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

Hi A., I think this depends on the child. Some figure it out early and some want to believe for a long time. My Grandson was 9 last May and something he said the other day told me that he still believes in Santa. If you want to carry out the story, tell her that due to the energy shortage, Santa can only carry small packages this year. Hopefully she will decide on her own to stop believing and not think adults tell tall tales. I can not remember when mine stopped believing but I had many slim years when I could not afford a lot. Be creative..., Santa is getting old, there are millions of children in the world..just so much Santa can do.... My best, Grandma Mary

My baby is still to small to believe in Santa, one way or the other! HOWEVER, I always thought my parents were VERY clever in the way they "broke the news" to me. I was 9 or 10, and I still WANTED to believe in Santa...but I don't think I completely did. I kept pretending, because I was afraid there were no presents for little kids who don't believe in Santa.

Late on Christmas Eve, my father came into the room I shared with my twin sister and asked us to come with him. He had bought my mother a BEAUTIFUL full tea service and asked us to help him set it up in our dining room to surprise her in the morning. We were so happy to be helping, we didn't really think about it. In the morning, he made a big deal (to the younger kids) about how SANTA had hidden a special surprise for my mother in the dining room, and how special it was that SANTA had a special surprise for my mother, all the while throwing significant glances at my sister and I. It was that moment where we realized that Santa is not a fat man that squeezes down the chimney, but a surprise for Christmas morning. We never told the younger kids that we'd helped Santa that year, but we felt grown up because we were in on the "secret."

I hope that helps!

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?

I hate to break it to you, but she probably already knows...My son turns 8 Oct 30th and he found out 2 years ago(at school) and last year in his second grade class none of the kids really "believed" but one little girl smiled and said she tells her mommy she does...to my older sons I remind them that they have to believe if they want to receive...and that it's about the spirit of giving...my suggestion is that when she asks or tells you the truth that you are honest (and then remind her of how fun it is to believe so she doesn't ruin it for the younger kids)...if you don't want to bring it up and are afraid you went over board on the birthday gift, either save it for Christmas or...tell her you sent Santa a letter and asked if he could send her present for her birthday since she had been so good this year and you didn't want her to have to wait any longer...by doing this you are opening the door for her to say "Mom, I know it's really from you..." or you've covered yourself by saying Santa brought it early and Christmas will now be a little smaller....kids are aware of what's going on in the world, that costs are rising...so you shouldn't feel ashamed or badly for not going overboard at the holidays...(I mean think back at how many gifts you really remember...a handful...I remember the cinnamon rolls and sneaking down to peak at the gifts...not so much the gifts themselves)The best gift we can give to our children is a realistic sense of the world(and I mean limited knowledge at this point).Good luck with whatever you decide.

Hi A.
This is such a difficult subject because family history plays such a part in it. I was in 5th grade when I found out. It was unbelievable to me that my mom and dad had done that much for me all those years so I still didn't believe it, but knew it was so.
That was my mom's way of handling the situation wait and let us figure it out, however I never would have the kids at school told because of course by that age no one still believed. That was many, many years ago before so much advertizing. Most kids now hear it at about Kindergarten. I dare say perhaps your daughter is like me and just doesn't believe what she is hearing.
I decided since things were so different that I would just call Santa a fantasy so that when they understood what fantasy was they would know that I had not lied and that the real meaning of Christmas, the birth of Christ, could then be formost in their minds. It was right for all of mine. They all knew what fantasy was about age 5, we homeschooled so it worked from all fronts. They didn't expect big gifts because Santa can only carry so much in that pack on his back, and when the gifts were bigger, we would say that is part of the fantasy. Reality is that Jesus was born and we are celebrating Christ's coming for us.
God bless you
K. SAHM married 38 years children 37, 32, and twins that are 18.

I understand the concept of Santa is fun to perpetuate, however, I am not sure why we choose to lie to our children in the first place. The joy of Christmas doesn't come from believing in Santa. In fact, it doesn't even come from gifts. The joy of Christmas comes from celebrating the birth of a savior, our savior. While Christ's birthday may not actually be on Dec. 25, it is a time for us to take pause and be thankful and grateful to God for sending His son who lived a sinless life and died for us that we might know God, have a relationship with Him and be saved from eternity separated from Him. I want my children to know the truth, not some candy coated lie; and the truth can be found in God's word...the Bible. Please know that what I share comes from a place of love and I do not judge nor condemn those who choose to perpetuate Santa Clause. However, I do feel that it is important to offer a different perspective to consider. My children don't believe in Santa Clause, but they know and understand where the "legend" of Santa Clause came from and they know and understand what we are celebrating on Christmas is not gifts, but salvation...and that is cause for true joy and celebration.

God Bless,

A., You have received a lot of good advise, but I wanted to add a couple of things for you to think about for your youngest child and for others that are reading 'advise'.
When I was little, my situation was that my two older sisters ruined the 'fun' for me, lucky that I had a younger sister who my parents kept the 'wish' going.... Chirstmas is not about a 'man' that comes, and whatever your religion tells you, that is fine, but hopefully we are keeping the 'SPIRIT' of Christmas alive. Usually, x-mas eve we have the children tucked in bed and start the 'santa' duties and put the other gifts out. Fortunitely we have found that Santa only brings you ONE BIG item for each person. YEP - THAT is it. ONE.

ALL other things come from eachother <parents / siblings / grandparents/friends>. Usually about 3 am, after everyone has been asleep for a while, I get up and 'walk' the house. The shimmer of the snow, the quiet, the peace, and the gifts all put out, 'special' arranged really nice, and the glow of the ice on the tree........it puts it all together. It is never to early to teach our children life lessons, we don't need to take away any pieces of fun in the process.

BTW - Our 'teenagers' and over '20' children still hope for their 'one' item, big or small from Santa........the one year one <adult> child said there 'was no Santa' and no gift was left for him, from Santa, was the last time we heard THAT in our home.

SANTA IS HERE..........inside all of us..... MERRY CHIRSTMAS!!

Christmas isn't about "Presents".

In terms of Santa, stay within your budget.

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.

We told our kids that there are so many children in the world now that Santa can only bring them each one gift and he also fills their stockings. They know that everything else comes from us. They also know we are on a tight budget. They do not get much for Christmas( maybe 3 gifts each) but they appreciate everything they receive this way. Everything gets played with and not neglected. I don't see a problem in letting her still believe. Let her be a kid for a little while longer.

Hi A.,
My kids are 10 and 13. My 13 year old figured it out about Santa but my 10 year old still won't admit she knows. We started telling the kids that when they are a certain age (9), Santa sends us a bill for their presents, so they can't wish for everything. Santa spends his money for gifts for the really little kids. Eventually they figured it out. Chances are you woon't have to tell your child. When she wants to hear the truth she'll come out and ask you....

I know this is harder on the parent than the child. We struggled especially since we have always told our kids that the birth of Jesus, the messiah, is the reason for Christmas. Trying to fit Santa into Christmas was the hard part. We told our kids that Santa exemplifies the secular aspect of Christmas and though he's not really a being, we can feel the excitement of the season. We started around 7/8 to help them see that they get to be Santa helpers and keep the littler ones believing for a while longer but they can't tell! Having a secret and watching their little brother/sister get all excited that "Santa came" was a special way to bond with the grown-ups. I still tell our kids (20, 17, 13) that there is a Santa Claus and make sure there's something under the tree from him. He also does the stockings.

I always bought one giant roll of paper that only Santa things got wrapped in and 'he' put a sticker in the toe of each stocking so the little ones knew which sticker was for them and their presents had that sticker on them. It's faster than writing and Santa's penmanship is too familiar!

We know our kids are very aware there isn't any mystical being popping down a chimney to leave gifts each December 25th, but they admit it's fun to pretend something just for the fun of it. The same with the Easter bunny or leprechauns or tooth fairy. We all know they're not real, but it's fun to pretend just for the fun.

Good luck deciding how to handle it. I just wanted to tell you how we did it.

Hi A.,

My daughter was 9 when it happened, my son is 9 now and I'm not sure if he'll still believe this year or not, he is more gullible than his sister LOL. My daughter didn't let on that first year that she knew the truth. For my son, I wouldn't mind if he still believed this year - he is our youngest and it will be our last year with a kid of age for the magic of Santa. Next year will be 5th grade, middle school and you can't be caught talking about Santa at middle school.

When my daughter questioned, I never encouraged her. I simply asked, "What do you think?"

Good luck

i dont think you should worry about it. give her the go-cart for her birthday and get her whatever you plan on getting her for christmas but it shouldnt be about "topping" the birthday gift. you are giving her an extra special birthday present and that great. but santa and christmas is a separate thing. "santa" or you shouldnt be concerned about having a better gift and you should look at this as a good teaching moment(if she brings anything up, she actually might not care at all like you are worried) to show her its about the thought, not the size or price. why not take this year to get her something special sentimentally, something maybe that shows a lot of time or thought went into it.

its never too old to believe in santa. there is a good chance she has her suspicions and may already know. then there are some of us adults that "know" there isnt a santa but still believe:) let her draw her own conclusions in her own time, but when she does show she no longer believes, take that time to explain the meaning of christmas, giving, sharing, ect.

Dont ruin it for her. Santa is fun and mystical. I am 100% Catholic and know there is much more to Christmas, but why explain Santa. Its fun to believe, dream and the joy to have the "surprise gifts" under the tree. My mom told me as soon as I stopped believing then he (Santa) would stop giving me gifts....needless to say, I am 33 and I still believe and he still gives me gifts! We personally put nothing under the tree, so then the next morning it looks like more. My mom and I sometimes dont put who they are from, adds to the magic. Its your decision.

I say keep the go cart and give it to her for Christmas if you can't top it and you think that it's more important to get the BIGGEST gift for Christmas versus her birthday. Or, just get her Christmas list for Santa and see what she's asking for, hopefully she isn't moving up in price with each successive gift! Then you can make a decision about which gift should be given for which event.

My son is only 2 so I don't have experience in this area yet, but in my family when I was growing up it was never a sit-down discussion, it just kind of happened. Listen, she'll figure it out on her own, it wasn't such a big disappointment to me, I figured it out in school when everyone else no longer believed, and I didn't hate my parents for it or need to go into therapy! As a matter of fact, I felt badly knowing it was really they who were giving me the gifts, and pretended to believe in Santa for several years more so as not to disappoint them! I think it's just a rite of passage in growing up to figure it out.

With regards to confused messages about it being the birth of our savior, I was raised Catholic, I went to 12 years of Catholic school, and I still believe. I was brought up knowing the TRUE meaning of Christmas, but at the same time enjoying the legend of Santa Claus. There's no harm in it, they're children, for goodness sake! Teach them the true meaning of Christmas, but let them have their fun too! I remember learning the Holy Trinity in 2nd grade and not being able to grasp that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were 3 in one, and actually one, and not really a person, and they were the same... it's important to lay the foundation so that they get it later, but it's a little complicated! At their age it's a good example of "blind faith" - they believe whatever you tell them, and that's good, you want them to have a belief system, prayer and hope is so important to get through this crazy world. Spiritual enlightenment alas, comes later, sometimes much later, however... You have to put some fun in there too!

Anyway, I digress. I hope the suggestion about the gift was helpful, and good luck! Let me know how it turns out!


My daughter will be 10 in Nov, and to the best of my knowledge she still believes. She did question me a lot last christmas, but I encouraged her to believe. The thing is she is the oldest in our whole family (cousins and all), and I was always afraid that if she new the truth, then she might tell some of the others. Also in our own family my son is only 5, and then we have a one year old, and new one on the way. I want the younger kids in our family to believe, and so I felt it was always easier to keep it going. Does any kid really want to know the truth or is much more fun to believe in the magic?

Dear A.,
I have a fifteen year old step son who every year I make him write a letter to Santa,( I have saved them all, and I'll give them to him when he has his first child) I also have a four year old. But here is my theory: the world is bad enough, this is the only time in thier life where money is not thier concern. While my mail is flooded with incoming christmas catalogs and my four year old wants everything she sees on telivison, I simply say to her let's put it on your list to Santa, and we circle things in the catalogs. This serves me in two ways, first I know what they want really early, which gives me plenty of time to shop around, for either affordable alternatives or good sales prices on the actual item. It also lets me spread out the holiday spending.My fifteen year old , rolls his eyes, balks at writting the letter, but he does play along, personally they will have to be convinced from outsiders that there is no Santa, I will hide thier gifts until Christams eve, and them Magically have present appear christmas morning as long as I am physically able to walk...let them dream as long as possible.
K. R

Please do not spoil the mystery of Santa. If she figures it out on her own that's fine, but don't steal that from her. When I look back on Christmas as a kid I remember asking for a million things from Santa. I can't recall a single time that I was disappointed by what was or was not under the tree.
Good Luck!

Buy her a car!

No really, let her know the deal or this "white lie" will turn into car entitlement later on down the road.

Honesty is the best policy. I never allowed my children any "childhood" fantasys and it hasn't had an affect,(that I know of) on them. The jury is still out.;) Kids are stronger than you think. She'll be more disappointed that you didn't tell her the truth sooner. Also, they appreciate gifts more when they know your hard earned money was used to buy them. Good luck to your family.

I was 7 when I learned the truth. I woke up in the middle of the night and saw my dad carrying presents down the hall. I wasn't even broken hearted, but I don't remember when I told my parents I how it really worked. My oldest kids are 8 and 9, and I think they know the truth, but they know better then to tell me. hehe

What you could do with your daughter, if she even asks about not getting a really big, awesome gift from Santa, is that money is tight for everyone. Tell her that even Santa doesn't have much money this year for buying the materials it takes for his elves to make the toys and other gifts. Let her know that some kids will get big presents and some will get smaller ones. Make sure she knows that Santa knows what a great birthday gift she got this year, and that he feels it would be better to give the bigger gifts to kids who don't have such great parents that buy them go carts. If then she chooses to ask more questions tell her the truth. She won't be crushed. She might even already know, and hasn't you in on her secret!

I have 4 kids, from 23 to 8. I have always approached it gradually- when they're really little, everything comes from Santa. Then, OK, SOME come from Santa and some come from mom and dad. As they grow I explain that parents usually get most of the gifts because Santa is so busy, but he always leaves a few surprises that even the parents don't know about. (I leave whatever wrapping paper I've used out on Christmas Eve so he can use the same paper.) This explanation has often come in handy when one of my kids has accidently come across a hidden gift somewhere. On Christmas morning, if they open a gift and act truly surprised, I too act completely surprised and go, "Oh, Santa must have brought that!"
I also like doing it this way because then I don't feel like I'm totally lying to my kids about Santa- because actually, I DO truly beleive there are "Santas" out there doing things everyday! And I never want to take the magic out of the holiday.
hope that helps.

Now see we always have some presents under the tree for the kids that are from mom and dad and not from Santa. My oldest is also 9 and she still believes. I plan on keeping it that way as long as possible too. So in your situation I probably would still say this is part of your x-mas present from us, but then still have some stuff under the tree from Santa. Honestly there have been years when we have been able to give the kids more and years when they had to do with less and they've never noticed a difference from year to year in how many gifts they get. Good luck keeping the magic of Christmas alive.

I don't think it has to be an issue of wether Santa is real or not. Growing up my family had a lot of financial limitations and at Christmas we received a couple of gifts each (4 kids in the family). Those gifts however, were not big or expensive. Our parents/grandparents did not believe in "topping" the last gift given. Honestly, I can't remember when I learned about the "truth" of Santa and I am still a big fan of all of the legends and origin myths surrounding St. Nick etc.

Christmas is supposed to be about the spirit of giving and receiving. Teaching appreciation for gifts and gratitude are much more important than trying to get a better gift than the one given last holiday. Focus on finding something your daughter would really enjoy within your budget. Think about toys that could become heirlooms, bound book treasuries or things that can serve multiple purposes. When your daughter doesn't get exactly what she asked for, spend time helping her to understand the importance of appreciating the spirit behind the gift and how she can enjoy the items she did receive.

Hi A.,

As an elementary school teacher, I have seen several years' worth of children in your daughter's age range. I would be concerned about your daughter being teased or seen as emotionally immature. In my opinion, 9 is rather old to believe in the fat man in a suit story.

It is NOT, however, too old to believe in and understand sharing, giving, love, and warm stories passed down from family to family. Explain the spirit and idea of santa and how those things are very real, but do tell her that there is no old man living on the North Pole who magically delivers presents to all the children of the world.

Being naive is, sadly, very dangerous in today's world of kids trying drugs and sex at earlier and earlier ages. Teach her to question and to think rationally and she'll be better equipped to make good decisions later.

i won't tell mine ever and if i catch the one who tells my kids that santa is not real i will kick their behinds :)
obviously you can tell my learning of santa isn't real was a bad experience. my older brother was instructed to take me to the mall to see santa and tell him what i wanted. he took me. but santa never asked me what i wanted. so as we were leaving i started crying to my brother, and thought i wasn't going to get what i wanted. my brother said he doesn't know what you're getting. santa isn't real. only mom and dad know what you're getting because they get that stuff for us. santa is NOT real. horrible.
there are so many things that have changed nowadays for kids that i think they're robbed of big part of childhood. why take what's left.
i like the idea of moms saying santa has a tight budget this year so he will have to do with small gifts for kids and that we should understand etc etc.
but don't tell her yet. unless she pushes you for an answer and even then you can say well what do you think?
that's just my opinion

Depending on what grade she's in, she may already know and is playing along with you. My son was bad...He figured out the Easter Bunny in kindergarten and Santa Claus the year after, but my son and I secretively played along on the Santa Claus thing so he would get more presents and I could have fun with the tradition. That doesn't mean that he didn't understand the whole meaning behind Christmas. (He goes to a catholic school, so of course he knows.)I don't view Santa Claus as a lie....It's really more of a fantasy to keep start the imagination of a child. All European countries have Santa Claus too. My father even taught me who the real Santa Claus was...He was St. Nicolas. (Yes the saint was real.) When my son got into 4th grade, there was no way to keep pretending and we finally told Daddy that Santa wasn't real. I still fill stocking and still try to find 3 special toys like Santa did. One toy is big/expensive and the others are small.

If you're strapped for money, just do what I did when my son sort of believed... I told my son that Santa was having some problems with making enough money to buy all those toys, which is why he saw him driving the public transportation bus. The Elves can't make the fancy plastic toys that companies make, so they have to buy them from the companies which gets very expensive since everybody wants the latest toy. The elves don't make the wooden toys anymore, because kids don't want them anymore.

I read the other responses and I want to tell you a little story. My daughter 7 and step-son 8 came home from school one day and asked if there was a Santa. Some 'rotten' kid in school, said there wasn't. So I went into the whole spirit of Christmas bit and Santa was a symbol, etc. They said they understood and werent upset. The next day I heard whispers in the other room and went to listen. They were writing their letters to Santa and trying to figure out how to mail them without letting me know that they still believed. LOLOL
Your daughter is in school with some 'rotten' kid that will be telling everyone there is no Santa and she will not want to believe it, but since she has questioned it in the past, she knows something is up. Make her a stocking and get a couple of inexpensive gifts from Santa and let it go. I wouldnt encourage her if she is ready for the truth, because then you are outright lying.
PS those 7 & 8 year old kids are now grown and I still make them stockings. But now they sneak after Ive gone to bed to fill MY stocking too.

My kids are 3 and 5 and I tell them it's the spirit of Christmas and that Santa Claus was a wonderful man who wanted to make children happy. I have them watch the claymation movie about Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer. I try to tell them the truth with out spoiling all the fun. I don't make Christmas all about the presents. Even if your daughter gets something smaller for Christmas, try to instill what it's really about. If you get people to donate toys to children who need it and you deliver them to their house it will show her that Christmas is about Giving, not recieving. That is what my Mom did.

You straight up need to tell her the truth. She must suspect it already and even if she doesn't, the longer you wait and the more genuine her belief about it was, the more crushing it will be to learn the truth. It can actually be a very damaging thing to know that you trusted your parent blindly and the were lying to you, especially as she approaches tween/teen years. It is definitely time. And be wise about how you do it. You don't want to portray that it was all just a nice lie, try instead to talk about that the spirit of giving and celebrating life is indeed true, just not in the way she has believed it to be. That it's easier for children to understand a visual image of someone that's behind it then it is to explain the concept when they are younger but that she is old enough to understand that now. Etc. Hands down- tell her. -N.

Well, if she asks if there is a Santa you can always say "what do you think?" and then tailor your explanation to what she says. If she has doubts about a literal Santa comming to every house then talking about the spirit of giving and about parents and others helping.

I think I figured out about Santa when I was around second grade. Money was tight for us then and my mother asked us which of 2 moderately priced presents we would pick (I think a Barbie doll and another similar doll). When I got what I told her I liked I put the pieces together. I did play along for a few more years at least since my sister is younger. BTW my grandmother is still giving us gifts from "Santa" even though I am in my 30's and her youngest child is nearly 50. We just play along or tease her that "Santa" must like to shop at her favorite stores.

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