Okay, so my daughter is 11 years old and still believes in Santa Claus.

Normally, I would be okay with her believing for another year or two, but the past Christmas or two her belief of Santa is causing her to look at Christmas and her father and I a different way. For Christmas in our house, my husband and I generally get a lot of good presents, but we save the big, great, expensive parents for Santa to give to her. Lately, our finances haven't been what they normally are, so we usually can only get one or two really good presents for our kids (our other daughter is 18).

Last Christmas, our daughter saw the obvious lack of presents under the tree before Christmas and got very upset, and that was because we got her tickets to a Justin Bieber concert for her and 2 of her friends and of course myself to chaperone (which cost a little under 2,000 dollars). On Christmas, upon getting the tickets from "Santa", she wasn't very happy, because she said she wished Santa had gotten her 3 or 4 more tickets for more of her friends.
The same thing roughly happened the year before, and it is happening again this year. I don't want her to think we are doing a bad job of being parents, and I think Christmas makes her quite selfish as "Santa" doesn't have to worry about money.

Should I tell her, and how?

  • 16
    Wow, you spent that much money on Christmas presents alone? Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 6:06
  • 12
    Also, wow, are tickets to Justin Bieber that expensive?
    – SQB
    Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 9:20
  • 12
    Also, wow, so you're basically giving her friends presents to the tune of about $1000?
    – SQB
    Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 11:33
  • 1
    She probably knows already. You should talk to her about the historical Santa. Commented Dec 25, 2013 at 0:57
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    Santa may not have to worry about money, but Justin Bieber does. Maybe Santa was able to get 4 tickets before his North Pole VISA card was rejected by Ticketmaster? Maybe her other 3-4 friends weren't high enough up on the nice list? Bad job at being parents? how?
    – user1873
    Commented Dec 25, 2013 at 19:58

5 Answers 5


I think it is unlikely that she actually believes in Santa, it's possible that she's using Santa as a way to express her feelings indirectly. By saying Santa is not giving her the presents she wants she avoids talking about it in a confrontation with you. My 11 most kids have figured out that Santa is their parents, you'll probably find the ones maintaining the fiction are you.

Many children want more than they actually get for Christmas, it doesn't matter if you spend twenty or twenty thousand. It's not the belief in Santa you need to tackle, it's the expectation that everything that is desired will be under the tree. You need to explain that she is not going to get everything she wants, whenever she wants.

As for how to tackle it, be honest, that's all. You don't have to bludgeon her with it, but don't sugar coat it either. Point out that her parents work in order to make money, some of which goes into buying present for her, and that there's only so much of it, so she should be grateful for what she gets.

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    +1 for suggesting she might already know the deal, and thinks that talking about Santa is an okay way to ask for more stuff. However, I might poll her friends' parents to get a feel for how likely this is before I had any discussion that relied on it. And even then I would be gentle. Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 12:42

I know I am probably a bit late on the uptake here - responding the day after Christmas - however, I felt I had a slightly different take on this one than the answers already offered. I am inclined to agree with GdD in that I suspect your daughter either knows and is using St. Nick as a way to manipulate - or at least she is suspicious and is saying the things you are concerned about to test you (and Santa) by judging the reactions you offer. I also agree that speaking with your daughter head-on about her feelings about the smaller pile of gifts under the tree is necessary.

However, I don't believe your problem is really one about Santa Claus. It seems to me, when you say things like, "Last Christmas, our daughter saw the obvious lack of presents under the tree before Christmas and got very upset" and, "I think Christmas makes her quite selfish." It sounds as if your true concern is about pleasing your daughter in the area of gifts and balancing that with her desire for more.

Whether your daughter believes the gifts come from Santa, or from you is truly irrelevant here. Instead, you may find it helpful to focus on appreciation for what one has/is given both for you and for your kids.

If your child really does still believe in Santa, It might be more helpful to say something like, "Part of being a kid that stays on the 'good' list includes being grateful for what one is given."

Regardless of her beliefs about Santa, maybe doing some charity work this year as a way to lead up to next year, will help make next year one taken with more perspective on the part of your daughter.

Here is a list of 100 Charitable Activities you can do with your family in case you need to find something you can go do together.

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    "If your child really does still believe in Santa, It might be more helpful to say something like, "Part of being a kid that stays on the 'good' list includes being grateful for what one is given."" - and this can be said even if the child obviously doesn't believe in Santa.
    – DanBeale
    Commented Dec 27, 2013 at 22:53

Our approach with the tooth fairy was always to explain that if the tooth fairy had a lot of kids in one night, you might get less, and sometimes you would get skipped altogether until the next night (this because we could never remember how much we gave the time before, and sometimes we would forget altogether!). You could try that approach - "Some years Santa has a lot more children who are good and deserving, so that means all the children get a little less. Isn't it wonderful that Santa makes sure he never misses anyone?" This could be followed by a bit of loose math showing how valuable the tickets are.

She is on the brink of figuring this it on her own, however, so you might approach the truth gently by asking her how she thinks that Santa gets to all the children on one night - then explain that he has parent helpers. Parents actually put the presents under the tree. When she thinks about it a little bit, she will realize that parents pay for those presents too. And from there she will extrapolate the truth that Santa is something that parents all over the world pretend about in order to make Christmas seem magical for their children. Now that she knows about Santa, she will get to be like the adults and help make Santa magic for other younger children she knows.

It's a rite of passage, and there is some disappointment involved as their are with all rites of passage, but post-Santa, children get to "negotiate" over Christmas to a degree. You can ask them their preferences and give them choices, which feels more grown up to them.

Good luck!

  • 1
    A good answer. Don't forget to also include that Christmas is about giving :)
    – Michael
    Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 3:01
  • +1 for the usefulness of the tooth fairy part of the answer! Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 12:27

I think you don't have to tell her, just work on the greed part. I have heard from a lot of other people that their kids still believe in Santa even up though 11 or older, which is way different from when we were kids. One friend said she thinks it's because of Polar Express -- in that movie, not believing is presented as a choice, and because believing is what makes Santa come, they can choose to believe. So of course when they hear that someone doesn't believe, they think "Loser!" and are happy that they still believe. When we were kids, when we heard someone doesn't believe, it was like "Oh! There is no Santa?"


To cover your tracks...don't. Just say sorry. Or if you want to tell the trurh tell her in a way of confessing for lying or covering for Santa.

If she asks again the truth about Santa: Tell her that it is a belief. And like any belief it is not meant to proven. Like going to the north pole. Just belief and get into the holiday spirit.

It is okay for her to believe in Santa since she is still a kid (7-13 yrs old) because pys' say that it is hard for kids to tell what is real. They will figure out what is real and what is true on their own.

I always told kids Santa Claus is based out of a story book and film. And that Santa is make belief. I encouraged and supported my kids about Santa as much i could with out lying to them.

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