Man in the big red suit - dilemma!

43 Replies



I have a 10yr old and a 9yr old who are continually being told by their french friends that "Santa" doesn't exist. While I think that they are maybe a bit too old to believe in him (not sure that the 10yr old DOES actually believe in him - but it's in her interest to keep stum if she doesn't!) - the 9 yr old is continually asking me (with a panic stricken voice and tears welling up in her eyes!) if it's true that it's really mum and dad who supply the goodies. I've tried to ignore it; asking her what she thinks about it all; and, skirting the issue by telling her that Santa is the "spirit" of christmas but I'm not sure if I should just come out with it and say "Hey! You had a great time believing in him - but now's the time to grow up and accept that it's our hard earned coffers which give you your worldly goods!" OR Just let her find out for herself and make her own conclusions (ie: carry on skirting the issue and ignoring her!) Any advice on the best way to go about this because - being a firm believer in Santa myself - I don't want the fun to end in this house and my BIG babies to grow up!Also just curious to know how it happened for some of you lot out there?? Are we a "Virus"?

Featured Classified


lucyloo-401627 1196258660

I can't remember how I found out Santa didn't exist. It can't have been traumatic otherwise I would have remembered. You could try telling her that because Santa is SOOooo busy at this time as he has to deliver presents all over the world in just one night that Mummy and Daddy have to help him out. Just because you can't see something doesn't mean it doesn't exist or that he didn't pop in when they were asleep. We always used to leave a little something out for him and for Rudolph too. It was almost a tradition - even though we knew our parents probably drank the whisky. (who knows?!) Keep the spirit of Christmas alive for them and for yourself. It is a wonderful time.

michka-391323 1196259674

I have a nine year old who still believes and all his friends do too. So why burst the bubble. My answer to when questioned if it was true was "if you want to believe, then it is true". When you do not believe it disappears and is no longer true. Which is true! it worked for me, but really I don't know who is fooling who, but I am happy to go along with it. Usually kids younger find out from their older syblings but why stop the magic. I told them about the tooth fairy being me the other week and they were a bit shocked, so I guess they do not want me to tell them this year.


tummy-403064 1196259894

I have spent my short time as a mother (9 years) trying to be honest with the kids but there are sometimes I just think that you can be forgiven for not telling the truth. This I really feel is one of them. My nine year old also has been told by a French school friend that 'he' does not exist and I just told her that I did not believe it and that it was not us who put out the gifts. I justify this to myself by believing that being a child, especially at Christmas, is such a short lived precious magical time and they spend a long time being an adult. Good luck and Merry Christmas.


orme-384975 1196264968

Difficult. So much depends on the child and how they're going to take it. Are the tears because Santa may not exist, because she's scared she may not get the presents if it is confirmed he doesn't exist, or because Mum and Dad have been telling her lies all this time (however white those lies are and however much they're done lovingly)?

With our boy we've always done the same as when I was a child: we put our stockings out for Father Christmas and got little presents in them like sweets, mandarins, crayons etc, then we had the 'real' presents after Church which were given by the givers. Only one of us was upset to find out (at 7) that Father Christmas didn't exist. As for my son, he heard about it at school when he was about 7 too and asked us. I asked what he thought, and he said he thought it was unlikely (being a logical, scientific sort of child, he recognised that sledges flying through the air being drawn by reindeer were to be classified with the fairy princesses and dragons as stories). So it was easier, but I suggested we carry on 'believing' for a few years just to keep the magic.

Some friends had trouble with their little boy who found out, again at 7, from his friends and whose older sister had known for a few years. He was extremely upset for days, but that was because he felt he had been let down by the family - everyone knew the truth except him and had tried to hide it from him (of course, big sister didn't help by saying 'oh don't be so silly, of course he doesn't exist'). As I say, difficult and I think only you, who know your children, can decide.

Epictetus 1196265607


I read this thread with interest. Whatever any of us believes is true about anything, IS true for us. How about checking out with your 9 year old what SHE believes and THINKS? If you see tears welling up in her eyes, what's wrong with asking her gently ' What is it that you find so upsetting ?' Whatever answer is forthcoming will give you a clue to whether or not she still believes in Santa. Whatever her belief, it's important to let her know that it's okay to have it.


Man is not disturbed by things that happen, but by his own opinion of the things that happen.

grannydot-403561 1196267097

Maybe you will just get this year, but they are 9 and 10 they will probably realise the facts together. we have Father Christmas suits, somewhere, in our conglomoration of boxes here, and we used to do childrens parties and really act the part, it was wonderful to see their faces so keep it going as long as you can, there is nothing like the magic for children, the same with faries. Why not let them believe for as long as you can.


magical1-393417 1196267447

Hi Epictetus,

I would not want to claim that there is a rule or or norm on the matter but my experience is that kids stop believing in Santa between the age of 4 and 6.

I am convinced that none of your kids' friends still believe in Santa.

You might wish time would slow down and keep your kids as babies but this is not going to happen. You are not being kind to your kids keeping them in the dark when all their friends have been put in the picture years ago. Also will they trust you again after that ?

All the best, Jack

bouledogue-395087 1196268433

I am in a similar situation to you as I have a 9 and 10 year old .My 10 year olds teacher matter of factly informed the whole class that of course Santa doesn`t exist , earlier this year .I think my son was the only one in the class who still believed in him so was a bit put out but was fine about it. My 9 year old has just been informed by every member of her class of the truth and was cross with us for not telling her , as in her words she felt " like a baby " ,as everybody else knew .She is also now fine with the truth .

michka-391323 1196269049

Magical 1 that is utter garbage, unless a child has older syblings they do not find out or get teased and that is true over here too. You do not understand the emotional content here as you are a man. Sorry but true.

Bouledouge I would be furious with the teacher who sounds a complete idiot and by French standards too!!!


La Luce 1196269444

I am in a similar situation as I have a 9 year old and a 7 year old. 2 years ago I think my eldest had doubts as most of her friends had told her he didn't exist so when I asked the girls if they were going to write to Father Christmas only my youngest did. When she got a reply my eldest started to have second thoughts. Last year a very good friend (who is perfect F.Christmas build) offered to come round all dressed up in a gorgeous F. Christmas outfit (not a cheapo job) to pick up their letters. They got the shock of the life when he walked in the door and for about an hour after he left the girls were on a complete high. The next day my eldest proudly marched into school and told everybody he did exist as he'd come round to pick up their letters. This year my friend will be coming round again and however much my eldest's friends keep telling her he doesn't exist she really wants to believe.

I remember I was so disappointed when I found out he didn't exist that I hope they'll experience the magic of F.Christmas a bit longer!

La Luce

Grumpy chap-403598 1196269653

come on get a grip we have a wood burner Santa can not down we tell them the truth,- - - - - - - - - we leave the back door open for him.

Epictetus 1196272088

Hi Magical 1

If you read my posting again, I think you will find that I wasn't suggesting, in any way, that there is a rule or a norm - I was saying that whatever any of us believe, at any age, about ANYTHING [not just Santa] that belief is true for the one who is believing of it.

Man is not disturbed by things that happen, but by his own opinion of the things that happen.

yann alan-382263 1196274053

I do not know how things are in England, but at school, in France, children arriveing in ce2 (8y.o) do not believe in Santa. I have been schoolmaster for 15 years and that was always clear. Older ones tell them about it and are proud to stop believe in Santa...

michka-391323 1196276129

My children are in French school and that will probably depend on the school then, but most definitely they are not told, it is not up to the school to tell them and they would not condone it if they did. So from what my French friends tell me, I would not agree with you Alan.


tony&lisa 1196282585

I can confirm 100% that Santa does exist. However, sometimes we need a little help in persuading non believers. The following link is a very useful free tool...
Further proof that Santa does exist can be found on the Norad Tracks Santa Site which I'm sure your children will enjoy....,we certainly do!

orme-384975 1196283366

I wouldn't worry if someone at a school told children that Father Christmas doesn't exist - it's not as if we're talking about God after all!

jilly-394675 1196284476

When my son at 10 years old looked me straight in the eye and asked me if Santa existed I just could not lie,and told him the truth. Afterwards he thanked me for being honest and said he had wanted to know for sure and had spent a lot of time worrying about it. When they are unsure about the truth it is no longer a magical thing for them just confusing.

matrixmum 1196286512

Gosh: I've had tears in my eyes reading these postings. I LOVE the idea of Santa but don't want the kids to feel or look stupid. I also always try to tell them the truth if they ask me about anything - so this kindof just goes against the grain; me telling her that I believe and that she should probably not listen to her friends if she believes in him. I have tried to tell them not to mention Santa to kids of their age and older because that's when a lot of kids stop believing in him - and that's (sad, but also) fine because it's up to others what they want to believe in. We're a family who believe but we don't want to push our opinions onto anyone else.

I'm convinced that she'll feel all of emotions everyone's mentioned but ultimately, I think that she loves the "magical" side of it all. Although she often acts like a 13 year old - she still loves fairy, magic, mermaid and angel type stories.

For this year, unless it gets too tricky to answer direct or truly concerned questions from her, I'm just gonna keep the big man alive. I'm 100% sure that this will be the last year Santa lvisits our house, so I will try to preserve his magical spirit - if I can!

and I've been a very good girl (for MOST of) this year ?!

Are we a "Virus"?

michka-391323 1196287553

Yeah right on, ditto for me. There are some who never have been children, unfortunately for them, who obviously know nothing about what we are talking about.


delabole 1196287873

He is real !! I went to his house in Lapland !

matrixmum 1196288567

Great website Tony&Lisa! Just finished printing off my Santa letters and I was positively buzzing with excitement when I'd finished creating them.

Thanks a lot xx

Are we a "Virus"?

1105kwak 1196298952

unless they tell "YOU" he doesn't exist. then i'd keep the idea of santa alive.

let their childhood last as long as possible.

god knows the're an adult long enough!

kwacker fred

RonB-385631 1196300282

This is great! Six pages of adults arguing about whether Santa exists or not! Love it!

yann alan-382263 1196327592

To Michka /

As a teacher I never told my pupils about Santa, whether he exists or not, that is not my job. What I said is that olde ones are very happy to tell younger ones he does not exist...

An tell the contrary is neither my job.

Steve & Emma-387518 1196328742

I have my suspicions our eldest isn't so sure he exists but so far last year I got away with finding her hidden letter to Santa and telling her he'd told me an answer it seemed to work. This year I was expecting problems as she is almost 10 years old but I found a really good website and she now firmly believes Santa does exist. Well she's sent him an email and as long as he replies(should arrive in next 24hrs) I think all will be well. The site is linked to norad tracks Santa too

I'm not sure how long I can keep it up as she has friends that are older than her but I will if needs be have a talk with her as her brothers are younger and still believe.

I remember being told by a younger cousin and it totally spoiled Christmas for me! I think once the Santa thing is over it's just a nice day and only half as magical. Also my mum and step dad decided as I knew I could have a lot less presents!!!!


Living in Saint Gelven(dept22,near Mur De Bretagne) and loving it!

driver-391131 1196329119

i tell my kids that santa only comes if you believe in him, a bit of incentive to for us

Father Christmas-403682 1196378953

Oh you Doubting Thomas' My elves told me all about this posting and begged me to reply.

Merry Christmas to all Believers young and old.

Santa Claus

nicotineoverdose-400361 1196421938

I think you may have started something here santa!

stupinder-400758 1196423364

We told the kids that he had unfortunately passed away in a freak sleigh accident which unfortunately caused untold tears.....but only for the one year!

Seriously let the kids believe as long as they can and retain that innocence (yes i know Brian its spelt wrong) what harm can it do to tell them that a great big jolly bearded guy will be visiting them every year.

We also told our kids that the Grimpeur Santas you see here every year were "burglar Santas". When they got to their stockings last year all they found was a note from said Burglar Santas" saying they'd got there first and nicked their gifts - oh such hilarity -we saved a bob or two as well.

Does that make me a bad parent?

toadinthehole 1196424547

We got everything from Santa as tots, then stocking presents from Santa and presents under the tree from parents as we grew bigger [nine or so]. By the time we realized that ALL the presents were from parents, we also could understand why the idea of Santa was passed along and that the spirit of giving was the reason for having Christmas at all.

Le Boxeurs 1196428191

If you can get hold of it, I recommend "Miracle on 34th(I THINK) Street" video - would send it you if I had it, but left behind in England! Sorts it out for all those non believers!

May children stay children as long as they can.

Ted Oliver

JudiB-390303 1196431037

Aged about 8, our son asked the dreaded question about Father Christmas...or at least that was what I thought he was asking. Good job I didn't dive in and spoil it for another year because it wasn't quite what I'd expected! He said one day, in the run up to Christmas, "Mum, Santa doesn't really have a magic sleigh and reindeer that fly does he?" My heart sank as I thought the myth was about to be exploded, but no...I asked him where he thought all the presents came from. He replied "Well it's obvious, Santa has a van and he leaves the presents in the porch after I'm in bed, then you and Dad bring them into the house!" Couldn't bring myself so argue with this so just said yes he was we still left the mince pie and sherry but in the porch instead of the lounge and no carrots for the reindeer that year!!

Whilst I know that the real Christmas has been hijacked by consumerism, I still love the idea of Santa bringing gifts, in moderation, is a lovely idea!


KittKatt-403662 1196432785

Don't forget that ST.NICOLAS did in fact exsist, he may have not have looked like the over commercialised Coca Cola santa we see today, but he WAS real, this is what I told my children when they asked the question, the TRUTH, they in fact added that the santa's you see today are just carring on the traditions, they are a bit like the disney carracters you see at Disney, they know that there are people inside but they are just keeping the spirit alive.

Have a break.

annemarie56 1196445455

These last few years we have struggled a lot financially and buying the children some "nice" Christmas presents was not always easy but I always did my best and bought things on offer during the year and put them in the loft until.I always tried to buy things that I knew the children would enjoy and not what was advertised on TV.Our 3 children were aware that things were very "tight" financially, so last year, when my 9 year old daughter said to me that some children at school told her that Father Christmas was really your parents, she told me she knew that he DID exist.I asked her how she knew and she replied, you and Daddy don't have enough money so you couldn't buy all these presents anyway.I felt a big lump in my throat when she said it.This year, she is 10 and I have told as gently as I could because as they get older, the presents they choose can be a bit too expensive and I explained to her that they are some things that we just can't afford.She gave me a big hug and said that she understood.As her little brother is 7 she agreed to carry on "believing" not to spoil it for her brother.

Le Boxeurs 1196453509

And THAT everyone is the spirit of Christmas!

God Bless

Ted Oliver

kd-402457 1196462844

The last before one posting really is what the Christmas spirit is all about.

I have today, had the unfortunate problem of trying to explain to my 7 year old that indeed father christmas is a make believe figure now and that it is not him who purchases and delivers the presents for all the children.

His 10 year old brother found out earlier this year that FC was not real and had been playing along with it for the sake of my 7 year old. However, today in class he was teased quite heavily for being the only one who believed in Father Christmas and they all said he was a baby because only babies believe in him.

He was DEVASTATED and has been crying on and off all night - he is still awake now and I can hear him sobbing gently to himself as I type!

I think that 7 is far too young to have the dream stolen - he is obviously too young to understand and be able to accept it. He feels betrayed by us he says and thinks that we were laughing at him last year when he realised that it was us who wrote his treasured thank you letter for the cookies/milk left out for Santa.

We went to Leclerc tonight to buy the big red outfit and beard for his dad to wear and we will make him wear it on the 25th to hand out the pressies, but no matter how I try to explain why parents 'lie' to their children to keep the dream/fantasy of Christmas alive he won't accept it.

OH HUM - in for a good few days I think!!!

toadinthehole 1196464573

Well somebody suggested the film "Miracle on Thirty Fourth Street" earlier in the discussion. That's a good one, even for those who believe they now know the "truth" about the spirit of Christmas. Maybe have Santa send it to him now through the mail or something. If you've seen it before you know that even SKEPTICAL adults learn a lesson or two before it's over.

I remember my sister getting doubts and the day before Christmas the bicycle my parents had ordered came with one pedal that was somewhat misshapen and had a piece out of the rubber. And there was a note of apology saying one of the reindeer had taken a bite. My parents looked as stunned as anybody. It must have been from the delivery man who could see the problem? Even as adults we have to say we don't know everything about the unseen, about the magic of the world. There is a lot to discover no matter what your age.

Le Boxeurs 1196507728

I can see this is a real dilemma for some parents out there - we really hate upsetting our kids, for whatever reason. I think that when they are older though, the memories of what Mum and Dad did for them at Christmas will stay. My son is now 22 years old and 6 feet 4 inches tall, but he STILL remembers the thrill of the one Christmas we had a fall of snow and he saw reindeer tracks in the garden (made by Mum in dressing gown and wellies of course!!!!) Shortly after that, the believing ended of course but the memory stays. Can't we all remember that "Does he, doesn't he?" feeling.

We have never been big on presents, but what we do enjoy is taking the time to make other members of our family smile - and showing them that we love them!

It may now be commercialised, it may be kitsch, everyone may have their own ideas of the right way to celebrate, some may celebrate through Faith, some with a big box of choccies in front of the tele,but as long as you are doing what is right for you - have a happy one!

Ted Oliver

ker-383685 1196611163

Put the decision onto the kids. Tell them that when they stop believing then Santa stops calling. It's then down to good old mum and dad to supply the goods.

orme-384975 1196611971

Oh wow, now that is one really good way to encourage children to lie to their parents!

michka-391323 1196638326

Yes Alan Yann sorry about the cross posting, I know, I was replying to the post of the teacher that told the kids that he did not exist. I realise you have more discretion than that as a teacher. The older ones do say, but the younger ones do not believe in my experience unless they are siblings.


gwenn-391886 1196651165

We have never told any of our children that a magical Father Christmas figure exists, everyone does as they think with their children and I respect other people's views, just for me I try not to mislead my children in anyway. One of my reasons would be that it is so difficult when faced with this situation, having to tell them it's not true cos someone else has said something to them must be so hard.

Pandora29-388840 1196666680

Good moaning all

Who started the rumour that Santa Claus does not exist ? Shame on you !! Of course, he exists !! I had a very kind, handwritten letter from him which arrived last Saturday, so there !

Years ago when we still lived in London, my mother sent a big parcel jam-packed with Xmas goodies, including a carton of cigarettes for Hisself (who has stopped smoking since). The parcel had been opened and re-sealed. Inside was a Xmas card explaining that entire cartons are against Custom&Excise laws, and that we are to tell Mum, but it being Xmas he will just this once look the other side. He also admitted to having had very serious problems indeed not to confiscate Mother's cookies. The card was signed by "Father Christmas". I will treasure this for the rest of my life !!!

BTW, telling the kids: Why not take up KittKatt's idea, because Saint Nikolaus was a real person, a bishop who lived in 350 AD or so and was known for his charitable deeds, providing two sisters with money for their dowries so that they could marry. This is reputed to have taken place in December, either on St Nikolaus Day or around Xmas, I am not so sure. Anyway, this led to the giving of presents as did the offerings of the three kings.

Thinking of the number of people living today, of course Santa needs all the help he can get so, yes, the parents are his helpers and substitutes. Children in general very happily believe facts and, yes, I firmly believe in Santa Claus, and that is a fact. Long may he continue !!

If your child is upset about learning the "truth", why not tell them that you don't care what other people have to say, you believe in him. This may soften the blow.

Hope that my ramblings make some sort of sense !

The Box

Join the discussion