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Canberra Writers Festival
23-26 Aug 2018

Christmas Countdown: how to deal with the dreaded Santa Claus question

By Rachel Moore 22 December 2017 6

The Claus cause: breaking the bad news to your kids about Santas’ real identity.

We’ve started the countdown – only 3 more days to Christmas! Here’s our comprehensive guide on dealing with Christmas in the territory.

How to deal with the dreaded Santa Claus question

It can be really confusing to know what to do when it comes to the big S question. Do you lie? Do you tell the truth? Does this mean the rabbit is out of the bag with the Easter bunny and tooth fairy?

Even if your choice is to not tell your kids, another parent or family member might let slip the Santa truth. You also might be a blended family where one set of parents want to tell the child and the other parents don’t. Perhaps you don’t want religion to be a factor? This is a really difficult question to navigate.

Taking a proactive approach to the situation helps avoid or tackle any devastating impacts you and your child might face. Regardless of what you decide, here are some tips on how best to scale this monstrosity of a question.

If you tell your child, alert them – other kids may not know about Santa

Your family may never choose to participate in the Santa side of Christmas but there is a significant amount of parents in your community who do. Ask yourself if you want to be responsible for shattering a child’s dreams. Remind your children how important Santa is to other children and this time of the year is about giving and joy.

Talk to your children about other religions and cultures

“Each to their own”, “Not my cuppa tea, but good for them”, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. There are almost as many colloquial slang sayings about beliefs as there are actual beliefs.
Giving your child the gift of learning about different cultures and religions allows them to expand their curiosity and discover diversity. This might also make the dreaded Santa question easier to explain if children understand cultural and religious diversity.

Talk to your partner

This question can be particularly difficult if there are multiple sets of parents, family and grandparents involved. Before walking into any conversations about what is going to happen, ensure that you and your significant other are a united front. Unfortunately, you might find yourself in a situation where you are hearing from your child that another party told them. You want to ensure that you’ve been proactive and already have a solution if you are presented with this.

Seek advice from friends and family

You often hear delightful and heart-warming ways that parents tell their children. Talk to those around you and see how best to break the news. Seek advice on how they told their children and think back to how you found out and if it was a positive experience.

Let your child be angry

When they do find out, because they eventually will, let them be mad. It is pretty devastating to find out a core belief you held was not real. For a child, this belief let their imagination expand and grow, so it is important to help them continue to explore their individual creativity. Encourage them to talk to you about how they are feeling and what you can do to make them feel heard.

Do you remember when you found out? Have you told your kids or have plans to? Comment below, we would love to hear from you.

Tomorrow, The RiotACT brings you: Alternative Christmas meal ideas.

You might also like to check out Christmas with the family and in-laws – a survival guide.

What’s Your opinion?


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6 Responses to
Christmas Countdown: how to deal with the dreaded Santa Claus question
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Lucy Baker 10:35 pm 23 Dec 17

Kids know for years before the parents “let them down gently” that there is no Santa Claus. Rest assured, it is a relief for said kids that they no longer need to pretend, indulging the delusional grownups!

John Moulis 9:55 pm 22 Dec 17

My family never went through this at all. Each one of us kids just figured it out by ourselves as we got older.

    Rachel Moore 2:55 pm 23 Dec 17

    Did the older kids tell the younger ones John? Did you all figure it out at the same time?

    John Moulis 4:32 pm 23 Dec 17

    No, nobody told anybody else. I assume it naturally happened with each of us as we got older. My older brother and sister would have deduced it first, and if they did they kept it from me and let me believe for another year or so. In my case I just worked out that the whole thing didn’t stack up.

    We were expected to believe that one man being towed by reindeer could visit and deliver presents to every home in the world within a few hours in one night. My parents had already driven us from Sydney to holidays in Taree and it took over four hours just to travel that distance. In Australia that was complicated by a song which was played each Xmas period called Six White Boomers by a person who shall remain nameless. So in addition to the reindeer story we were expected to believe that the reindeer magically turned into kangaroos as soon as Santa entered Australian air space, then changed back into reindeer for the rest of the world after that.

    Then there was the BS about presents being made by elves at the North Pole. The presents I was receiving were the same as what I had seen in the shops or on TV ads, and I had asked my parents for Santa to bring them after seeing them there. None of them had “Made in the North Pole” on them, it was always Made In Australia, or Made in Japan or wherever.

    At about 8 years old I had sussed it out, but my parents still had to give us two presents each, one from Santa and one from Mum & Dad.

    Rachel Moore 8:21 pm 25 Dec 17

    I loved that story John & it sounds like you were a smart kid – thanks for sharing. I would have loved to have seen the look on your parents face if you had asked them where the “Made in the North Pole” sticker was!
    I figured it out when I saw my Dad’s signature and writing on a warranty for a tiny boom box (#80’s kid) from “Santa” when I was about 5. My older brother told me to keep “believing”. So I did – until I was 13, hahah. I had a much younger sister so it was easy to play along and I refused to concede the farce; forcing my parents to eventually ask me if I still believed at around the age of 12. I feel like I won in some sense. Merry Christmas x

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