Santa was a fun tradition that my family participated in as I was growing up. When my husband and I became parents, many people asked if we were going to continue this tradition. I definitely wanted to have Santa be a part of our celebrations but on a very small scale.
To keep Santa as a minimal part of our holidays, my husband and I wanted to provide the “big ticket” items and Santa could bring a small gift our kids asked him for. We visited Santa once at the mall during holidays and didn’t really talk much about him again until Christmas Eve. Santa’s gifts were unconditional, whether the kids were naughty or nice. We didn’t emphasize their behavior as a way to get presents.
The Truth About Santa
Naturally, the time came for my oldest to find out the truth about Santa. He was 9—a few days from turning 10. He had been making little hints about how it was impossible for Santa to travel that distance in one night and other logical conclusions. I was worried he would be really upset and mad at us, and that his Christmas would be ruined that year.
I remember telling him that yes, we were the ones who set out the Santa gifts. However, the feelings of excitement and anticipation were real and that was something we really wanted him to understand. We also talked about the real Father Christmas and what a kind person he was. I also didn’t want the fun to be over for him, so I made sure to give him opportunities to be a “Secret Santa” himself and help make Christmas fun for his family too.
An Interview with Ben About Santa Two Years Later
Mom (Me): Ben, do you remember how you found out that Santa wasn’t the person to deliver the presents on Christmas morning?
Ben: Well, I started thinking about how impossible it was for Santa to travel in one night. It didn’t make sense. I figured out the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy, and it made sense that Santa was the same.
Mom: Were you upset with us that we lied to you all of those years?
Ben: No. It was fun to think about Santa, and I like being a part of the secret now.
Mom: What do you like about knowing the secret now?
Ben: I like to help purchase Santa gifts for my brother and stocking stuffers.
Mom: Is it hard to keep this secret from your brother and cousins?
Ben: Sometimes, but I want them to have fun too. It’s fun to be a part of the secret.
Mom: Are you glad we did the Santa tradition?
Santa or Not?
Like Ben, my husband and I are thankful we chose to do this tradition. I’m not sure what will happen with the younger brother when he finds out, but we will likely have the same talk with him.
Disclaimer: Please know that I believe each family makes the best decision for their family, and I am not here to judge any family that does/does not have Santa visit their home.