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How Columbus parents discuss Santa Claus with their children

Illustration of a blank Santa Claus suit, hat and beard shrugging.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Thank you to the readers who shared wisdom on how to handle kids’ Santa Claus questions — and those who shared funny memories of when you learned the truth about the jolly old elf.

Amanda S.: “My sister and I discovered the wrapping paper that only Santa used, nestled in another tube of paper. I was 7 and she was 10, but I was always much more skeptical than she was. I still remember looking at her and the look of shock on her face when she realized the performance was over.

Laura R.: “My 8-year-old daughter had been skeptical about the tooth fairy, etc. for a while. Then, about three weeks ago, she asked me outright, ‘Are you really Santa Claus?’ I told her the truth.”

  • “She was shocked and almost didn’t seem to believe me. Then she was genuinely upset and wrote a diary entry asking, ‘Why do parents lie to their children?’ It broke my heart!”
  • “I was hoping for another Christmas with her faith. But now she knows the secret from her younger siblings and we’re trying to help her feel special!”

Jennifer J.: “I have four grown children, and SANTA IS STILL COMING! We need more magic in our world, not less. Merry Christmas everyone!!!”

💭 Alissa’s Thought Bubble: I don’t remember how or when my parents and I had that the conversation, but I remember my mom saying “a little bit of Santa lives in all of us.” She still cherishes that idea.

  • Every December I still receive a card in the mail signed “St. Nick.”

The rest of your Santa strategies:

Michael T.: “When I was about 10 years old, I concluded there was something wrong with the whole Santa thing based on a present I knew my mom bought. I said to her jokingly, ‘I think I know who Santa is’ and she replied angrily that if that was the case, Santa wouldn’t bring me any more presents.”

  • “Since then, we’ve never talked about Santa’s existence again.”

Heather O.: “When our kids heard about Santa Claus, we told them that there was once a real person called Sinterklaas, who the Christmas tradition is based on. We told our kids that it’s something our parents did, and we did, and they can choose or choose not to do it with their kids one day. We’ve told them we’re doing it because it’s magical and fun!”

  • “When every kid found out, we told them they’re now on ‘Team Santa’ and they get to join in on the magic for their younger siblings! Our kids wanted to know who ate the cookies and milk we had for Santa left behind and they wanted to do that part.”
  • “We also told our kids not to ruin it for their friends or our neighbours, because they don’t want to be that jerk kid who ruins Santa for others! We told them to just play along and let other kids tell their parents about it questions! ”
  • “Don’t get me wrong – there were a lot of tears and our kids were sad, but we handled it the best we could! Every parent is just doing their best! 🙂”