Happy Family at Christmas
Credit: By David Castillo Dominici, published on 15 December 2011 - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Family_g212-Happy_Family_In_Christmas_p67240.html

If you are a parent, then it is very possible that you’ve struggled with telling your children the truth about Santa. It can be a pretty emotional experience for those kids who believe in Santa to find out that he is not real, especially if they find out by being ridiculed by the other kids at school for their innocent naiveté. Inevitably they will ask their most trusted source of information: Mom and Dad. So, what do you tell them when they ask?

“Santa’s not real.”

This could very likely result in tears and anger depending on how emotionally sturdy your kids are. Children who have had a hard life tend to be more emotional, so a blunt answer like this may not be the best way to go about it. I recommend that if you do want to rip the band-aid off so to speak, then you should at least offer a little encouragement after. Say something like, “Santa’s not real, but that doesn’t mean that Christmas is any less special” or “Santa’s not actually real, but that doesn’t have to take away from the loving and giving spirit of Christmas!” Maybe you can come up with something a little better along those guidelines if neither of those will work for your family. It’s probably best to add an apology at the end too!

“No, no, no, honey! Santa is real!”

That one could blow up in your face quite easily. Of course in the end it’s up to you as a parent, because what other person knows your kids as good as you? But my advice is this: Children are more smart and attentive than we sometimes give them credit for, so if you lie about it after they’ve heard so much evidence against Santa from their friends they will most likely make it their mission to find out for themselves, meaning a not-so-great conversation down the road. It’s probably not best to put it off because it will only get worse.

“I’m Santa!”

Maybe in one way because you are bringing in the presents, but that’d be it. This is really just a polite way to say Santa’s not real, but you can still have presents at Christmas. And, for a lot of children that softens the blow a bit.

When my wife and I had our beautiful baby boy we decided that we never wanted to lie to him, even if it meant that he would know from the beginning that Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny aren’t real. So when he reached that age where he started talking about Santa we began telling him the story of a man called St. Nick who lived long ago and was a Christian man and a saint at heart, giving to people in need. He is 4 years old now and he knows that Santa is just a story, but yet he is still the most awesome child in the world. It has not damaged his innocence in any way, and his imagination is still very much intact! So, if you are a new parent, I’d advise you to follow that advice, and save yourselves the heartache. Of course our boy knows not to ruin it for other kids. We’ve taught him, and will continue to teach him, that compassion is key in relationships with others and telling kids who believe in Santa that he isn’t real will only hurt them and that’s not okay.

Again, in the end it’s all up to you as the parent and what you think is best for your children. Keep in mind though that your children will find out one way or another, and it would probably would be best if it were from you.