"Why I refuse to lie to my kids about Santa."


* The author of this post is known to Mamamia, but has chosen to remain anonymous.

I don’t tell my kids that the stork brought them or that I found them in a cabbage patch. If our dog died, I wouldn’t tell them that we’d sent him to live with a family in the country. And I don’t tell them that Santa brings them presents at Christmas time.

I’m not going to say that I have never, ever stretched the truth to protect their feelings. But I don’t make up elaborate lies just for fun and string them along for years. That’s why I can’t do the whole Santa thing. It would just feel weird. I respect my kids too much to lie to them like that.

When I was a kid and found out that Santa wasn’t real, it hurt. It was a shock to think that adults could conspire on such a huge scale to trick me.

I always told myself that I wouldn’t lie to my kids about Santa. I thought other people my age would feel the same. But no. I’m pretty much on my own here.

In a country where most people don’t bother going to church, the Santa myth has taken on a kind of sacred status. If anyone dares to tell the truth – like Kitty Flanagan on The Project – they’re howled at as if they’re evil. But they’re just telling the truth.

Other mums sometimes ask me, “How do you stop your children from telling other children at school that Santa isn’t real?” Well, to be honest, that’s not my problem. If you want to lie to your kids, you shouldn’t expect me and my kids to cover for you.

 What are you doing to your kids?

But yes, I do tell my children that some families like to pretend presents come from Santa and we shouldn’t spoil it for them. My daughter has been good about it. Back in Year One, she came home from school and told me that a boy in her class had got in trouble for saying Santa wasn’t real. But she hadn’t said anything. (Why should that poor kid have got in trouble anyway?)


I’ve tried to work out why so many people are determined to keep up this lie. I used to think it was because they got a kick out of seeing how gullible their kids were, like the satisfaction you get when you trick someone on April Fools’ Day. But I couldn’t believe that parents were that mean. Then I thought that maybe they just enjoyed the ritual of it – leaving out the biscuits and carrots, etc.

But I’ve realised that it goes much deeper than that. I’m starting to think that for a lot of people, the belief in Santa was such a magical, special part of their childhood that they’ve never recovered from the revelation that he’s not real. Maintaining their children’s belief is a way for them to recapture that magic and keep it alive.

God, that’s tragic.

Just make Christmas about family. Not Santa.

It’s not as if kids need to believe in the existence of an overweight toymaker, a bunch of exploited elves and a herd of flying reindeer to make Christmas special. My two children absolutely adore this time of year. They love putting up the tree, they love driving around to see Christmas lights, they love waking up in the morning to open their presents.

Last Christmas, my imaginative three-year-old son decided he wanted to leave out food for Santa and the reindeer because he’d read about it in books. So we went through that whole ritual. It was kind of fun. But he knew that it was just make-believe.

Isn’t it time to end the Santa lie?

I think some of these kids would be happy to know that’s just a guy in a red suit…