How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Stop Lying to your Kids about the Holidays

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It’s a tough call for some parents…

Which holidays stories do we tell our kids? Yikes. Whatever you do, make sure you’re very clear about your plan of attack and its storyline. A poorly assembled sentence here… A word they don’t understand there… and the result is major miscommunication about the characters and the tales you’re trying to pass along.

At the very least, maybe someone can find this little girl and tell her that Santa is NOT coming to kill her? That would be a nice holiday gift.

Don’t ruin the magic of the myth for your kids. Or, if you’re going the other way, teach them not to ruin it for others.

PS: You better watch out.


63 Responses to “Stop Lying to your Kids about the Holidays”

  1. Stephanie K. says:

    Lmao!!!! Omg WHAT?!?

  2. Emily says:

    Nothing bothers me more during the holidays when someone else’s bratty kid blabs to my sons that Santa’s not real, his parents buy his presents, etc. Come on–this is something that kids have only a few years to enjoy before they learn the truth. To each his own–if you don’t want to let your kids think Santa is real, then that’s fine–nothing wrong with that. Just tell your kids to put a sock in it when it comes to other (especially younger) kids!

    • charlie says:

      I can already tell this post is going to turn into a debate. I can’t wait to referee.

    • Braindonkey says:

      I just dealt with this with my 4yoD.
      Ash: Brendan said santa’s not real. And rudolf isnt real.
      Me(coy): Maybe brendan is not looking in the right places?
      Ash: no his mom said so.
      Me(redirection): Ah, his mom told him he cant see santa. Which is true, you can’t. (best lies are true)
      Ash: um. but. um. Is he real?
      Me(crap): He is for you.
      Ash: but we don’t have a chimney.
      Me(tiring): He is freakin magic and uses modern technology now. He just teleports in like in star trek, dumps the presents, eats a cookie, and poof he is gone.
      Ash: Oh OK good. Brendan is stupid i guess.

  3. Jason says:

    Yikes…. didn’t realize parents got so upset that other parents don’t lie to their kids.

  4. Soldi says:

    If you check out The Feminist Breeder (who doesn’t spread the Santa lie), she has blog posts about how her kids are convinced by other kids that Santa is real. Personally, I hate the Santa thing, but that goes way back.

    Oh, ahahahahahaha- the next verse: “He knows where you are hiding, he knows where you’ve run to, He knows if you’d prefer to be stabbed or shot- So watch out for Goodness sake”

  5. Emily says:

    There are a few kids over the last couple years who have told my sons (ages 7 and 6) that Santa isn’t real. It’s not “I don’t believe in Santa.” or “I’m older now, and I don’t think Santa is real anymore.” It’s always some snotty little punk who says, “Well MY mom said that Santa is a fake, made-up person who isn’t real, never was real, and that parents are lying to their kids about him.” blah blah blah. It’s not that they don’t believe in Santa; it’s their attitudes about it. Almost holier-than-thou, for lack of a better term. 8-year-olds shouldn’t be like that, lol

    • andy says:

      8 year olds shouldn’t be like that? Really????? Kids are cute but they have been known to be savagely mean or brutally honest. It’s unfortunate, but so is rain on a vacation. 😉

  6. Jason says:

    I agree that kids should be respectful.

    • charlie says:

      Word up. Agreed. But when it comes to the Easter Bunny, screw it. Let them be a-holes.

      • Ashley says:

        That’s right because what’s creepier than an old man sneaking in my house? A rabbit!

        I tell my kids Santa is coming, blah blah blah, they are 3 and 1! I just can’t get into that whole Elf on a Shelf crap. Now that my friend, is strange…

        Check it:

        • Emily says:

          OMG, I’m laughing so hard I’m crying! My boys have an elf on the shelf named Jax (one kid wanted Jack, the other wanted Max, so we came to a compromise). Last night when he returned home from the North Pole, he landed on my salt pig on the stove. My 7 year old asked me what happens when I cook dinner–won’t Jax burn his butt? The ONLY thing I don’t like about him is that I’m running out of places to set him!

  7. Emily says:

    I have to agree with the Easter Bunny–we’ve done that over the last couple years, but they don’t really care one way or the other. They just want the eggs with candy in them. You can’t really threaten kids that the Easter Bunny is watching them and won’t bring them candy if they’re not good.

  8. Monica says:

    What children fail to realize, is that at some point when parents try to teach them not to lie, they can look at their parents and go “Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy” Hahahahaha.

    I don’t want my son to believe in Santa, why should a fat guy in a red suit get all the credit for my hard work. Also, I don’t want him to think every fat guy in a red suit must be Santa therefore not a stranger. Creepy guy dressed as Santa does not make me feel safe. Just sayin’

  9. Emily says:

    @Monica I completely understand where you’re coming from. Some people tell their kids about Santa, and some don’t. To each her own. Do you at least tell your children not to ruin it for the little kids? :/

    I have a friend who refused to tell her daughter about Santa, Easter Bunny, etc. because she didn’t want her daughter to be “traumatized” when she told her the truth. I don’t remember the specific moment my mom told me none of the make believe people were real, and I also don’t remember being traumatized. I think at that age, I was probably starting to figure it out on my own, and I didn’t really care–I was over being naughty/nice, etc. I just wanted the presents and I didn’t care who they came from. 🙂

    • Monica says:

      My son will be a year old next week but when he is older, I won’t have him ruin it for everyone. I will read him the night before Christmas and treat Santa has a nice story but I don’t want him thinking every guy in a Santa suit is okay. The world is so different than it used to be and it scares the crap out of me sometimes.

  10. Mel says:

    My son’s friend (5) was told by another kid in their class that Santa wasn’t real, and she told her Mum ‘that can’t be right, the parents can’t leave their children alone to buy the presents, Santa MUST bring them’
    I remember waking up for a glass of water one year, and hearing a noise, so snuck out to have a look, and my Dad was playing with toys that the next morning had ‘from Santa’ in my Dad’s handwriting, wrapped in the exact same paper as presents from my parents….

    My kids believe in Santa, but I also tell them Santa is someone who loves them very much, so when the time comes, Santa IS real, he’s just not a fat man in a red suit, he’s someone (well 2 people) who love them very much

    • Christina says:

      My parents were more sneaky…and remain so to this day. All presents from Santa are wrapped in special wrapping paper with very minimal writing on them (our name hidden on the bottom of the package).

      Funny, the youngest is nearly 18 and we still “believe” in Santa. But then, Santa was never a lie in our house. We learned about the myth and REAL Santa Clause – Jolly Old St. Nick. So, finding out the “truth” that the guy at the N. Pole doesn’t exist was really not that big a deal. Its always been a fun part of the holidays for us =p

      • Mel says:

        Santa uses the computer to write our kids gift tags (probably gets hand cramps), and bright paper, and we have brown paper and pretty ribbons with handmade cards.

  11. mnchopperdude says:

    Do those of you who tell your kids that Santa is a lie also tell them that Jesus is a lie? Both have an equal amount of evidence of their existance…..none that’s solid.

    Kids are kids. They believe in magic. They believe in buried treasure. They believe in Santa and the tooth fairy.

    Intentionally depriving them of that is crappy.

    -a dad who doesn’t believe in any of it, but loves watching the glow in his children’s eyes while their imaginations run wild.

  12. Brian Allen says:

    I believe the real problem is what children believe Santa stands for (I’m not kidding). When I was a child, I was told if I wasn’t good, Santa wouldn’t bring me any presents. So the reason for me being nice to my mom or behaving in the store was that I wouldn’t get rewarded by Santa otherwise. I’m sure many many kids grew up in this way. In fact, I see it happen all the time. Not only does this set up a dangerous precedent that you should do the right thing in order to be rewarded….but

    What happens when Santa is not real anymore? A child has to do what he or she is told merely because they say so? Why? What’s in it for me?

    You may argue all day long that it’s just fun for the kids, and that it’s harmless. You may argue that once the child finds out the truth, he or she will just be upset for a little bit. But the truth is that, at an early stage in a child’s development they are being taught; That it’s ok to lie, and that you should be nice and do the right thing only to get something in return.

    Once the Santa myth is busted the children learn another lesson: Their parents lie. And if your parents will lie to you, why then, should you not lie to them?

    • Christina says:

      Growing up in a Christian home, this was a tradition for us that we still do, to…

      We had the naughty and nice Santa thing, but whenever we did something nice for someone, we got to add a piece of “straw” to one of our nativity scene’s mangers…make Jesus’ arrival as comfy as possible by being as nice and generous as we could be…

  13. Brian Allen says:

    Let the games begin.

  14. Braindonkey says:

    Lie like a politician. You will need the practice later, keeping a straight face while saying ridiculous encouragements.

  15. charlie says:

    All this is to say I am ABSOLUTELY telling my son Santa exists.

  16. mnchopperdude says:

    Sounds to me like a bunch of people who either had crappy childhoods and resent it, or people who simply don’t know how to parent.

    I don’t know anyone who was traumatized by learning Santa wasn’t a real man….then again, I’ve got a 4 year old who just this year figured it out, wasn’t traumatized, and actually listens to us and does what we ask because we talk to him.

    If you need to bribe your kids with santa or other things (or scare them into submission with stories of a fiery afterlife for people), then your parenting skills are very sub par in the first place.

  17. Brian Allen says:

    I don’t want to say I was traumatized. That’s not it at all. Far from it. You just learn that it’s ok to lie. And that you can’t 100% trust your parents. It’s not trauma, it’s just a lesson.

  18. mnchopperdude says:

    And if thats what you got out of it, your parents were pretty crappy as parents….because deduction tells us they didn’t really talk to you about it.

  19. mnchopperdude says:

    BTW- humans lie. Everyone does. And all kids see it. Step one is to stop acting like kids are dumb. Step two is to make it commpn practice to talk to them.

  20. Eva Hamori says:

    It’s leverage. My kids are good in December, Santa is watching.
    My oldest is 8 and he said today that he knows the truth.

    No gift if you don’t believe I said… it is under his hat, no long conversation, or tears.

    We do one gift per child, and focus more on the celebration, choir and above all food.
    I have friends that have kids that know ‘the truth’ and they are more confused than anyone. Too serious, and they struggle with right and wrong issues across the line.
    Yet under their tree, you can not see the floor. So whose your Santa-daddy? Commercialism? Toys R US? I mean why bother at all then?

    When there are so few things in this world to truly get excited about and when we grow up, surprises get pretty scarce.

    My kids are worth it, to show them a little magic, when they are little, and I’ll keep my issues out of it, and stick with traditions.
    How about I pay for therapy if it is a problem once they grow…
    Just saying

  21. mnchopperdude says:

    Something of relevance perhaps… oldest son told me once that he could fly. Now, I know I shoulda kicked the crappy out of him for being a liar….but instead I asked him where he flies, what he sees, how he does it, etc. I ran it as lomg as i could because he was imagining, believing and having fun.

    Maybe I should take some parenting classes, cause my kids feel comdortable talking to me about ANYTHING, they behave without seeking a reward, they know the difference between right and wrong, and when they make a mistake I help them learn from it by asking questions like “what could you have done differently” and “why do you think this was a bad choice”?

  22. andy says:

    My two cents.

    I didn’t tell my boys that Santa existS, but I told them about Santa having existed, that there was supposed to have been a Sankt Niklaus (St. Nicholas) and such. We all still played at the mythology of it, pretending he did exist presently in all his magical splendor. We did cookies and everything, pretending. They loved it! I don’t think it’s wrong for parents to lie to kids about Santa, but I just chose not to do so myself.

    I figured that I didn’t need someone to tell me my army men were real soldiers shrunken down into plastic figurines for me to enjoy World War Awesome in my back yard.

    I did tell my boys that they should let other kids go with whatever their awareness was and not burst the bubble if they could avoid it. Tricky for a kid though. One of them even asked me, “What if a friend asks me if I believe in Santa?” I said, that you could say yes, if you did believe he once existed, without saying you think a magical fat dude is going to come down the chimney this year. They got it and seemed like responsible custodians of the “secret truth.”

    My parent’s lied to me about Santa and I didn’t like it. It was a clear WTF moment for me, and it felt like a massive prank. That was me though. I would just rather have pretended along with them that he did exist. That’s why I chose the path I did as a parent.

    • Cindee says:

      That’s fantastic, I’m totally going to go this route.

    • Monica says:

      Fabulous! This is what I hope to accomplish with my son. I still want it to be a fun time of year, but not a fat guy in a red suit. I will read The Night Before Christmas (I have the Texas version), but I want it to be enjoyed as a story. I want my son to know the real meaning of Christmas isn’t always about how many toys I get (though he will have a fair amount). It’s about caring and helping others. I was never told Santa didn’t exsist, I figured it out though. My mom died young, so my dad did his best. I knew he worked hard to provide for me and I couldn’t tell him I “knew” I just let him keep it up. I also knew the Tooth Fairy didn’t exsist when my dad got lazy. He offered to pay me $5 per tooth and the Tooth Fairy would only give me a $1. Sold to the highest bidder!

  23. Brian Allen says:

    Hahaha, deduction. What is there to deduce. You’re deduction tell you that as a child I learned I was lied to, therefore I must not have had it explained to me WHY I was lied to? I don’t see your point.

    My mother explained it very well, kindly and patiently. As a parent you can do all the explaining you want, your child will know they were lied to. In hindsight, I’m glad I was lied to, I had TONS of fun believing in Santa.

    I turned out OK, I may be a flaming socialist liberal, but I’m fine with that.

    My only point was that, as you mentioned, when confronting the Santa Idea. What they learn, when learning the truth. And how they learn the truth will affect them (not traumatize them) for the rest of their lives.

  24. Emily says:

    As I said before, I don’t remember having the “Santa isn’t real” talk with my mom. Did I accuse her of being a liar? I don’t know. Did I grow up to be a compulsive liar whack job because she let me have fun and believe in a little magic for three or four years? Absolutely not.

    • andy says:

      Hmmmmmmm… How do we even know we can trust you??? Is anything even real!?! Lies!!! Lies!!! Lies!!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha! I’m kidding of course. 😉

      … or AM I?????????? Muhuhahahahahah!

  25. Brian Allen says:

    SO with you Andy!!

  26. I need some popcorn and a box of Mik Duds. This is good.

  27. Just no. Why lie to your kids? Why can’t Santa be just a character from a story like when you take them to Disney and explain how Mickey is just a guy dressed like Mickey?

    To me, lying to them is a major breech of trust. We spend so much time and effort helping them shape their little personalities and teach them basic principles. The look of disappointment on their little faces when they find out you’ve lied. Mom and Dad lied to me and made me believe some bullsh*t story until I was 7…..

    It’s not about the magic or the fantasy. I’m fine with that. I’m not ok with fooling them and then picking some arbitrary reason/time to burst their bubble.

    No. I’m the parent others love to glare at. My kids know the truth and yet it doesn’t diminish the awe of the holiday. If they ask me in public if Santa exists…..cover your kids ears because the answer is no.

  28. beta dad says:


  29. Avara says:

    I was never upset with my parents when I was told Santa’s not real (told by a friend’s older brother). The world is a hard place. I think we need as much magic as we can get, for as long as we can get it. To each his own, just please don’t try to ruin my kid’s magic.

    • Eva Hamori says:

      Well said!
      Anyways Jesus brings the toys, Santa comes on Dec12th and puts chocolates in our shoes…
      what do you mean that’s not right? I need to make a phone call…darn lying parents.

      I got a private response on Twitter asking if I needed money to get more gifts for the kids under our tree! LOL

      Every child is so different, I could never give parenting advice to anyone. It always bites you in the ass, once your child starts to rebel, oh and they will.

      Helped raise my niece and 2 nephew, in their late teens early twenties now and have an 8 and 6 year old, and each ones perspective on the same experiences are totally different. But never have I been called a lier.

      They just simply love Christmas, and once the bubble is broken the older get to help with the little ones keeping the magic alive. As much fun in our family!

    • Emily says:

      Hear hear!

  30. Christina says:

    I’m 28 and I still believe in fairies….

    <3 the Mysterious Magic that can only be seen through the eyes of a child.

  31. KellyAnn says:

    History and tradition and how we choose to raise our children. The clash is never more evident than during the winter months and the Santa myth. Santa was a part of my children’s early childhood and what a magical Santa he was. Santa brought each child a bed in their early childhood. They’d fall asleep in the old bed and wake up in their new bed. (Yeah, I don’t recommend that little tradition)

    Now that mine have passed into concrete operations and beyond, I do find I miss those magical up all night Christmas Eve nights; but one thing I can say for certain neither of my children struggled with understanding the difference between the truth and a lie.

    I wish their minds were in that magical preoperational stage for longer than it is but when that brain changes I’m always ready with “Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Clause.” And a new kind of magic begins.

  32. Joey E says:

    We don’t “do” Santa with our kids, but we have friends who do. We do teach our kids not to tell others kids that he’s not real. Because, as a general rule, no matter how we parent, it’s not our right to dictate how others parent.

    I wrote about that last year here:

  33. Hraustur says:

    Lot’s of overthinking going on in here.

  34. mnchopperdude says:

    Fete Foreign…..Santa IS a character from a story. One that a kid actively and imaginitively participates in. It’s no different than when my 4 year old spent every chance he got around Halloween this year dressed us a “bumblebee” from transformers pretending he was battling with other transformers.

    And if you want to be that anal, then every movie, every story, every book….all 100% lies.

    You people clearly lack the “fun” genetics. Hardcore hyper pc liberal thinking at its finest.

    Let kids be kids. It’s worked fine for a really REALLY long time…..

  35. Andrew D says:

    Children need the magic and mystery of Santa each year, even if some of them think he isn’t real. What is it’s the other way around, though? What if the children demand too much of Santa. Here’s an interesting story from a 13 year old in the UK that might make you wonder about older children’s views on what Santa and Christmas is about:

  36. Emily says:

    I just don’t get the whole “you’re lying to your kids, they’ll hate you forever!!!” way of thinking. Once a child is old enough to be told that Santa isn’t real (or old enough to figure it out for themselves), they should be able to understand that you weren’t lying to them to be mean, or spare their feelings, or cover something up–you were “lying” to them to make their childhood fun. It’s “Timmy, Santa isn’t real. Daddy and I have been buying your gifts for the last 7 or 8 years. Now that you’re older, the REAL meaning of Christmas is about celebrating Jesus’ birth, spending time with family, friends, etc. You’ll still get gifts, but Daddy and I will be buying them.” It’s not as if you’re breaking the news to an 18 year old that they were adopted. Jeez.

  37. Buzz Bishop says:

    Santa is not a lie. It’s a story about giving and sharing and kindness.

    Why take that from a child? Why hinder an imagination that believes reindeer can fly and a man can visit 6100 houses a second? Why put limits on what your child can believe?

  38. Turtle-Dove says:

    My parents told me that my Dad was Santa and that my Mom was the Easter Bunny, we loved it and understood that they were saying there r multiple “Santas” and that everyone has their own

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