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“Is Santa Real, Mommy?”

by on Dec.04, 2016, under Communication, Holidays, Learning, Parenting, Sensitive Topics

One of the signs (sometimes laced with a bit of sadness) that your child is growing up is when the inevitable question comes, Is Santa real? While it seems so simple, it is one that puts many a parent into a tail spin.  What should I say? Should I tell him the truth? Should I lie? Won’t he be so disappointed?  What if he accuses me of having lied to him when he finds out the truth?

 Let me put your mind at ease. You have not been lying to your child if you have allowed Santa Claus to be part of your Christmas celebration.  Santa is a cultural myth; he is part of our folklore.

 Almost all young children’s celebration of Christmas has included Santa Claus at some point. He is part of the magic of the holiday. And it is thrilling for children to believe that there is a guy with a white beard and a red suit, who flies through the sky in sleigh pulled by reindeer that carries enough toys for all the children in the whole world. He lands on your roof, finds the exact present you want, comes into your house via the chimney, leaves the gift, eats the cookies, gulps the milk, and climbs back up that same chimney, now off to the next house.  You’d have to believe in magic to buy that one!  How lucky are young children that they do. Oh to believe in magic and Santa again.

 Your child will ask if Santa is real. It might come when he is 5 or even much older, at 8 or 9. The impossibility of the story might just dawn on him, or his buddy who has an older brother might burst his balloon.

 But when your child comes to you, what do you say?  “Well, what do you believe?” Because he wants the magic, he’ll believe. But then that questioning, growing-up voice will persist. “But what do YOU believe?”

 I am not someone who wants to rain on a child’s parade, and I don’t think you are lying.  I think you are doing what your mother did for you, and what her mother did for her. You are passing down the folklore, keeping up the tradition, and allowing your child to fully enjoy the magic while he can.

 When I was a little girl, I believed in Santa Claus. Now that I am grown up, I have different ideas about him. Each person gets to decide for himself if he thinks Santa is real. What I can tell you for sure is that the story of Santa is part of celebrating Christmas, just like Frosty and Christmas trees and lights and wreaths.”

 And when your 10 year old is on the verge of spilling the beans, bring him into your inner circle. “When Grandma was a little girl, her mommy told her about Santa, and when I was little, Grandma told me about Santa, and when you were little, I told you about Santa. And now you get to help me keep the story going and let your little brother believe in Santa. One day, he will figure it out, just like you did. But he’s just a little boy, so help me to pass on the story to him.”

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22 Comments for this entry

  • Nanci Leonard

    Ahhhh,,,,the myths continue…a lovely blog!!
    As always!!

  • Holly Cornish

    Makes me tear up reading this. My son is 6 and his friends have been telling him Santa is not real. Thankfully he still believes despite there comments. Why do they have to go and grow up on us like this. *sigh*

  • Betsy BB

    Yes, Holly, it is truly emotional to watch your child grow up and your role to change. Every stage, however, has its joys and sorrows. That is, after all, what life is all about. And…you will get to it all over again one day with grandbabies!

  • Matt Steiner - Launch Education

    Love this, Betsy. I will be forwarding this post to my mother and her friends. 🙂

  • Anita Kinney

    Thanks Betsy! Will definitely be sharing with my mommy friends…and my husband who hates the thought of lying to our daughter, but doesn’t want to crush her childlike spirit! Your words of wisdom are always helpful, which is why we keep your books on the nightstand!!

    Thanks & Happy Holidays!

  • PartlySunny

    I gave almost that exact same speech the other day (“when I was little…”). What I’m TERRIFIED of is the “Well Mom, if you don’t believe in him, then who do you think brings the presents?” My kids are very logical (my fault) and this is all going to come crashing back down on my head very soon. But hey, I’m sure it’ll make a good blog post.

  • Catherine

    Yes, my 4.5yo asked me who brings the presents yesterday. How do you answer that one?

  • Crystal

    I stuck with family tradition on this one and shared the magic of Santa with my children. My youngest figured out several years ago that Santa is really Mom. Now he insists on calling me Santa! Somehow this has rolled over to me representing Santa online at If you happen to stop by, feel free to leave your wish list. 🙂

  • Betsy BB

    It is the kids who already suspect that something is fishy with the whole Santa Claus thing who ask the questions. My response, Catherine, would be to ask your 4.5 year old, “Who do you think brings them?” At least you’ll have an idea of what’s on his/her mind.

  • Alex

    Hi I’m 7 and I had dowtes about Santa and I was just wondering. Is Santa real. I don’t want u to say ” ask your mum”! Or something do can i have a strait answer.

    Yours faithfully

    Alex from England

  • Betsy

    I am trying to decide if your blog comment is real, just like you are trying to decide if Santa is real. Every family has different ideas about Santa. Sounds like you need a family meeting to discuss this big question.

  • Robbie Colby

    No Santa may not be real but he is a wonderful spirit who will always live in your hearts! Meary Christmas

    -Robbie Colby age 11

  • Alex

    I’m 10 and I looked this up to find out the truth even though the truth hurts at least I won’t have to ask my mom or dad and make them sad:(

  • Betsy BB

    Well, Alex, as people grow up, we each get to make our own decision about what we believe. Maybe you ought to read the book The Polar Express because it talks about believing, if you want.

    About your parents…I don’t think they are really sad. I think they are happy/sad to see you grow up. It hard and it’s wonderful to see your kids grow up. They will be proud of you for making your decisions about what you believe.

  • hggg

    I’m 12 and this confirmed my suspicions… but my parents dont know i know…

  • Molly

    Me and a friend looked this up and are very sad. Do I tell my mom and dad? Do I let them come to me? I’m sad that he is not real but I’m 10 and I think it was time for me to know the truth.

  • Betsy BB

    My guess is that if you were looking it up, you were starting to form your own ideas about whether or not Santa is real. I suggest you have a chat with your parents. They will be happy to see you drawing your own conclusions. And remember, parents are always happy/sad to see their kids grow up. We want you to be grown up, and at the same time we miss having little kids.

  • Miranda

    Im 9 I stopped believing in Santa last year when the handwriting said “to Miranda” looked like my moms. Then started to ask people, they all said “Yed he’s real!” then on thanksgiving I asked my 28 year old cousin. He asked if I really wanted to know the truth and I said yes. He told me and I was about to cry 🙁 even though I do know he’s not real I still ask people and stuff and I thought looking it up would be great so I did. I found a website saying that he’s not real and my sister said that people lie on the internet but now that I found this, I KNOW he’s not real because you can’t be lying to parents
    Thank you for the truth

  • Betsy BB

    In response to Miranda and all the kids who found this blog while trying to find the REAL answer to the question, Is Santa real?, I have a confession to make. When I wrote this blog, it honestly didn’t occur to me that kids would be researching the Santa question online. That’s how old I am! Crazy, right? It was meant to guide parents because parents love to help little children enjoy the holiday and don’t want them to be sad.

    In thinking back, I guess I would still have written it, knowing that some children will find my blog online. If a child is old enough to research the question, he is old enough to think it through for himself and doesn’t need a parent to confirm his suspicions. I certainly didn’t want to be the one to talk cold, hard facts.

    But growing up comes with lots of those cold, hard realities. And learning the truth about Santa is one of them, I guess.

    However, I have to say, there is great joy in believing. And I think it’s part of the joy of Christmas. Even if reality tells you otherwise, you can believe in Santa Claus, if only just for the day.

    So, I hope you enjoy your Christmas celebration anyway you want and have a lovely, special day.

    Merry Christmas!

  • John

    I am 15 and I asked my parents “Is santa real?” My science teacher told me “He is not real” but every year I get one present from him and my parents say he is real. To prove it I asked him in my room and said “Santa if your listening.Give me a sock to signify if your real” sure enough I got a brand new singular sock in my stocking. As long as the kid belives AND the parents belive then santa will come to your house.It takes both the child and the adults to belive otherwise santa says “Why bother if the parents will get him gifts from “santa” “.

  • nickeyp

    nickey 3. nickey is on this website and YOUNOT NICE! well you nice but not nice… santa is real, and mommies and daddies everywhere want to spoil it…

    why do people want to say santa is not real? on dp site they said mommie isn’t real, but now she’s gone… :o( she’s gone to heaven, and I believe and know that there is a heaven just like there’s a santa…


  • Betsy BB

    Dear Nickey. This post was meant for mommies and daddies only. I am not sure what a three year old is doing on the computer or how a three year old can read and respond so well. If not, what is a daddy doing reading a post like this to a little boy who clearly has some really big things he has had to deal with already? Sounds like he needs Santa to be real.

    There are some things from which mommies and daddies need to shield their young children. Every child is different and should be treated accordingly.

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