Navigating the Santa Conversation with Your Kids: A Parent’s Guide

Welcome to a special piece by Liz Brown, our talented Calendar Editor and a parenting coach. In this insightful article, Liz blends her professional expertise and personal experience to guide parents through the delightful yet often tricky conversation about Santa.

The most frequently asked question I get this time of year is, “Should I tell my kids the truth about Santa?” I am going to share my thoughts on this one, and how I choose to approach this topic with my own kids.

The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer. Every family is different, and every family needs to make the decision on how to approach this topic. Whether or not your family chooses to pretend Santa is real, I do have some important pointers to help you navigate either route. I’ve also included some FAQ at the bottom for your convenience. Let’s dive in!

“I want my kids to believe Santa is real.”

Awesome! Many of us grew up with this belief, and many of us enjoyed it! By all means, carry on the tradition with your kids if you want to. Despite some of the advice out there, I can assure you that you’re not doing your kids a disservice by letting them believe Santa is real. 

I do encourage you to teach your kids that Santa is always kind regardless of behavior as opposed to using Santa as a threat to get your kids to behave a certain way. I personally am not a fan of the naughty/nice list, “Santa is watching,” or using Santa as a manipulative tool in any way. I could go on and on about this one, but that’s a topic for another day.

“I don’t want to lie to my kids, so I prefer to not carry on the belief that he is real.”

Fair enough! Now, who’s to say you can’t embrace Santa as a fictional character? This is actually how I choose to approach it with my own kids. You can embrace the magical story of Santa without pretending he’s real.

I still bake cookies with my kids and set them out with a glass of milk on Christmas Eve for Santa (or for me LOL), I still have my kids make a wish list or write a letter to Santa, my kids still receive a “Santa” gift…you get the point. You can simply tell your kids it’s all pretend; Santa is a magical person who brings us Christmas cheer every year!

Something to keep in mind is that our kids love to use their imagination! Our kids use their imagination every day; they pretend to be a chef in the play kitchen, a mom or dad while playing with dolls, firefighters or princesses while playing dress up, etc. The spirit of Christmas can still remain, whether or not we’re being truthful about Santa.

At the end of the day, we’re parents just trying to do the best we can. ALWAYS do what you feel is best for your family. I wish you and your family a holiday season full of peace, joy, and love. 

Happy Holidays,

Elizabeth Brown

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