39 answers

What Age Do Kids Learn the Truth About Santa?

My oldest daughter will by 9 in November and we got her a go-cart for her birthday. Problem is Christmas is right around the corner and there is no way to TOP this present. Part of me wants to say hey this is part of your Christmas present too but she still believes in Santa and thinks that the money for x-mas presents isn't coming out of our pocket. We are on a tight budget and can't afford a lot for X-mas. I don't want to crush her childhood fantasy but when is it too old to still believe in Santa? I'm just curious what other Moms have done in similar situations. And when their Kids stopped believing. She has questioned it in the past and I encouraged her to still believe. Thanks for any responses.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your advice. Kayla loved her go-cart and just yesterday I ended up telling her the truth about Santa. She said something along the line of wanting clothes for X-mas but then said but Santa will bring me all kinds of toys. Then she started coming right out and asking if he was real. I told her she was old enough to know the truth, I explained it and she took it really well and said thanks for all the wonderful gifts she got over the years. I told her Santa is the like the spirt of giving and that she has to keep the secret for her little sister and not ruin it for any other little kids who still believe. Thanks again for all the advice! :)

Featured Answers

I would tell her that Santa told you this would be too big for his sleigh and he had to drop it off early and since the elves finished it already he thought he could bring it now.

She is at the age where she might question if Santa is real or not. It's a sad time but can also be a fun time. Now she can really look forward to giving gifts. Take her to the $ Store and have her buy gifts for grandma & grandpa, mom & dad. Not believing in Santa can be just as much fun as believing!

And why do you feel you have to top her gift for each gift giving/receiving occasion? Does this mean the gifts will get bigger and more expensive each year? Will she get a car next year? When will she start getting diamonds? Want to adopt me?

My daughter was told at 9 in school that there was no Santa. We explained that we believe in the idea of santa and explained to her all about St. Nicholas.

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I told my younger kids that I heard some sad news, Santa had some budget cuts too, so they had to let go of some elves so there might be less presents this year. They were ok with it. Once my oldest went into middle school (she was going on 11) I told her the truth. I didn't want older kids to make fun of her. I explained to her that Santa is not a real person but, he lives in all of our hearts and helps us celebrate the love Jesus has for all children. Then I let her know that now she canhelp us share this special ove with her brother and sister. It made her feel a part of something bigger than herself. My kids had friend that were younger who tried to convince them Santa was not real, but my kids still really wanted to believe and argued with them that their parents did not have that kind of money and no time to shop or wrap!
As an aside - I have bought quite a few gifts on Ebay for good prices. You need to know your prices and be willing to stop bidding once it's above your range. I have also gone to places like Big Lots and Family Dollar. I buy a little here and there starting in the summer and put it away to make the budget stretch. I keep a list of what I bought on the computer so I don't forget.
Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful

She will tell you when she doesnt believe. No reason to shatter her dreams. Just like so many other things, they will let us know when they are ready. My son started hinting that there was no santa a few years ago. We told him what we believe, that ok, Santa is NOT a big man in a red suit coming into our house in the middle of the night (and these days, how scary is THAT notion anyway!). But Santa is when miracles happen at Christmastime, Santa is all of the goodness and joy that you feel at Christmastime. Santa is hope and love and warmth and the feeling you get when you GET and when you GIVE a gift that someone loves. So, without actually saying that WE are Santa, we still say that yes, the gifts come from Mom and Dad and Santa. Because isnt it true? And couldnt we all use a Christmas miracle and some Christmas joy? I am 41 years old, and I still believe in Santa. Not the big man in the red suit, but the joy I get giving and sharing at Christmas. And we have now instilled that in our almost 11 year old. He still believes in Santa and always will. And now he loves to give as much as he loves to get.
I hope that helps. I would definitely tell her that times are tight. So the go cart is going to be part of her Christmas gifts. She will understand. Christmas should not just be about getting. Teach her to love giving too. Best of luck and an early Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah (we celebrate both)!

2 moms found this helpful

My children are grown now, but they still receive a gift from "Santa" each year. It helps them to remember that each of us is a Santa. Our children were 10 and 11 when they admitted to not thinking there was a Santa, but I suspect that they had classmates who had told them earlier than that. The book "Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus" can be helpful. I would ask your daughter what she thinks about Santa. If she's not sure, then begin to introduce the idea that there isn't just one Santa . That there are many, and now she's old enough to be one too. She doesn't have to BUY a present for anyone. A present can be a drawing, a poem, a note to a family member or friend, a gift of time ( putting away the dishes, playing a board or card game, taking a walk, etc.) That was how we let our children know about Santa. After all, Christmas is really about Jesus' birth, not about getting a pile of presents under the tree. Given the tough economic times most of us face, perhaps that message will come through more clearly this year.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,
I don't know what is the appropriate age... my mom told me the truth when I was done with elementary school and moving to the next school; she assumed that the older kids would know the truth and tell us.
But I do have a piece of advice that I think a lot of parents forget about. I think that it is important to tell your kids that they are now part of the big secret! Remind her how much fun it was for her to believe in Santa and tell her how many children still DO believe in Santa. Now that she knows the truth, she has to keep it a secret so that other children can enjoy Santa the way that she did.
You could even ask her if she wants to help "play Santa." You mentioned that money is tight (it is at our house, too!). But think of how many families can't afford any gifts for their kids. Maybe your daughter would feel important if she could pick out a new toy (and help pay for it) and donate it to Toys for Tots or an adopt a family program. I know that in my family we get more excited about giving gifts as opposed to receiving them. If you try to instill that in her at a young age, I don't think she will be so bummed to learn about Santa. If she is already questioning it, then maybe it is time. Just choose your words carefully - my cousin (who is 28) still gets teary eyed when she talks about the day that her mom told her the truth; she was crushed! But I think that if your daughter is asking, she is ready! Sometimes it is harder for the parents to let go of that Christmas fantasy then it is for the kids. Best of luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful

I would tell her that Santa told you this would be too big for his sleigh and he had to drop it off early and since the elves finished it already he thought he could bring it now.

My feelings... the longer she believes the better. My daughter just turned 9 in October. She still believes in Santa, despite all the things she hears in school. She has friends tell her that there is no such thing, or that mommy and daddy are santa. I tell her that it is her choice whether to believe in Santa or not. And thats all I said. So as far as I know, she believes. I am a kid at heart and I still believe in Santa. Its magical and mystical. So for as long as I can keep my children believing the better.

Mom of 3 beautiful children, 9,5 & 3

You have tons of different responses... just thought i'd throw my own in too :)
Childhood is so fleeting nowadays, i feel that the magic of Santa and what he stands for is a shame to throw away. As far as we knew, last year my step-daughter (then 9) still believed. But then again I knew about Santa for years before my parents found out, but we never stopped getting Santa gifts :) And I was NEVER emotionally scarred for them "lying" to me... i don't know of any of my friends who were either. To me Santa is just a part of childhood - a fun part! It was never made the central part of Christmas, but it was a part of every year i can remember. We focused on the "true" original meaning behind Christmas - the birth of Jesus, that's why we have the day in the first place! But that never stopped my family from experiencing all parts of the holiday - cutting down a tree, making cookies, sticky buns Christmas morning and exchanging gifts with all members of the family and SANTA. Its so full of magic and family and love. My favorite holiday!!

As far as the gift delemma - I understand about being financially limited, i had a big moment this year worrying that i couldn't keep up with the expectations my step-daughter has of Christmas at our house (especially since she has her mom's family too and i sometimes worry too much about her comparison of that home and ours!) but my husband reminded me that a few special gifts are much more meaningful and memorable than the many random things she "really really wants" but are forgotten soon after... and its the traditions and family time we spend together that really matters. There is nothing wrong with Santa not giving your little one a huge gift - hopefully you have instilled enough gratefullness in her that she'll appreciate and enjoy any gift she receives and not compare it from one holiday to another!!

Also, i think focusing on the excitement of giving to others is a special part of Christmas! My step-daughter LOVES the shopping day where she gets to buy something for each grandparent, aunt, uncle and cousin at the dollar store.

You have so many different answers from everyone, but you have to do what feels right for your little girl and your family! Hope you can sift through all the responses and find an answer that helps you make the right choice for you.
Enjoy your holidays!!! :)

Hi A.
My daughter turned 9 in April. She just came to me and my husband one day (I think in January) and asked, if there really is a Santa. We looked at eachother and smiled. I asked her why is she asking us this. Her answer was quite funny, she said that she saw Santa wrapping paper under my bed (I always used different paper for the "Santa" gifts. So, we did tell her that a long time ago there was a Santa but now to keep tradition, moms and dads took over his job. She wasn't upset at all. She laughed because she couldn't believe we went through all of that just to keep the spirit of Santa. (My daughter speaks as if she is much older than she is. )
Now, this Christmas I am glad she knows because we are in the same $$ boat you are. No she won't expect so many things. It is a relief really! Good luck, let me know how you make out.
Sometimes moms and dads need to do what we have to.
C. in Carlstadt, NJ

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