I came clean about Santa Claus to my toddler (and get dirty looks for it)


It happened the other day. We had watched a movie about Santa and the North Pole. It was a lot of fun. A few days later, my kiddo came up to me and caught me off guard. It went like this:

Lil: “Mom, is Santa real?”
Me: (LONG pause, then deep breathe, then the words that made everyone think I am the meanest mom ever). “No, love, Santa is not real.”
Lil: “Is God real?”
Me: (Sigh of relief with my decision to tell her the truth a moment ago) “Yes, baby, God is real.”
Lil: (Deep in thought, then shrugs real big). “Ok!”

Then she scampered off and played with some toys.

Since this occurrence, she has asked me a few times if Santa is real. I have stuck to my guns.

And my family thinks I am so mean! I have already gotten a few gasps that I could be so cruel to crush my daughter’s dreams about Santa.

We have cute little Santa decorations, and I love reading my daughter books about the North Pole and the elves and how much Santa loves cookies and milk. I just had to make a decision, and in the moment I chose to tell her what worked best for me and my gut. I have a hard enough time being intentional with my daughter during this season to push aside the amplification on presents and things and talk to her about Jesus and the reason we celebrate Christmas to begin with.

I just knew I couldn’t personally do “Santa” and “Jesus” for the next years of her childhood life and had to pick one or the other to make it all about. I do believe in Jesus, and I want to do my best to share his love and story this time of year with her, and every other day of the year.

Do I think I harmed her psyche? No, I do not. Do I think she cared? Actually, not at all. Am I relieved I don’t have to lie to her the next few years about where presents come from. Oh yes, because I am the worst liar, even for fun things like surprise parties. I have a terrible poker face. And do I think she will ruin the hopes of other children? No. She hardly ever brings it up. It’s no biggie to her now.

Christmas will still be loads of fun, many traditions will be had, and we can still have Santa around. It’s just that instead presents will come from people she knows, not the big white-haired man that lives in the North. We have been baking cookies, listening to Christmas carols, and having a ball.

So, I am feeling less bad as the days press on about my decision, and actually am sticking up for myself every time I get the look of being the meanest mom in the world.

Am I the only one out there who has come clean about Santa to their young children? Share your stories with me!



  1. says

    I think you’re awesome for not lying to your kid! I don’t see any harm in still having fun with “Santa” even without him being real. As long as my kid wants Santa to be real, he will be, but as soon as she asks I’m going to tell her the truth!

  2. Iulia Gulia says

    We don’t so Santa either…and this is exactly why! If we lie about Santa, what else are we lying about. I don’t want my children to ever question whether or not I’m telling them the truth about Jesus. But yes, we get snark from family members about it too.

  3. Audrey Easter Fizer says

    I don’t have kids, but I did grow up with Santa. I’ve never really thought about when the appropriate time is for kids to “learn the truth” but I distinctly remember being upset when I found out. My reason: my parents had been lying to me about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. They’d lied to me for my entire life. I was crushed. I’m sure you’re doing the right thing for your family!

  4. says

    This is exactly how Nate and I plan on doing it with Caleb. We won’t make Santa a big deal one way or the other but, when he asks, let him know Santa’s not real. We won’t shy away from doing some Santa things with him, though, for tradition’s sake. We think it’s ok to have fun doing Santa things even though he’s not real and Caleb will know that.

  5. says

    I’m not a momma yet, but my parents came clean about Santa, the Easter Bunny, & the Tooth Fairy when I was very young. And like your little one, it didn’t change much for me, really. Christmas wasn’t about that Santa guy, anyway. Easter wasn’t about that bunny rabbit, anyway. Rather than building holiday traditions around lies, we built them around truth: the hope we have in Jesus and the love we have for each other. 🙂

    My parents DID let me know that some of my friends may think Santa is real, and that’s okay. It was our little secret for a few years. 😉 Thanks for posting about this! Love to read about your parenting style.

  6. says

    I definitely commend you for this. Neither of my kids believe in the Easter Bunny which is great! That one is a bit absurd anyway! Santa, I just can’t break my 7 year olds heart yet. I am thinking next year I may tell him. My 5 year old is heavy into the “magic” of Santa. However, from the general consensus of what I’ve heard, by 4th grade most kids “know”, they’re waiting for their parents to confirm. PS my sister who doesn’t have kids also said she won’t be doing Santa, period. To each their own 🙂

  7. says

    Way to go!!! Good for you for telling her the truth. You did not crush her psyche or destroy her childhood. You were honest with a child when they asked you a question. Santa is fun and a great symbol of Christmas. She still has that. You’re a great mother, do not stress over this.

  8. Jayme Carruthers says

    I believed in Santa for longer than is probably socially acceptable. But I think deep down I knew, but wanted to believe. Either way, that’s something my husband and I talked about this year. Do we want to do Santa with our kids? And I think it’s a very personal thing. I really don’t judge you for what you did. In fact, I kinda like how you did it. You tried Santa but then didn’t lie when she flat out asked. Besides, she’s obviously okay with it. 🙂

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