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What age would you tell your child about Santa, if they never asked?


  

137 members have voted

  1. 1. What age would you tell a child about Santa, if they hadn't already asked?

    • 4 or under
      9
    • 5
      0
    • 6
      1
    • 7
      0
    • 8
      8
    • 9
      8
    • 10
      12
    • 11
      3
    • 12+
      10
    • We never played along with Santa traditions.
      51
    • I would never tell them the truth, they would have to figure it out themselves
      27
    • Santa is real!
      18


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If you have a child who still believed in Santa, what age would you sit them down and let them in on the tradition? 

 

I have a daughter who is emotionally and cognitively about the age of a 6 or 7 year old....but she is biologically an 8yo and looks 10yo.  She is in special needs classroom right now in 2nd grade, but is moving to a therapeutic day school before Christmas.  She is adamant that Santa is real and since she hasn't asked, I haven't told her our little version of Santa yet. She is a few years past when the other kids put it all together, so I feel odd playing along for an 8yo, but honestly she is still much like a 6yo, it doesn't seem inappropriate yet.  My issue is that most of the kids she plays with are going to know the truth and I don't want her teased for believing.  She is the kid who would punch someone for trying to dispel the myth, so she will have to be told eventually so she doesn't start a first fight over it in 7th grade. 

 

 

 

Our version in case anyone wants to know....We tell the kids that he spirits of Christmas is absolutely real, and Santa represents that.  Every person who wants to be Santa can be Santa, all you have to do is have the spirit of Christmas.  The spirit of Christmas is about generosity and taking the time to consider those around us. We show generosity, by how we love and respect them.  Sometimes that is through gifts and sometimes words, sometimes actions.  Santa is the name we call people who show this through the act of giving gifts.  We let them know that since they now know the secret of who Santa really is, that they get to be Santa too. 

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I was just thinking about this very thing. I've just been too lazy to start the topic. I can't answer, because I also don't know :lol:. Ds is 11yo, but closer to 9 emotionally, and he still very much believes in Santa. I'm just not sure what to do as we have never really pushed the Santa thing much. We always just let it happen, but now I feel the need to intervene. I will be watching the poll and responses closely with you. :001_smile:

 

BTW, Your version is very much like ours.

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My dd with autism insisted through age 14 that Santa was real, despite my telling her several times he was a nice story, similar to your presentation of Santa. I think I started hinting after age 10 and flat out telling her around age 12.

 

FWIW, I don't think 8 is past a normal age for belief in Santa. Most kids we know seemed to find out/figure it out around 8-10 years old. :)

 

Cat

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My born atheist, skeptic, anti-magic son was a total Santa believer until pretty old. Like almost 10. I was shocked. I seriously don't recall ever buying into the Santa stories as a kid. At some point people did tell him. And he didn't believe them. He thought the people telling him the truth were crazy pants bananas. Finally one fall he confessed that he didn't think it was plausible. At that point he took over being the main myth conveyor to his little brother. He's even the one who moves that elf thing around everyday. It's hilarious and heartwarming.

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My 10yo (who has autism) still firmly believes in Santa. At this point, we find it completely adorable and won't be spoiling his fun. But, he really isn't around anyone who would give him a hard time about still believing. If he were in school, I would at least talk to him about how some people believe in Santa and some don't, and how that's okay. 

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My 8yo still believes in Santa...I think. All my kids worked out pretty early that the ones in the store were fake and were helpers.

 

According to my 8yo both Santa and the Tooth Fairy are real but the Easter Bunny is fake and so are fairies in books.

 

I think the Tooth Fairy will be the last one to go...she really, really believes in that one LOL.

 

I've always told my kids that Santa only brings one present per child....and any other gifts are from parents which expains gift discrepancies between families because parents buy what they can afford.

 

I also figured that when they found out about Santa they wouldn't feel so let down because its only one gift after all...

 

I dread the day my DD finds out...she CANNOT keep a secret so I am sure it will be the same day the other two also find out.

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We never did Santa, exactly, but we went all historical and told the kids about St. Nicholas and how the Santa story came from that. That was pretty much from the beginning. There are a lot of good and beautiful books to help, if you want to go in that direction. I think it can be a gentle way to break the ice, so to speak, and start the conversation.

 

I've told this before, but...When ds was in preschool (about 4), he got the two stories confused. We were at a cooperative school, so one parent came every day (and I worked there, so I was his teacher). Ds told a child, "Santa is dead!" The child ran to his mom, who was NOT happy. Ooops.

Had to explain to ds that not everyone knows about St. Nicholas...

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My sil was 13 when her dad had to tell her Santa wasn't real because some kid at school was arguing with her that he wasn't real and she wouldn't believe him.

 

I personally don't even talk about Santa unless my kids mention him so I imagine they will figure it out soon enough.

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I dread the day my DD finds out...she CANNOT keep a secret so I am sure it will be the same day the other two also find out.

 

I worried about that too with my oldest dd. So I had her become my helper. I'd put the other two to bed on Christmas Eve and let oldest dd stay up and help put presents under the tree. She loved it.

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My dd busted the tooth fairy a couple of years ago trying to make the switch. I decided to strip the rest of the mythical creatures the next day with the threat of never getting anything else from Santa if she told her little brothers.

 

My 3 boys still firmly believe still. I've to my Dh that this is the last year though. Their Christmas list is crazy some years because "Santa can bring it."

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Haha! One Christmas Eve my 23 year old son was at my house and Santa was on his way.  I looked at him and said, "Santa is on his way and I need to tell you something..."  He just laughed, so I think he figured it all out at some point.  Oh, and my 8 year old dd said that her friend's dad, our next door neighbor, told them that Santa isn't magic and isn't real.  Jerk!

 

I just realized that the OP's child is only 8.  Most of the 8 and even 9 and 10 year olds I know still believe!

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We haven't said anything to my 11, almost 12 year old yet and she hasn't asked. We have an annual holiday outing with some family friends and part of that has been a visit to Santa. When I asked her if she wanted to see Santa this year, she said "Of course. Why wouldn't I?" I said that as kids get older, they don't always want to visit Santa anymore. "Mom! You are aging me too quickly."  To be honest, I suspect that she already knows and is playing along. This kid *loves* tradition  and I don't think she wants to let go of any of that yet. I guess our plan is to continue to let her enjoy the magic. 

 

With that said, if it was causing social problems or something, I'd probably have a different response. Years ago, my friend's then 5th or 6th grade son got into a fight at school because other kids were insisting that Santa is not real. He truly did believe and was crushed when he learned the truth. 

 

 

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My 10 yr old says she believes. I think she's getting skeptical but doesn't want to derail the gravy train. She gave us a pointed look and told us that all of her friends' elves on the shelf came out the day after Thanksgiving (ours is delayed because I'm just not a huge fan of the elf), so I think she's onto us. I'll just leave it be, though.

 

However, if I heard about her getting teased by other kids I think I'd debunk the myth to avoid any social stigma.

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I don't know what age we would have told.  As it happened, when DD#1 was almost 2, she absolutely freaked on Christmas Eve about the idea of some man coming into our house.  We told her it's fun to pretend, but it's really Mommy & Daddy bringing the gifts.  That's been our position since then.

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My younger kids both still believe.  We don't make a huge deal, they haven't visited Santa ever (I think the first fake beard would result in a long lecture from ds - to the poor "Santa"), we don't do the creepy elf.    I'm actually kind of surprised because ds likes the question everything but he also has a very vivid imagination and LOVES to play pretend games.  I don't know if we'll ever just spill the beans, I expect them to figure it out at some point.  Once either of them figures it out, the gig is up for both of them I'm sure.

 

I remember last year DS was asking for a dragon poster "not a Pokémon dragon, a dragon like lived in Medieval times."  I told him dragons weren't real, but there were definitely all kinds of posters he could get (an argument ensues...) and he says "what next, you going to make Vicki cry by saying unicorns aren't real?!?"    :huh:

 

Which was followed by a conversation about why God made poisonous bugs.  I just can't wait to have that Santa conversation.  :lol:

 

 

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I remember believing in Santa when I was 8 and my mom sat me down to have 'the talk'.  I was devastated! I felt like she took something special from me.

 

I have never told my kids that Santa or the tooth fairy or the easter bunny isn't real. Do they know it is us? Yes, I know they do. But it is a fun game to play together.

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I don't think it is that unusual for an 8yo to believe in Santa.  My kids are in 3rd grade and I still tell them to keep the truth to themselves because some kids in their class are probably still believers.  At least one of my (neurotypical) brothers believed until he was 9yo.

 

That said, I didn't want my kids to be the last in their class to know, and they are young for their class.  So I was, shall we say, careless about keeping the secret - I started dropping little hints and so on.  It was up to them if they still wanted to believe despite clear evidence to the contrary.  :P  I would probably tell them outright if they were still believers when their classmates were around 9 or 10.

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I am very lukewarm about the santa myth. For one, I think it promotes greediness which misses the point. I also think it's anti-intellectual to teach kids about something that really makes NO sense if they think about it critically at all. However, I didn't want them to ruin it for other kids so I have done a half-@$$ job of going along with it. Basically I don't contradict what they put together themselves from other sources. I have a letter my daughter wrote to Santa when she was 8, so I guess she still believed then. Most of the letter was what she wanted Santa to bring other people. She must have figured it out for herself soon after. My middle son figured it out around 8, I think. My youngest didn't even really hear about Santa until he started preschool and I realized the other parents would never forgive me if he didn't go along with it, so I reluctantly told him the story. At 6 he has figured out on his own that it doesn't make any sense. Then we listened to SOTW 2 which talks about Saint Nicholas and St. Nicholas Day and how that merged into Santa Claus and Christmas presents.

 

Maybe I'm a stick in the mud, but I don't see what is so awesome about childhood gullibility and belief in magic. I'm more proud of my kids for being critical thinkers than having the ability to suspend disbelief.

 

Eta: I want to drive up to North Pole, AK this month if possible and see all the Christmas stuff. I'm just not going to pretend that it's real. I encourage imaginative play.

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in her theraputic classroom - are there kids who are cognitively of age who are starting to question?

I had a niece who supposedly still believed when she was 11.

 

dudeling was all ready to believe in santa to a degree I considered unhealthy when he was about five - and I took that as an indicator I needed to scale back.   he directly asked me if santa was real when he was eight.  I have had to talk to him about NOT ruining santa for other little kids.  as an aspie - he likes honesty/truth.

 

so - stop playing along as much. by doing so - you are encouraging and reinforcing her continued belief in santa.  that is not the same as telling her santa isn't real.

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One of the twins took me aside to whisper that he had figured it out "You are Santa, aren't you?" when he was nine.  I nodded, and welcomed him to the grown-up part of the Santa story, the fun part of keeping the secret for the younger kids, and helping with the joy of it.  He was pleased to be "in" on the secret.

 

His fraternal twin, now age 23, only last year did not want to visit Santa at the mall....am waiting to see if he narrates and mails a letter to Santa this year (he did do that last year).  This is my son with autism, though ;-)

 

I do not remember when the girls figured it out. Probably 8 or 9ish.

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We have an unspoken Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy at our house.  Even my 16yo and I have never discussed it.  :tongue_smilie:

 

The tooth fairy always screws up around here and my 11yo has taken it upon herself to make sure pillow miracles happen, but we still don't mention it. Even when I hand her back a dollar.

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I dread the day my DD finds out...she CANNOT keep a secret so I am sure it will be the same day the other two also find out.

 

My sister and I were 21 months apart and best friends.  When I (we?) started questioning, we talked to each other. Decided it didn't make sense and then jointly confronted our parents. Thankfully they didn't try to keep it going after that.

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I don't know what age we would have told.  As it happened, when DD#1 was almost 2, she absolutely freaked on Christmas Eve about the idea of some man coming into our house.  We told her it's fun to pretend, but it's really Mommy & Daddy bringing the gifts.  That's been our position since then.

 

This is how the tradition of the Easter Bunny leaving a big basket of eggs to be hidden by Mom and Dad started.  The first year she was old enough to figure out that a bunny had been all over our house, she freaked out so we told her we had hidden the ones the Easter Bunny had left.  After that, we just waited for her to wake up to hide them.  For some reason, Santa didn't bother her though.

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I always left it up to the kids whether they believed or not.  If they asked, I'd say something like, "Well, I've heard that blah-blah-blah.  What do you think?"  They seemed to think that it was in their best interest to believe, so they have always maintained that they do.  Even my 17yo son will say he believes in Santa.  I'm sure he had it all figured out at least 10 years ago, but he plays along.

 

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We never officially did Santa.  We owned Frosty the Snowman and similar cartoons/movies...

 

When my older girls were 3 and 5 we were shopping in a mall in December and they noticed the long line... Oldest dd asked who the man was they were waiting in line to see (she is my aspie!) and before DH and I could answer her 3 yr old sister pipped up "He is Mr. Ho"  Oldest dd said-- "Oh yea, the guy who helped Frosty" and then let it go.  DH and I barely contained our amusement!  The girls are now 24 and 22 and they still call Santa 'Mr Ho' (in private of course).

 

We handled it the same with younger dd as well.

 

Christmas to us is a whole lot more than just getting presents-- we focus on the other part, but we also enjoy tradition (just 'cause it is fun!).

 

 

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I grew up with a lot of skepticism because we were in a heavily Southern Baptist area of Florida and so I had kids telling me he was pretend or flat-out Satan at a very young age.

 

I think I was in third grade when a teacher walked in the classroom and asked if anyone of us still believed in Santa.  I did to my parents, in order to get presents, but only one boy in the room that day lifted his hand.  He left the room and the teacher said, "Oh good, I need someone to answer the kindergarteners' letters to Santa and the fourth and fifth graders are on a field trip. 

 

I don't think I confessed to my mom that I knew the truth for a couple more years, when she decided to tell me the truth in a toy store so she could buy something for my sister that she intended for Santa to give.

 

I let my kids figure it out on their own, but we do have a couple books about this history of Santa around the house, so it's not that hard to figure out.

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For your dd, I don't see that you necessarily need to tell her until you feel she is ready, but you do need to consider whether she is likely let down less gently by other kids if you don't tell her.

 

I haven't experienced this dilemma though, as we didn't do Santa to begin with. 

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They all figure it out eventually....when they are ready. 

 

My mom sat me down to tell me, in front of a lot of people, when I was young. I still remember it because I was so upset. I was NOT ready. It does not hurt a child to have the dream extra long.

Wow. That was so mean!!! :( (She probably didn't intend it that way, but still!!!)

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Mine are 9 and 11 and both still believe.  Yes, really and truly, even the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and Halloween Fairy.  I have been somewhat lazy as far as Santa goes, feeling that if they "figured it out" by now, it would be okay.

 

Nope.

 

Determined believers!

 

My 11 year old was legit worried that she was on the naughty list until I kindly sent her Santa's PNP video that put her on the nice list.  I wanted to troll her, but was merciful.

 

I don't want to just sit them down and tell them.  They're smart girls, but also very  young at heart and innocent.

 

I had it figured out around 6.

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I told DD about Santa shortly after she turned 12.  She had recently gone back to public school, was in 7th grade, and I was worried that it might become an issue at school with the other kids.  I did make it a point to tell her about two months before Christmas so she could get used to the idea without messing up the fun of her holiday.  She took it very well but did tell me, "I don't think we should tell DS.  It would break his heart."  I still haven't told him.  He is a rather immature 11, so I'm leaving it alone for the time being.  I may tell him before next year, though.  We'll see.

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We say that Santa is a fun game and a lovely fairy tale right from infancy.  I hate that Santa takes over Christmas.  I'd kill him off I could entirely.

However, it's become tricky with moving back around family with little kids.   The kids have been told NOT to tell and ruin the game for others.

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My niece still believed last Christmas, a month before her 9th birthday.  She's neurotypical.   I haven't been updated on her views this year.

 

We didn't do the Santa or the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny games because my husband (Mr. Science/Engineer) was dead set against "lying" to the kids. I didn't have a strong opinion either way so I went along with him on not doing it. We still give them gifts at Christmas and put six shiny quarters under their pillows when they loose a tooth and decorate and eggs and hunt for them,  but they know we do it. I do agree that if you opt out of the Santa, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny games your children should be taught to not ruin it for other people.  I also tell my kids that it's up to them and their future spouses whether or not to do those games with their future children.

 

 

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We do not promote or deny.  Same with belief in God.  I am not saying that Santa and God are comparable. But here is where I am coming from.... I am firmly in the secular humanist camp. When my six year old daughter asked me, to my surprise,  'Isn't it wonderful that God loves us all?' my reaction was joy.  I'm so happy she feels safe, loved, happy. I think belief in Santa comes from the same place (thought again, is not theologically comparable).   Children who believe in Santa have a kind of emotional security that I wouldn't dream of taking away unless there was  a very good reason.

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It helps when "Santa" himself breaks the news.  Haha.  

 

"Well, I'm ready to be done with this gig...can't wait to get back to Montana." 

 

He assumed my tall son was older than he was.  :0)  No big deal...it was a good laugh.

 

I made it a rule to tell my kid about things like this before he would be embarrassed.  Like, before going to school, I told him that they are not "crayrons"--so he wouldn't be made a fool of.  

 

Funny note on the Santa story:  my son said he had known for a couple of years but kept his mouth shut.  "Hey--free presents!"  Smart aleck.

 

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