings that they lied to me about as well?

    • texassa

      That’s exactly how I felt. I thought, I wonder why they lie to get us to church every week? Is it to encourage us to be good, like with Santa’s naughty list?

    • Spiritoftruth

      Christ is real closer than mankind knows, but world is not ready yet, many will have tribulations before the day of revealing. Keep your faith it is a shield against the adversary Satan, the sword is to live as Christ showed.

      • san

        Just like santa Christ isn’t real either. All bunch of made up crap. Everything written in a book by man.

        • Spiritoftruth

          Mankind’s own science and historical records prove Jesus Christ lived. Ye can deny if wish but it is a fact.

    • Oleg Hikaru Kei

      Sometimes in order to enforce all the realism, skepticism and critical thinking we should just ban all the fiction from children’s eyes and tell them only the reality in the negative point. Wars, murders, killings, nuclear explosions, thefts, abductions, rapes, natural disasters… Even fiction movies/books involving these themes should also be banned.

    • Kick’in It

      Mathew, “Santa Clause, easter bunny, tooth fairy etc[.]” are non-existing. But GOD IS REAL. THERE”S NO EVIDENCE, BUT HE IS REAL. GOD”S NOT DEAD.

  • Crowther Amanda-Beth

    Fantasy starts age 3. Secondly huge diffrence in fantasy encouraging imagination and lying to children and I despite my gender have even donned the santa suit a few times. How my dad treated Santa do to mine and sister’s insainty was he is make belief, pretend a fun story. Even my half sister and half brother knew my dad bought gift pretending it was Santa and that if gift had to be put together elf mana(me Mana was their nickname for me) put it together as dad was so inept with tools. It was pretend which is magical but not makong them believe in falsity or a lie.

  • Jack

    Personally this is stupid. I am 12 years old and of course I know santa is not real. But any kid could believe in him and come onto this site and find the truth. Us kids are not dumb, we can search things up on the internet too.

    • Don Wright

      That’s a very good point, Jack but, this discussion is primarily about people (like myself) who were lied to about Santa Claus BEFORE the Internet came around. I know it must be difficult for a 12 year old to imagine a time when there was no Internet but, in the scheme of things, global communication is a relatively new thing.

      It will be interesting to see how the expanse of technology affects future generations belief systems, especially with younger and younger children becoming computer savvy and exposed to the wealth of information available on the Internet.

      It’s a “Brave New World” and I am happy to be a part of it. :)

  • realgone222

    For the Santa deniers on here let me be clear, you can post idiotic comments on message boards like this and wallow in your own unhappiness and self pity. However, if I encounter one of you in public making these comments in front of children about how there is no Santa, be prepared for my wrath. I will tear you apart with my bear hands. I don’t care if you were a sensitive pathetic liberal that had their feelings hurt as a child, a religious douche that is fixated on Jesus, or some anti-american “immigrant” that wasn’t exposed to American traditions, you will experience a devastating correcting of your thought process from me.

    • B.J.

      There’s the holiday spirit! :)

    • jim smith

      I can’t wait to meet you in public. It won’t be my child exposing the myth of Santa to your 6 year old. It will be me. And I will be dressed as Santa at the mall. And when your little dipsht sits on my lap, I will fill their ears with the truth.

      • Mac Kids Mom

        Wow, aren’t you a lovely person.

    • Don Wright

      Spoken like a true “joker.”

  • Jeanette O’Toole

    Here’s a post your readers might enjoy:

  • John

    Ever wonder what the myth or deception was before Santa? Children can be led to beliefs that are not real is the bigger issue, some of which continue throughout their lives.
    Should one be lied to about adoption, the wrong father or other family issues also?
    Before the birth of Jesus or the stories about who he was, what he did and why he was immortalized, what did people lie to children about?
    This might be a good time to let kids know that many things are not real – TV shows, movies, games where people are killed, cartoons where characters are not really hurt and injured. Whether or not one decides to confess to their children, they should discuss how there are many things that a deceiving, but they can always count on the ones they love and never on the ones they do not. Then, if deception happens with loved ones, they can move on to the real world.
    Parables have been taught for lessons for many decades – they are not real or even based on real-life events.
    Why are some religions more believable than others?
    Were we really lied to for our own good or was a way for children to learn not to count on anyone – toughens the little brats up a bit :–)

  • m k

    If you want to see the magic and fantasy in your child’s life and understand their aging and rationale, teach Santa. If you want a third party to blame when your child argues s/he did not ask for that for Christmas, teach Santa.
    If you want NO magic and to be begged for every toy and thing instead of Santa bringing it, do not use Santa.
    Children need and excel in fantasy, and are so charming in it. If you are still mad at your parents after one year finding they relished childhood fantasy, maybe there are psychological issues you possess. They loved watching you be anxious for Santa……….

  • m k

    It all balances out because soon they will be teens and always telling you the truth

    • Andrew


  • William Trew Merrick

    You can get all the benefits mentioned here without lying.

    Ever read Lord of the Rings? Harry Potter? How about any one of the Hans Christian Anderson stories?

    Why not tell children that these stories are real, too? We’d have even more “wonder”! Or is the Santa myth perfectly calibrated to be a wonder generator without blowing any circuits?

    What disgusts me about this whole discussion is the amount of cognitive-dissonance-dodging that takes place in the face of what boils down to child abuse. Lying is abusive. Doing it to children is worse, because they are at a physical disadvantage.

    There are a bunch of “experts” who claim that “imagination is a very important part of child development” – and then jump to the insane conclusion that Santa is the epitome of using one’s imagination.

    This is transparently false, however, when you realize that imagination is something you use to think about things you know aren’t real.

    Kids are being told, however, that Santa is real – so there’s no imagination there… so there’s no wonder…

    It’s no wonder that, while they read novels and indulge in fantasy-driven conversations, adults don’t care about Santa. Except insofar as he supplies control over their children and a lazy means of extracting some vicarious wonder.

    Whoever thinks that Santa is the best source of imagination and wonder for a child clearly spends no time with, or pays no attention to, children.

    More Resources:

  • Jennica

    I don’t understand this?
    Why are people so harsh about telling child about Santa? Saying we lie to them about this and are horrible for it. As a parent, you lie to your child sometimes.
    I mean, how many people here are going to tell the truth of how babies are made to their children?
    I’ll tell you what, most of you will lie of how babies are made. You aren’t going to tell them about sex if they aren’t old enough. You will find some way of explaining some silly story of how a baby is born or how the baby is made. Isn’t that lying to your children?
    Or how “My parents can lie to me, but I can’t” Well, then a child might as well think, “Why can my parents say certain words, yet I get yelled at if I say them?”
    Or another lie “I’ll always be there for you” You say that, making them believe you will, but what happens if you get a divorce and you can’t be there for them, or you die. You have then lied to a child as well.
    Even telling a child to believe that they are safe at home, when in truth, they aren’t. They could be kidnapped or killed in their own house. So that’s a lie as well. But we still tell them.

    • Diplodocus

      As a parent, when my son asks me a “scandalous” question, yes, I answer it. My answers have increased in depth and complexity, but I’ve never made things up or glossed things over. A lot can be said for having honest and open communication with your child.

  • Heather W

    We just had the Elf leave for my bonus daughter (I am vehemently against it and after a discussion with her mom and my hubs we decided it was time for the Elf to leave the shelf). She cried when she read the poem from “the Elf” – and we didn’t even tell her it isn’t real. Then when she told her mom she had bad news about the Elf, she cried again. Others can call it what they want, but a lie is a lie. And lying to kids is not okay. It is a big deal and some of them are sensitive. I cannot even imagine what will happen when she finds out about Santa. She just turned nine and COMPLETELY believes Santa came to our rental house (we live in another state and rent a house when we visit) and that he also went to her house. Goodness help us all.

    Imagination and lies are two different things. How can one be an example to children when you carry out a years’ long lie? Not okay. Though my bonus daughter already believed when I met her, we’re working on how to explain where Santa came from so she isn’t completely devastated, but as an adult she trusts and confides in, I DO worry she will be upset with me most especially for lying to her. Our relationship is special and built on a lot of trust. It sucks.

    I was raised WITHOUT Santa and give thanks for it. And all these people touting about magic – there is so much magic in real life! There is magic in giving – that is what the holidays are about- GIVING. Life is so beautiful there is no reason to make up some guy that watches you all of the time to fulfill some Christmas fantasy of yours. Show your kids the beauty in REAL LIFE – that is so much better. Santa perpetuates entitlement, greed, bribery, the list goes on (and you don’t think so? – just look around you for a little while).

    And if you’re a Christian, doesn’t God already watch for you?

    One opinion. I know a lot of others do not agree, but again, so thankful my parents didn’t lie to us. They loved us enough to give us the magic of real life and they will always have such admiration from me for it.

  • Tony McGurk

    We told our kids from the start the truth about Santa not being real. One day my wife got hauled into the kindergarten teachers office for a stern lecture because our son was telling other kids Santa wasn’t real which upset a lot of angry parents. My wife asked the teacher “So is Santa real?” The teacher had to reply “No”. Then my wife asked her “So what’s the problem? Is our son in trouble for being truthful?” The teacher had not much else to say.
    Like some others have said I had a real mistrust of my parents when I found out & as a kid resented that they lied to me all those years. As a kid who grew up in the 60’s my parents were always really big on proper values & honesty was really important. I felt at the time that if I got caught lying over even just a small matter I would get in big trouble but it was ok for them to lie over what was to me such a big deal

    • Don Wright

      Don’t get me wrong; I’m on your side. People shouldn’t lie especially to their kids but, there is something to be said about discretion. What I am trying to say is that: One shouldn’t lie but, they don’t always have to tell the truth.

      In the case with your son, it is good that you told him the truth but, it wasn’t necessarily good that he then, in turn, imposed that truth onto other unwitting children whose parent had decided to perpetrate the lie to. Breaking the news about Santa should have been the parents prerogative. IMHO.

      It’s kind of like, if an vegetarian were to go into a restaurant and go table to table trying to convince people that it was wrong to eat meat. They may may right but, it’s not an appropriate setting to bring up the topic.

      Just sayin’.

  • Redtabby21

    I have twins age 13 and a daughter of 11 who still believe in Santa. I told the twins that when you are 13 Santa does not come anymore so my daughter only has one year left for him to visit. They have accepted my story. When told by them that their friends say he is not real I reply that it is because they do not believe and nor do their parents. I make sure to wrap presents for my daughter in paper with Santa on it and all other presents for my twins plus extras from mummy in daddy in different paper. Mince pie, milk and a carrot is left out too plus a trail of glitter from the plate to the tree. Also I make sure the illusion is real by not duplicating presents for the twins I have given from Santa. In a world of child abuse, unwanted pregnancies, war and destruction, is there any harm in keeping the magical illusion alive a little bit longer.?

    • jim smith

      Well, ask your 13 year olds when then are 30.

    • Don Wright

      I can see allot of therapy in the future for your poor children.

  • Spiritoftruth

    Lies can hurt people adults lie but so do little children and lies can bring woe unto all. lying is never a good thing and if a person even white lies they must realise it is not a good thing either even if they trying to avoid drama.

  • Clophaip

    I don’t know what’s wrong with you all. My parents told me from the beginning that these are all stories. Tales, movies, just everything. It doesn’t take your fun of watching Santa movies or any other movies because they are generally made up. If you believed in any of that, you must’ve been a very stupid kid. There are already enough lies in this cruel world, parents shouldn’t deceive their kids with even more unnecessary stuff. The kid would go from happy to devastated. However, if you tell the truth from the beginning, the kid stays stable. It doesn’t matter who buys the presents. Anyway, what’s so cool about an old fat man stalking your house and stealing your cookies?

  • Oleg Hikaru Kei

    When I was 15-16 I abolished all the christmas traditions and even converted to militant atheism, right on Christmas… I pledged to offend and abuse all kids and adults who believe in any make-believe situation (including Santa Claus) and even all religious people, and to work like a coal miner while paying all my salary as a 100% tax – therefore accepting my life as slavery, as a race that I won’t win regardless of anything. I agreed that no matter what, I won’t be able to buy or save up for anything I want because I pay taxes. I accepted as a fact that adults who have escapist hobbies are always superior to children making up illusions or theme worlds to live in, and that logic and reason, science and knowledge is always superior to creativity, culture and morals. I accepted that creepy and unpleasant but good things are better than cute or happy but bad ones, parents who spank and whip children for a reason (including personal fun) are better and superior to parents who think it’s all child abuse and let the child be child, that if something is sad then it’s true even if there is contradicting evidence.

    But right at like 18 I understood it’s all wrong… and feel very wrong about all that… thanks to my parents… who assume they believe in Christmas traditions and even force me to accept presents.

  • lroy77

    Well, the same argument can also be said for the Tooth Fairy (who made a return trip when I was 22 and had to have my wisdom teeth out…I warned “him” that the price had gone up) and the Easter Bunny.

    When the time comes, just say that “Santa” as you know it is not true but the CONCEPT is based on Saint Nicholas—who was a very real person who lived a long time ago.

    Say, the Easter Bunny doesn’t really exist, but there are real bunnies who live in the yard and they usually come out in the spring. Also, tradition is that a bunny was outside Jesus’ tomb and that is the REAL origin of the Easter Bunny.

  • Briddy Hll

    the very same happened to me, I got over it ok as I grew up. but in the school playground I argued SC was real. My Mum said so! I felt a proper twerp when it dawned on me. All the other kids making fun of me. jeering, etc etc…. But me and mother had a good relationship for the rest of our lives. and all is at peace .Briddy

  • Ellen

    I think that as long kids believe in Santa Claus on their own, it’s okay to continue with the tale about Santa Claus. However, if a child does make the call about whether Santa exists or not, I think that parents should be honest. Have a talk with children about Santa Claus and the patron saint, Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was a saint who gave to poor children. When I was in first grade, I said that there is no Santa Claus, and my mom said “Oh, no, there is a Santa Claus, if you don’t believe in him, he will know and you won’t get presents.” I felt bad about that when my mom came short of yelling at me for not believing in Santa Claus. When I was about nine or ten, my brother and sister sat down with me and asked me if Santa Claus is real. I probably took five minutes before answering, then I said no, I guess not. They told me that I was right. I then asked why our mom lied to me before. My mom said that she believes that children should believe in Santa Claus until they are older. She never said what age was considered older. I did tell my mom that she should not have lied to me. When children find out from any sources, whether it is cousins, kids in the neighborhood or school, etc., parents should not deceive them further. I’m not saying that it is immature to believe in Santa, but when a child questions it or stops believing, it is a sign that they are growing up. In my day, kids were teased if they believed in Santa Claus. Just as the comment below said that it can compromise a faith level in their parents. If they lie about Santa Claus, then what else will they lie about?

  • Richmond Gal

    My oldest daughter stil believes, but she tells me others her age do not

  • Janet L Davis


    No wonder kids are ruling the roost in their homes, the parents today are a bunch of whining, crybaby pusses! Not all of them, but a lot.

    Jeez, get over it. Are you going to start a movement to ban the Santa tradition because of “future harm & trauma” it may cause? What a load of pussies…

    My son was told that Santa did not exist, he’s 9, I didn’t want to lie to him to keep the tradition going…my husband saved the day, saying, “it’s not up to so & so to tell you what to believe, you decide for yourself, if you believe in Santa then he’s real to you, no matter what anyone else thinks…” Our son smiled & walked away…and we didn’t lie.

    Get a grip people & stop acting like a bunch of fragile babies…Jesus!

    • Diplodocus

      And yet the tradition was started somehow?

  • good christmas no lies story

    with my first child I said-
    child “mom is santa real I had a dream hes not’
    mw “son I’m not going to lie to you but I will not tell you if he is or not. I think its best you come to your own understanding by your own ideas”
    he said” I believe hes real”
    the next time he asked it was next year” mom is santa real?”
    me”son I cannot say but I will not lie”
    son”mom that means hes not real I know you”
    me” do you really want to know the truth son? really?”
    son “no”
    me then you must come to your ownunderstanding by your own tme”
    put the responsibility where it belongs…on the kid to decide if he wants to believe or not. that way your not responsible for lying and also not responsible for crushing his fantasy play.
    the third year he asked ” mom is santa real?”
    me” I cannot lie do you really want to know the truth?”
    son”yes…wait …no..wait..yes”
    me” yes or no?”
    son “tell me”
    me “no dear hes not real”
    that next morning on Christmas he was aware I had set out presents for his brothers however…my two neighbors had secretly in the night put presents in stockings on our doorsteps for all of us … I opened the door and said… “maybe he is real!?!?” who did this (I didn’t know so it was pretty fun actually! and my surprise was genuine so it really amped up is mystery of truth!”
    this year he is 9. and this year ill say the same thing if he asks lol

  • Kaycee

    I’m 28 and my Mom still tells me Santa is real!!! HAHA I never felt an ounce of betrayal. It’s a fun tradition. His spirit lives on!

  • vivian garcia

    my parents told me from the beginning that Santa wasn’t real but they explained to me in a way where i can handle the whole Santa thing without being lied to. From what i got was that Santa is like an embodiment of happiness, joy, giving to others in need that hypes people to be good through December. Although the Santa phenomenon that mainstream is pure fantasy, it was based on st. Nicholas who was a very kind man and had a reputation for helping the poor and giving gifts to people who needed it. stories and fantasy is suppose to bring joy, happy moments plus teach you on being helpful to people in need and family bonds. i can see why people have a black and white debate on this but i feel that explaining the whole concept to your kids before celebration can be good as reading fiction and watching movies about fiction characters with a moral.

  • Baron

    It is a LIE! Period. Put lipstick on a pig and it’s still a pig. Tell children the truth.

  • Jeffrey Jacobsen

    I regret telling my kids about Santa. There’s a lot of things that could’ve have gone wrong. You never know. One minute you’re gainfully employed, kids are well behaved all year long, and bam! You’re layed off in October and you’re well behaved kids get crap compared to the neighborhood. It’s almost as bad as lying about some magic man who died for our sins. It’s all bologna. How about that for diving right in to being cast out. You all do what you want, it’s a free country… for now. I’ll stick with telling my kids everything I know for a fact is true instead of teaching them to have faith. They’ll be much better off knowing they are loved and treated with respect. I’m done and leaving. Go ahead and talk smack about the atheist who loathes christmas time so you can feel better about your bull. Happy Holidays from me to Trump >:)

  • Jakesnake3061

    Good job for leaving this on my screen dad! :(

    im 11 and beleved in santa untill i saw this on my screen

  • yeonho

    i am a kid and now i know the secret

  • Kick’in It

    Let love explode and bring the dead to life
    A love so bold
    To seek a revolution somehow
    Let love explode and bring the dead to life
    A love so bold
    To bring a revolution somehow
    Now I’m lost in Your freedom
    In this world I’ll overcome
    My God’s not dead
    He’s surely alive
    He’s living on the inside
    Roaring like a lion
    God’s not dead
    He’s surely alive
    He’s living on the inside
    Roaring like a lion
    Roaring, He’s roaring, He’s roaring like a lion
    Let hope arise and make the darkness hide
    My faith is dead I need resurrection somehow
    Now I’m lost in Your freedom
    In this world I’ll overcome
    My God’s not dead
    He’s surely alive
    He’s living on the inside
    Roaring like a lion
    God’s not dead
    He’s surely alive
    He’s living on the inside
    Roaring like a lion
    Roaring, He’s roaring, He’s roaring like a lion
    He’s roaring, He’s roaring
    Let heaven roar and fire fall
    Come shake the ground
    With the sound of revival
    Let heaven roar and fire fall
    Come shake the ground
    With the sound of revival
    Let heaven roar (Let heaven roar) and fire fall
    Come shake the ground
    With the sound of revival
    He’s living on the inside
    Roaring like a lion
    God’s not dead
    He’s surely alive
    He’s living on the inside
    Roaring like a lion
    God’s not dead
    He’s surely alive
    He’s living on the inside
    Roaring like a lion
    God’s not dead
    He’s surely alive
    He’s living on the inside
    Roaring like a lion
    He’s roaring, He’s roaring, He’s roaring like a lion
    He’s roaring, He’s roaring, He’s roaring like a lion (Roaring like a lion)

  • Kick’in It

    “Erin, I am 20 years old and my parents told all of us the truth from the start. Instead of telling us the false story of “santa clause”, they told us the REAL story of Saint Nicholas. And how he was a real man with a big heart that loved making toys for the children in his town. We grew up, not feeling left out from the “magic” of Christmas, because the real and honest story felt just as magical and warm hearted. I plan to do the same with my kids and teach them the TRUE story of Saint Nic. I just wanted to share this with you in case you decide to do the same. I commend you for speaking your heart even though others are quick to judge. Congratulations on the carrying of your first child! May God bless your family!” That’s beautiful. God Blessings to you!

  • Gail Hartig

    My parents always left the decision of whether Santa Claus was real or not, up to me. They never told me yes or no when I asked if Santa was real. My father would say, “Well do you believe in Santa?” I’d say, “yes” and he’d say, “Well there you go.” and that was that. I finally came to the realization myself and told my dad I didn’t believe in Santa anymore and he said, “Well there you go,” and that was that. I did the same thing with my kids and they were never angry when they found out, because it was all left up to them and their imagination.

  • Coco Cabana

    Hmmm, kids come through it “unscathed” huh? When I ask people about the time they learned Santa isn’t real, it always makes for a compelling story – like, THE OPPOSITE of this insipid article, I can’t believe the author makes a living writing.

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