to tell or not to tell, that is the question

I have a 10yo who still believes in Santa. That’s a year longer than either of his sisters believed which I have to say surprises me. I always figured the youngest would find out the earliest. He seemed suspicious about the whole big man coming down the chimney last year but I pulled a couple tricks out of my sleeve and they worked. This year I sometimes sense suspicion in his conversation but I also sense a pretty strong belief that this magical man is going to bring him whatever his little heart desires.

I have a pretty firm stance that I won’t let a child of mine out of 5th grade without making sure they know the truth about Santa (and the basics about sex because let’s face it, who wants to learn about that for the first time from some outdated movie & visiting teacher??). But I’m questioning moving that timeline up a year.

See, he’s asking for some things with ridiculously high price tags. So one way or the other there’s likely to be some disappointment. Also, I’m getting a little tired of the Santa gig. In our house Santa brings you one special gift and stuffs your stocking. As the kids get older that special gift gets more expensive or they feel some pressure to come up with a big special gift even when their desires are simple. My kids don’t need a lot of stuff. I’d rather fulfill their simple but wonderful desires and have some money left over to create some holiday memories. When Santa doesn’t have to bring that one big gift anymore, we can all go to dinner & a show in Chicago… or take a surprise trip… there are so many possibilities!

I’m wrestling with this one. Do I pull him aside and have a heart to heart? Is that fair to him? Do I let him keep believing as long as he can because he’s the baby of the family? It was much easier when they were all this age:



11 thoughts on “to tell or not to tell, that is the question

  1. My 21 year old told everyone at Thanksgiving that apparently we are pretending Santa ISN’T real again this year. There is magic in believing even a little πŸ˜œπŸŽ„

  2. There is no right or wrong answer here, as every family has to do what they feel is best. My kids are 9 and 10, and they still want to believe – as long as they are still in that mindset I won’t tell them. Some of the magic (or belief) has to do with tradition – I was never, ever told there was no Santa…I knew it, but I don’t remember a time that my parents actually told me – we just played along and “believed” because my dad had so much fun with it…I wasn’t heartbroken, or sad, or mad…I just grew into knowing it was mom and dad. So…I’m not going to rush it for my kids either. However every kid is different – my daughters best friend confronted her mom this summer, and she was given the talk that Santa, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny was all mom and dad. She, of course, told my daughter, but she still doesn’t want to believe it…so I’m not going to burst her bubble. She’ll learn soon enough. LOL! πŸ™‚

  3. I say let him believe.

    Amara still believes, which surprises me. Sometimes she just seems so GROWN UP and mature, and then next thing you know she’s sliding her tooth under her pillow for the tooth fairy.

    Let Santa bring everybody tickets to the show in Chicago. You can laugh about how Santa obviously thought J should be spending more time with his family instead of playing with whatever high-cost gadget he’s asked for.

    I feel like the years have gone so fast – I can’t believe I’m near the end of having that kind of magic in the house. 😦

  4. I don’t remember what age my kids were when we told them the truth…but I never regretted telling them! I think the true magic of the season is in the traditions and the time spent together. Actually, my husband let the cat out of the bag because he was tired of Santa getting all the “credit” for our hard work running around finding the “IT” item of the year! LOL

  5. Being Jewish, I never had to grapple with this. BUT—-we do the Tooth Fairy (hey, it’s all we got!). My son is also 10. A few years ago he started telling me he knew I was the tooth fairy. I never admitted it, or denied it. But really, he knew. And last year, he found a letter on my computer that the Tooth Fairy had written to him. (why he was in my files is a different question….)….Anyhow, the gig was up. He lost a tooth a few nights ago, and told me he was upset that he had found the letter. Nevermind he had already figured it out! I told him that by middle school (next year) I would have told him anyway. (and, I still left him money). This is a long reponse to your question—but I would let him have this one last year. I agree that 5th grade is getting old, but one more Christmas can’t hurt!

    1. Sugar – the tooth fairy is what tipped the scales for my oldest πŸ™‚ She came down one morning in the summer after the tooth fairy had visited and accused me of being the tooth fairy. Five minutes later she came back in with a shocked look on her face saying “ARE YOU SANTA TOO???” I suppose I should let J find out on his own terms as well.

  6. What a tough one. Maybe have the conversation before a jerk kid at school breaks his heart? I’m not a parent, but I hope to be one that addresses the hard issues before they learn from a second-hand source.

    And whether it’s santa or not, I hope to be a parent that encourages my kids to believe in goodness, dreams, joy, innocence, purity, etc…because as a 30 year old adult now, I wish people didn’t take it away from me prematurely.

    1. OH yes, there’s plenty of joy and goodness to believe in even when we learn about Santa. Christmas has its own magic. πŸ™‚

  7. My 9 yo still believes, although he wavers and then tells me why Santa HAS to be real. I say let him believe in the magic.

    On the other hand, tell him about sex. Maybe that will keep him from worrying if he doesn’t get the biggest present he can possibly think about.

    1. Haha… yes! Tell him all about how he was made! And about labour and delivery too!

      Amara wavers too – but last year one exasperated “do you really think I have the time or the money to be running around buying you MORE presents” from me set her straight for a while.

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