Your Kid Doesn't Want to Know the Truth About Santa

santaThink your savvy, jaded kid is ready to learn the truth about Santa Claus? Guess again. You may want to delay pulling back the curtain on the Jolly One -- at least for another year. I wish I had, anyway.

Last year, when my son was almost 7 (you know, the "age of reason"), he started pestering us about Santa, wanting to know if he was a real person. We could have kept the legend going. It wouldn't have been that hard. But instead I followed some parenting advice I'd heard and it TOTALLY BACKFIRED.

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Our son had noticed all the different Santas everywhere, but that's easy to explain away: Santa needs extra helpers to visit all the kids around the world while he's busy in his workshop. But he was also starting to pick apart the logic. "How does Santa visit everyone in one night? We don't have a chimney, so does he have a key to our apartment? How come we never see reindeer tracks on our roof?" And so finally, I used a line I'd heard from another parent. I turned the question back on him. "Well, what do you think?"

He called my bluff and said, "I don't think Santa exists." Too soon I said, "Yup, you're right. There is no Santa Claus." Whenever I think back on this scene, I want to time-travel back to last-year-me and yell, "NOOOOOO! DON'T TELL HIM THE TRUTH! SHUT UP, SPOILER MOM!" Because when I confirmed his suspicion, he looked disappointed. "Did you want to keep believing in Santa?" I asked. "Yeah, I kind of did."

I didn't have to jump in so quickly to agree that there is no Santa. Of course there's a Santa -- me, his dad, his grandparents, everyone who loves him. We don't wear head-to-toe red and (most of us) don't have jiggly bellies, but for as long as he's a child, we'll be his Santa. My son is okay -- it wasn't that devastating. But I'm sorry I took away a little bit of Christmas magic from our home. And in case you're wondering, no, I'm not answering any questions about the Tooth Fairy until he's at least 12.

Have you told any of your kids about Santa yet? How do you know when they're ready?

 

Image via Tumbleweed:-)/Flickr

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