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Honey Boo Boo Teaches Kids About Playing Santa This Christmas

by Ericka Sóuter on December 4, 2012 at 5:57 PM

honey boo booSay what you will about Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson and her family. One thing's for sure: they are feeling the Christmas spirit. They recently bought $3,200 worth of toys for poor kids in their community with money donated by their fans. It's such a wonderful gesture and a great example to other children. Though it brings up a prickly problem for us parents. How do we teach our kids to donate gifts to less fortunate children during the holidays without ruining the Santa myth? It's a problem I recently faced with my own incredibly shrewd 4-year-old when I let it slip that we were buying gifts for others in need.

His immediate reaction? "But Santa buys Christmas presents," he said as a matter of fact. I swear a bead of sweat formed on my brow as I tried to figure out what to say. He is entirely too young to start questioning whether Santa is real. I want him to believe for years to come. That said, he's a smart kid. So I decided to tell him a half-truth.

I explained that Santa buys most of the gifts, but not all of them. He's so busy and has so many toys to give that mommies and daddies help Santa out and buy some gifts too. And because some children’s parents cannot afford to buy those extra gifts, we should help so that everyone has a nice Christmas.

Him: Why can’t they buy their kids gifts?

Me: Maybe they lost their jobs and don’t have money?

Him: Why?

Me: Sometimes that happens.

Him: Can they buy food?

Me: Sometimes they don’t even have enough for food

Him: They can have some of my food and toys.

So yes, I let him know that parents are in on the gift-giving too and that seemed perfectly reasonable to him. He thinks it's cool that I am "Santa's helper" and that he can be too. He really likes the idea of making other kids happy at Christmas. I'm beyond proud that he is so caring. And to be honest, this makes things a heck of a lot easier going forward. Now if he sees a wrapped present before Christmas morning, he won't be so suspicious. 

How do you explain gifts that aren't from Santa to your kids?


Image via TLC

Filed Under: honey boo boo


  • mompam


    December 4, 2012 at 6:33 PM
    I also have problems with this one. My kids help donate food, clothes and money, but i avoid giving toys in front of my kids. I'm sure someone will bash me for this.
  • anony...
    -- Nonmember comment from


    December 4, 2012 at 7:47 PM
    I always told my kids that some kids move around because their families don't have much money and Santa might not be able to find them so we help so they'll still have presents. Not too much detail but satisfies.
  • Cleo07


    December 4, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    I told my kids that children in poor families tended to get clothing, shoes and other essentials from Santa so we were buying the fun stuff.

  • Chris...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Christina Michelle Wolgamot

    December 5, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    In our house Santa only brings one maybe two things (the big ticket item(s)) and the stocking. The rest of the presents are from mom and dad, grandma and gandpa, and great grandma and grandpa under our tree. Makes it easier to explain that some mom's and dad's can't buy their kids many presents and we are trying to help out.

  • Evaly...


    December 5, 2012 at 5:36 AM

    I agree ^^^

  • Todd...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Todd Vrancic

    December 5, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    We told our kids that Santa has expenses (reindeer food, paying the elves, buying the toys the elves can't make and utilities) so people send him the kids' wish lists with what money they could afford to send.  That explains why people help by buying some toys for the kids whose parents can't afford to send Santa money.

  • Amand...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Amanda Burke

    December 10, 2012 at 9:13 PM
    I Only give my children a few presents from santa and the rest are from me and their father. I personally find this useful because what if I at some point become financially unstable and can't buy all of "Santa's" presents, I would never want to see the hurt and disbelief on my childrens face! My children are great about wanting to help people that truly need it!
  • Renee...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Renee Fields Blackburn

    December 10, 2012 at 9:35 PM
    I remember when I found out "Santa" wasn't real! It broke my heart. I promised NEVER to do this to my children. I told my kids they had a "secret Santa" and that they would find out who it was when they were old enough. They got only 1 gift and their stocking was from their "secret Santa". My Children are 18 and 16 and appreciate that I didn't ruin the whole "Santa" bit for them, but appreciate more that I didn't break their heart by telling them there really was a man that came down the chimney blah blah blah... I don't want my children to lie to me, so why would I lie for years to them then break their hearts! Christmas is about Christ anyway, not a man in a red suit!
  • Kerst...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Kersten Hackney

    December 10, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    We've told our 4 year old from the very start that Santa is REAL.  Santa is people donating Toys for Tots, taking ornaments off the "Giving Trees" etc.  Because that is what I truly believe.  Santa is real, it's all of us.

  • Darcy...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Darcy Nestler

    December 11, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    @ ReneeFields Blackburn... I feel the same way.  I just tell my kids that Jesus would want us to help kids whose parents don't have the money to buy presents.  They actually don't ask any questions about Santa doing it.  But then again, I never really emphasized Santa because I don't want the kiddos to think thats what Christmas is all about. 

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