How to Tell Your Kids About Santa

Family, Love

Telling your kids the truth about Santa is also an opportunity to strengthen your marriage.

This year, our 5-year-old sat excitedly on Santa’s lap at the local mall, telling him all the wonderful things that he wanted for Christmas. Much to my dismay, Santa kept agreeing to everything our son was asking for. I was straining to hear everything he mentioned, while I thought, "Stop promising my son everything! His mom and dad aren't made of money!"

Telling your kids the truth about Santa can be a strenuous thing. I knew about Santa from about the age of 6, but I didn't tell my Mom and Dad about it for years. I kept the secret and enjoyed knowing, while my little sister still believed. My wife, on the other hand, had friends who told her all about Santa, and she then proceeded to tell other younger children that it was all a hoax. Forget Shopping And Celebrate What Matters

While you may have differing ideas of when and what to tell your kids about the big elf in the red suit, having the talk about Santa is a time to come together as a couple and a family. Here are some things you can consider together as a couple to help ease the pain:

1. You are on the same team. You and your spouse are in this together. When it comes to your kids and how and what you choose to tell them, you need to agree to it together, before you have the big talk. How To Compromise For Christmas

2. Pay attention to your child. Many psychologists and those who work with kids say that they will begin to let you know that they are ready to know about Santa. When little Jimmy asks Mom questions like "Why are there different Santas at the mall and stores?" Or, Billy sits with Dad talking about his friends who don't believe that Santa is real, this is the time when both of you can begin the conversation with your child.

3. Don’t make your child feel badly. This is the beauty of doing this together as a team. Often, I don’t have a good gauge of my son’s emotions and feelings. My wife has a great sense of them and is keenly aware of a change in attitude. With both of you there talking about Santa, it will be less likely that your child will feel silly for believing. As a family, you can have a real conversation about what they think and why. You and your spouse can tell your own Santa stories to encourage your child, and ask questions about what they believe and why.

4. Tell the whole truth. Much like in a marriage, when fantasy succumbs to reality, it's best to tell the whole truth. It helps ease the blow when you learn that the fantasy does have some kernel of truth. While I'm not sure about your relationship, when it comes to Santa, there is some truth to the myth. Nicholas of Myra was a real person who lived during the late 200s to early 300s AD. One of the stories about him was that he delivered coins to needy children while they slept. He is the person that our modern day Santa Claus is loosely based on. 

5. Model the Spirit of Christmas in your marriage. Explain that Santa may not be a living person today, but the spirit of Santa—loving others, giving generously, joy, fun and pretending—can still be part of your family’s life. As a husband and wife, we are the models for these behaviors in other areas of your life and other times of the year. So, as your kids are transitioning out of believing in Santa, make sure that the spirit of Christmas is part of your life as a couple.Becoming Mrs. Claus: A Christmastime Love Story

6. Teach your children about giving and receiving. We live in a culture that loves to get stuff. Our kids somehow have this naturally wired into their little bodies. Then, they watch too many episodes of Dora the Explorer, and all of a sudden they want everything they see advertised. If all your kids have done is receive stuff every year, perhaps they don't understand the giving part of Christmas. Again, we get to model this to our kids. If all we do is sit and get presents, perhaps it’s time to give to others who might have less during this time of year.

7. Explain the spiritual reason why Christmas is celebrated. The foundation of my marriage is my faith, which also happens to be the foundation of Christmas. December 25 was chosen by the Christian faith as the day to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Every year, we sit together as a family and read the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible, and explain that this day was chosen to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But it’s also a reminder of the faith my wife and I need all year round, when things are less than jolly.

How did telling your kids about Santa impact your marriage and family?