Managing the “Santa” Question!!






I love potatoe Clause, don’t you?  Oh, it used to be so simple, when all the boys were Daniel’s age or younger.  We bought the gifts, we wrapped the gifts, we barely even hid the gifts, no one asked any questions, and everyone was happy.

Joshua has been finding his gifts since he was four or five years old. I made up excuses (lies) to keep the magic alive. “Oh, that’s just your gift from us. Santa will bring you other stuff.”

We also always use the same wrapping paper. Caleb commented on it this year, “Mom, how come you and Santa always use the same wrapping paper?”

Oh, well, um…

But this year Joshua didn’t just find a gift or two, he found the mother load!!

“Mom, can’t you just go ahead and put all these presents under the tree?”

So we went ahead and put their one big gift and one little gift for each boy under the tree. I’ve bought five total for each boy.



They were so excited. Joshua made this giant present tower. Have you ever seen anyone else do that?

I figured Daniel would get caught peeking, and then they’d see why I can’t put all the presents under the tree. Joshua kept begging me to put them ALL under there. To my surprise, Daniel and Joshua have been supremely well behaved about the whole thing! However, I caught Caleb peeking, and J.D., one afternoon, with NO SHAME whatsoever, ripped open two presents.

Needless, to say, no more presents have been added, and the tower has actually come in handy. The boys pile the small presents, which interest J.D., up at the top where he can’t unwrap them.

It’s all rather ridiculous, because even through alllllll of this confusion, they STILL believe in Santa. Joshua even caught me shopping on Amazon. He’s nine, so I even tried to hint to him, “Well, Joshua, you know you DID find your presents. What do you think that means?”

Joshua got scared, “I’ve been too naughty, and I’m not getting anything!!!???”

(What!???  Not what I meant!!!!)  “Nonono, sweetie, that’s not what I mean at all. I’m saying, Joshua…”

Alan stepped in, “We buy the presents,” he said softly, as he hugged Joshua, “I’m sorry, Buddy.”

Joshua looked at us blankly.

We waited quietly, for it to sink in. We thought maybe he got it.  Nope. Still believes.

The next day, another gift for J.D. arrived. The rain had destroyed the box, exposing it for what it was.  I said, where Joshua could hear me, “I can’t put this under the tree. I’m going to put this in my closet, because this is a Santa present.”

Suddenly, it all clicked, and Joshua full on panicked. “What! Mom!  There’s no Santa? He’s not real? It’s not true!!!!????” where ALLLLL his brothers could hear.

“What!? Sh sh sh sh Joshua, go to the laundry room, and stop saying that, you’re going to scare your brothers!’

I didn’t know what to do. I was weak, and I did not enjoy that scene that I’d just witnessed, so I said, “Joshua, the Santa gifts are arriving here early because we are having Christmas here early, remember? Christmas Eve will be too late.”

It was all too easy. He was very quickly soothed.

OH! But now I have the guilt of a liar. 🙁 Now that he’s nine, it all makes me a little uneasy. The Santa magic has been so fun. I LOVE making a really HUGE, BIG deal out of Christmas. In Bible times, they always had great feasts and parties and exchanged gifts to mark events where God had provided for them. Why should Christmas be any different?

Of course, I don’t suppose they created any fictional characters in all of those Biblical feasts….

Sigh. This is one of the hardest things I’ve faced as a parent yet! Isn’t that silly? I don’t want to crush Joshua!

I figured the myth out by the time I was seven. Santa was a great big deal to us too, but neighbor kids told me he wasn’t real, and when I asked my mom, she just said, “Well, what do you think?” I said, “Well, I mean, I know reindeer can’t fly, and it doesn’t really make any sense.”

Mom said, “No, you’re right. He’s not really real.”  She didn’t make a big deal of it. It was still a shock, though. I quickly said, “But wait, then the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy…”

It’s such a major milestone in a child’s life.

Now I feel so guilty for perpetuating this Santa thing. I don’t want to kill the excitement of Christmas. They DO know the true meaning is all about Jesus’s birth, but still. Killing the fairy tales of childhood seems like a thing I do no want to do, you know?

So what say ye? How did ya’ll handle this?  I’d love to hear your stories.


felt tree

Our classroom tree: a felt tree that Caleb decorated with pretty gifts at the bottom and the ornaments. Joshua did the candy canes. Caleb has a surprising eye for making things look nice.


olaf drawings



Caleb worked hard on this Christmas with Olaf picture. Love it! 2 Olafs. The black rain is supposed to be snow.


another new thing this year: Joshua and Caleb are LOVING wrapping presents. My job keeps getting easier!


Our Christmas present tower cracks me up. Joshua definitely thinks outside the box.

We also couldn’t figure out where to hang the stockings, since we don’t have a fireplace. The boys solved that problem this morning. They hung all four stocking ON the Christmas tree. (pic to come later) Haa!


kids wrapped presents                                                 gift wrap by Caleb 🙂

I did ask Joshua, “What are you most looking forward to about Christmas?”

He replied, “Jesus’s birthday and the field trip.”

“Huh? What field trip?”

“You know,” he said, as he pointed to the calendar, to the day marked for Alabama.

“Oh!!!  Yeah!”

I’m getting excited too. 🙂

Now let’s hear your Santa advice!!





  • They are only young once. Let them enjoy the magic of Christmas. I, like your mother, waited til the kids asked me point blank, “Are YOU Santa?” Then I told them the truth. There was such a big difference in my kids ages, though that by the time Ethan came along, Amber really enjoyed keeping the whole Santa thing going for her baby brother. I can also remember when I heard, from my friends at school, about Santa. I knew the truth, but I kept it to myself… I was afraid “Santa” would stop giving me gifts if I revealed that I knew the truth.

    • I agree. They ARE only young once. I’ve always been a firm believer in telling fairy tails and imagining things. I’m going to put this cold water ‘no Santa’ thing off a little longer.

  • Mary

    We haven’t had to fully tell William that there is no Santa, but we’ve faced the questions. He flat out asked me, “Is Santa real?”. I replied the same way I always do. I told him that Santa is as real as you think he is. He said “There are some people who don’t think Santa is real.” And I said, “remember that there are also people who don’t think Bigfoot is real, but you believe he is right?” He nodded. So I said,”whether Santa or Bigfoot are real or not, it’s what makes your heart happy that matters.” He was fine with that and I don’t feel like I REALLY lied to him. I know one day he will know that there is no man that puts presents out, and then I’ll recruit him to help me keep the magic alive for the little ones.

    I think you did fine. It is hard when kids find out because they think they won’t get as many presents,lol. When you actually tell him, offer him the job of “Santa’s helper” and get him a special present for each year he keeps the secret and helps you pull it off!

    P.S. I love how openly you write about parenting! And I truly believe you’re doing it right! There are times when we all feel like we’ve done something that wasn’t out best parenting, but it’s the little loving moments that add up, not the sporadic crazy ones!

  • I wish I could “like” individual pictures because the wrapping paper cut-out is one of my all time favorites. Next to the arching back one, of course 🙂

  • Sorry you are having Santa issues. We choose to never pretend that Santa was real. They know all the gifts are from us (at our house) or grandparents (when we visit). They are all wrapped under the tree and the stockings are just for fun smaller stuff. I was crushed when I was little and to be honest it made me question a lot of the stuff my parents had “told” me. We prayed about it and decided that we want our children to know that we always tell them the truth so from the beginning we have never sugar coated it. We just smile when people ask and move on. 🙂

  • I’m someone who was never traumatized by believing in Santa. I loved it and at our house Santa always fills the stockings, but doesn’t bring wrapped gifts. I haven’t worked very hard to hide the truth. For example, I buy things to put in my husband’s sock and the kids see me do it. I don’t think any of my kids believe anymore, but we still talk about it like we do, because it’s fun. I know some families are doggedly opposed to all things Santa and that’s fine. I’m just not going to let anyone judge me because of our family traditions. That’s biblical. April, you do what you feel the Lord wants you to do. You can’t do anything to mess up Christmas. It’s a forever blessing for us all. I’m so thankful it doesn’t depend on me.

    • Oh oh oh I love this response, because you sound just like me!! I am horrible at managing to hide things. I was never traumatized either, in fact, I felt so grown up b/c I knew this big secret that some others didn’t. Meanwhile, I always thought Santa was fun. The stocking idea is good too. I always buy that stuff last, so they usually don’t find it–thankfully!! I can’t tell you how full my sock drawer is of tiny marios and plastic puppies…

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