55

The approach we use, with our children, is to focus on understanding the reasons for belief, and the benefits of believing in something even if it's not real. Our oldest never really believed, and I didn't want to push a belief with falsehoods; by 4 he'd figured things out, particularly at his Montessori preschool with older children having intelligent ...


52

Is lying worse than the good aspects? Aren't the negative things it brings (telling them the truth eventually) worse than the good things? No. Children experience the world differently than adults, due to their incomplete knowledge. It may, in fact, be harder for some children to understand that my daily departure from home for many hours is what keeps a ...


49

It's absolutely possible to give kids presents on Christmas without bringing Santa into the picture. (Indeed, even in families whose holiday tradition includes Santa, there are almost always presents where the tag says "From Grandma" or "From Uncle Tim", not "From Santa".) Interestingly, even if you don't tell your kids about Santa, it's possible they will ...


38

There is no need to lie. Telling the "Jedi truth" is a different matter. I remember, back in college, turning on the TV and listening to some bible-thumper tell me that we shouldn't tell our children about Santa Claus, because we're eventually going to have to tell them that he's fake. And then...maybe Jesus is fake?!? I'm Christian, so this really got ...


30

We have explained Santa as a dress-up game that is played at Christmas. So far there hasn't been any conflict about it - after all, children of this age are often quite immersed in all kinds of play. So "revealing santa" is not any different from going to other children pointing out that their doll is not a real baby or that the motor noises come from their ...


29

I somewhat like Pratchett's take on the question "You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable." REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE. "Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—" YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT ...


20

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 ...


15

I pretty much told my daughter as soon as she was old enough to realize what Santa even was that it's a fun make believe thing, but it's not real. I also told her that a lot of other kids in school think it is real and that she shouldn't tell them. I did the same with all the other holiday characters, the religious stuff, and mythical stuff. For the most ...


12

My birthday is Christmas Eve and it's never been a problem for me! When I was little, my parents made sure that all the Christmas preparations were done by 23rd Dec, so the celebrations could start on 24th Dec and they weren't using Christmas Eve as last minute panic rush buying. They also used to give me a kind of "half birthday" in the summer - no party ...


11

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 ...


10

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 ...


10

I don't fault your parents for wanting everyone to come visit. Once kids get older and move out it becomes harder and harder to get everyone together, to have one more moment together as a family. That desire to have some more of something that made them happy isn't wrong. And the holidays are usually a good time for such things because many people get/...


9

I admire the practical desire to not duplicate toys, items and experiences with your kids. They probably don't need two of the exact same toy or need to go to the zoo with mom one day then back the next day with dad. But some things will be duplicated out of necessity (your kids have clothes, beds, food, etc at both houses right?). Other things will be ...


9

My experience was a bit different from most. I found out, at age seven, on a bus full of other kids on the way to school the day after Christmas vacation ended. I remember a burning sense of shame, and of betrayal. Shame for being so "stupid" as to have believed a lie, and betrayal toward parents who had put me in the situation where I had half a bus full ...


8

My parent's approached this in the following way: They told me that Father Christmas/Santa was a game that we play around Christmas time. We pretend that Father Christmas is coming to give us presents, riding his magic sleigh pulled by magic reindeer. And part of this make-believe is leaving out mince pies for Father Christmas, writing letters to him and ...


7

Part of a child's reaction upon finding out that Santa isn't real depends on how you talk about him. If you talk about him with using a lot of fantasy and whimsey and a kind of wink in your eye, they'll figure it out soon enough, because in real life, reindeer don't fly any better than pigs. If you also read other mythological stories, for example, we read ...


7

Don't lie to your children about Santa. Just don't. You won't destroy the "magic of christmas". Kids can have lots of fun with make-pretend without being lied to that its real. My brother and I were raised in a Christmas-lie free household. We got presents, and Easter eggs, and all the other fun parts, and we knew they came from our parents or assorted ...


6

My own childhood experience may illustrate a way that the figure of Father Christmas (as we would call him in the UK) can be introduced to children without the necessity of telling untruths (for any value of untruth). In my family we have a tradition of leaving stockings (very large ones) at the end of the bed on Christmas Eve and then having them filled in ...


6

Children can accept things like Santa as a part of their children’s world and know from decent hints that it is a fictional character (like other characters e.g. from stories or books) as soon as they are maybe 3 or 4 years old. There is no point in explicitly teaching them that Santa is not real. (Whenever I thought something explicitly to my kids - „this ...


5

In addition to the great answers covering how you portray Santa, I'll add something related that's worth thinking about, regardless of when you address the reality. How you handle the revelation is very important, also. Be aware of your child's personality, and be prepared for several different eventualities. If your child is a "rules" child - teacher's ...


5

If you earnestly lie to your children about Santa, you are lieing. Don't lie to your kids. If you have a make-believe game with them about Santa, you are playing with them in the way that they are perfectly accustomed to playing all the time. Let's play trucks, lets play cowboys and indians (OK, that's not PC anymore these days), let's play ... ...


4

I have no idea of the actual magnitude of the effect of lying to offspring about Santa Claus. It's almost certainly impossible to figure, and to me the magnitude of any given lie was irrelevant. What concerned me originally, within a few months after my daughter's birth, was the simple realization that a good portion of things commonly told to children by ...


4

A dozen different answers an a dozen different opinions. I have two kids who believed in Santa until about ages 8 and 7 (younger one got hints from the older one) and all I can say is that they were just thrilled with the idea when they believed and were not disappointed at all when they found out the truth. It was more like a funny teasing. There were ...


4

My own mother deals with her early January birthday by having a "birthday - observed" party much as royalty celebrate their birthday on entirely different days that happen to be convenient. She typically moved it to March. This might not work for a small child where the date has some magic to it. The neighbor child I know did half birthdays in the summer for ...


4

I've never let my kids believe in Santa, largely because I don't want them to think there's some mystical man bringing them gifts for "being good", when their loving family members are the real source instead. Yes, there's always The Polar Express and the need to believe and all that, but the underlying ideas here are generosity, community and family. That ...


3

My brother was born on the 23rd December, so he had similar issues. As our culture does celebrate Name Day, which is usually a lesser celebration as either Christmas or a birthday, it was common for him to have a larger party at his Name Day, which was at the other half of the year.


3

At a high level, even though truthfulness is very important for ethics, there are certain situations where it is ethically expected, acceptable, better or necessary to intentionally deceive someone. a ruse or feint in war undercover detective work a magic trick a feint in most games or sports a disguise or costume in a play concealing a surprise party ...


3

I think you should take a relaxed, agnostic approach - say, "I don't think he is real, what do you think?", and then talk about how different people believe different things, and emphasize that this is perfectly OK. When parents keep insisting to their youngest, that he is real, there will inevitably come a time when will realize that you have lied, and it ...


3

My wife had a great idea. We have a 3 year old and a 20 month old. We're planning to tell them about Saint Nicholas, and tell them that while Santa Claus is not St. Nicholas, he's the way people remember the good that St. Nicholas did. And people give gifts to each other in the name of Santa Claus to try to be more giving and generous. Our children could ...


3

First off, congratulations on seeing through the lunacy that has become of a celebration surrounding a man who had no real earthly posessions and encouraged others to ignore the meaninglessness of the passing world around them... Apart from that, you may want to consider what your own definition of the word "lie" is. I personally don't care if someone ...


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