A Child Finds Out About Santa Claus

 

My ten-year-old son figured it out this week. The Easter Bunny too. At our house, we do family Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, then Santa delivers overnight. And on Easter Sunday, the Easter Bunny hides a basket for each kid. That Bunny is sneaky too – I think last Easter it took about 30 minutes of looking before one of the kids found theirs.

He’s been suspicious for a while, but we’ve held him off by saying, “C’mon, do you really think Dad would spend that much on Christmas presents?” – which is a pretty convincing argument in our house.

But my wife was driving him to school the other day, and the following conversation took place:

Jason was talking about us buying him an oboe and said that we bought Michael a sax. I said, “No we rent the Sax. We bought Michael a guitar.” Jason’s eyes got really big, and he sucked in his breath and said “You’re Santa Claus!”
We were both silent for awhile and I said “Would we buy you a 60-gallon fish tank?” and he said “probably not.”

And then this morning:

This morning in the car we had a conversation about Santa, and the Easter Bunny,  and he figured out that both of them are us. About 10 mins go by and he yells…”You knew where the Easter baskets were?!”

So, childhood ends.

I’m a little sad and a little relieved. It was a real pain getting that 60-gallon aquarium up out of the basement Christmas Eve without waking the kids.

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  1. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    When a friend’s son figured it out, she came to me and asked me to draw a little elf with the words “Keeper of the Magic,”  so she could give it to him like a special badge and swear him to secrecy so he wouldn’t blab to his little sister. I did it gladly. I thought it was a great idea.

    I was also the oldest. When I was 7 and we were at their friends’ house for Christmas, my mother tapped me on the shoulder and took me outside to sit in the car. There was snow everywhere. She turned to me and solemnly said, “I think you know already that there’s no Santa Claus. I need you to promise not to tell your younger sisters.” But I hadn’t known! I can still remember the feeling of the world as I knew it crumbling away. I started to cry, and a moment later I said, “Does this mean there’s no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy?” 

    My mom felt horrible. I don’t know why she thought I knew.

    • #1
  2. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    When a friend’s son figured it out, she came to me and asked me to draw a little elf with the words “Keeper of the Magic,” so she could give it to him like a special badge and swear him to secrecy so he wouldn’t blab to his little sister. I did it gladly. I thought it was a great idea.

    I was also the oldest. When I was 7 and we were at their friends’ house for Christmas, my mother tapped me on the shoulder and took me outside to sit in the car. There was snow everywhere. She turned to me and solemnly said, “I think you know already that there’s no Santa Claus. I need you to promise not to tell your younger sisters.” But I hadn’t known! I can still remember the feeling of the world as I knew it crumbling away. I started to cry, and a moment later I said, “Does this mean there’s no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy?”

    My mom felt horrible. I don’t know why she thought I knew.

    I don’t recall that I ever had a “moment” where someone told me or I figured it out.  I think it was just sort of a slow understanding over time.

    • #2
  3. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    My wife and I were always careful to not lie about Santa, just describe him with sufficient ambiguity that we could plausibly (later) claim to be talking about ourselves.  And we would have the older ones do the same after they figured it out, to not ruin it for everyone.  Worked pretty well.  I like the idea of a “Keeper of the Magic” badge.

    • #3
  4. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    When a friend’s son figured it out, she came to me and asked me to draw a little elf with the words “Keeper of the Magic,” so she could give it to him like a special badge and swear him to secrecy so he wouldn’t blab to his little sister. I did it gladly. I thought it was a great idea.

    I was also the oldest. When I was 7 and we were at their friends’ house for Christmas, my mother tapped me on the shoulder and took me outside to sit in the car. There was snow everywhere. She turned to me and solemnly said, “I think you know already that there’s no Santa Claus. I need you to promise not to tell your younger sisters.” But I hadn’t known! I can still remember the feeling of the world as I knew it crumbling away. I started to cry, and a moment later I said, “Does this mean there’s no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy?”

    My mom felt horrible. I don’t know why she thought I knew.

    I was the oldest. We went to church on Christmas Eve and opened our presents when we got back, assuming that Santa had arrived while we were gone. One Christmas, Dad told me to wait until my brother and sister were on the way to the car, then go back into the house, get the gifts from Santa from their hiding place, and deploy them under the tree.

    I had already known, but I didn’t want to spoil it for the younger ones.

    • #4
  5. Juliana Member
    Juliana
    @Juliana

    At our house Santa only filled the stockings. Then hid them around the house. As the older ones became aware, they were part of the plan and would find little presents to put in the younger one’s stockings. By the time they all knew, everyone’s (including mom and dad) stockings had little gifts from each member of the family, all of us playing Santa Claus.

    • #5
  6. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Juliana (View Comment):

    At our house Santa only filled the stockings. Then hid them around the house. As the older ones became aware, they were part of the plan and would find little presents to put in the younger one’s stockings. By the time they all knew, everyone’s (including mom and dad) stockings had little gifts from each member of the family, all of us playing Santa Claus.

    My mom used to go around the house after everyone went to bed and hang stocking  on everyone’s bedroom door.  She still tells the story of the time she put one on my brothers door (he would have been in high school at the time).  As she turned to leave, the door opened, his hand came out and grabbed the stocking, and the door closed again.

     

     

    • #6
  7. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    My wife and I never did the Santa thing with our kids.  My parents did it with me and my siblings, but I seem to recall figuring it out well before 10.  I think that Mom kept doing it, but we all knew that the gifts from “Santa” were actually from Mom & Dad.

    • #7
  8. Freeven Member
    Freeven
    @Freeven

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):
    My wife and I were always careful to not lie about Santa, just describe him with sufficient ambiguity that we could plausibly (later) claim to be talking about ourselves.

    So what I told you was true, from a certain point of view.” — Obi-wan Kenobi

    • #8
  9. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Freeven (View Comment):

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):
    My wife and I were always careful to not lie about Santa, just describe him with sufficient ambiguity that we could plausibly (later) claim to be talking about ourselves.

    So what I told you was true, from a certain point of view.” — Obi-wan Kenobi

    Precisely!

    • #9
  10. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    My 13 y/o son still sorta believes.

    I got wise at a young age when Santa’s handwriting looked suspiciously like my mother’s. 

    • #10
  11. SecondBite Member
    SecondBite
    @SecondBite

    Juliana (View Comment):

    At our house Santa only filled the stockings. Then hid them around the house. As the older ones became aware, they were part of the plan and would find little presents to put in the younger one’s stockings. By the time they all knew, everyone’s (including mom and dad) stockings had little gifts from each member of the family, all of us playing Santa Claus.

    Similar to my experience:  I am the eldest of six and I recall that after asking my Mom some inconvenient question about Santa, my Dad took me aside and said something to the effect that Santa is real, but not in the sense of a fat man with a white beard in a red suit, but in the sense that he is the spirit of giving at Christmas time and that he (my Dad) and my Mom were Santa in that sense.  He then told me that since I now knew and understood, that I, too, could be Santa.  That proceeded through my sisters and my brother, and then we did the same with our six.  Every single one understood immediately and was very excited to be Santa for the next couple of years until they decided they would rather sleep.  It has ended up being a fond memory for all of us.  The last couple of Christmases my daughter and son-in-law have been with us at Christmas and they have taken over the role of Santa, so my wife and I get to sleep.  It makes me sad when people feel like belief in Santa should be discouraged because he is “not real.”

    • #11
  12. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    I figured it out as well about the age your son did but I didn’t want to let on because I liked the loot I was getting. 

    • #12
  13. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Hang On (View Comment):

    I figured it out as well about the age your son did but I didn’t want to let on because I liked the loot I was getting.

    “Those who believe, receive”.

     

    • #13
  14. Richard Finlay Member
    Richard Finlay
    @RichardFinlay

    When my daughter was 10 or so, she left a note for Santa asking him for proof so she could show it to her friends at school who didn’t believe in him.  I was somewhat taken aback at this; didn’t know quite what to do. Santa was cool with it though, he even left her a handwritten note.

    Dear Katherine,

            Thank you again for the snack.  That was very good cheese.   I’m sorry that I cannot leave you a picture.  It is important that no one have proof.  You see, everyone must choose for themselves what they will believe.  When someone no longer wants to believe in Santa Claus, he stops writing, and stops expecting, and then, for him, there is no Santa.  But people who want to believe in Santa Claus can continue to hope and for them, Santa will always be alive.

                           Merry Christmas,

                           Santa

    • #14
  15. Snirtler Member
    Snirtler
    @Snirtler

    Metalheaddoc (View Comment):

    My 13 y/o son still sorta believes.

    I got wise at a young age when Santa’s handwriting looked suspiciously like my mother’s.

    Are you sure he’s not just scamming you?

    • #15
  16. Snirtler Member
    Snirtler
    @Snirtler

    At home, we celebrated Christmas through Epiphany (aka the Feast of the Three Kings) in January. It didn’t happen every year, but once in awhile I’d get small gifts from the three kings. I can’t remember how old I was, but I got terribly suspicious when I got a bingo set from the three kings that my nanny and I would play with at her instigation.

    • #16
  17. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    I had three older sisters…..I can’t remember ever believing in Santa Claus.

     

    • #17
  18. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Disclaimer:  I have no kids; I know I am an outlier; and I am an obvious curmudgeon.  On top of all that, I was raised Jewish so the Santa thing never came up in my family.

    All of that said, would someone please explain to me the reasoning behind the Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy thing?  I just don’t get why anyone would want to lie to their kids about this stuff.  It seems to me that all you are doing is teaching your kids that they shouldn’t trust what you tell them, and also that there are these magical entities that love them more than you do. 

    This is a serious question.  I don’t get it, and I would really like to know the thinking behind it.  Why is it so important to so many parents that they lie to their kids for as long as possible?  Please answer.

    • #18
  19. T-Fiks Member
    T-Fiks
    @TFiks

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    This is a serious question. I don’t get it, and I would really like to know the thinking behind it. Why is it so important to so many parents that they lie to their kids for as long as possible? Please answer.

    Looks like you’ve stumped the Ricochetti, for six hours anyway.

    I’ve been thinking hard about your question. My best guess is that humans have a built-in attraction to the mystical and mythical. We feel a sense of loss when we lose those things in our lives. As a result, parents want their kids to enjoy that sense of awe and perhaps even experience it vicariously.

    That’s my best shot.

    • #19
  20. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    T-Fiks (View Comment):

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    This is a serious question. I don’t get it, and I would really like to know the thinking behind it. Why is it so important to so many parents that they lie to their kids for as long as possible? Please answer.

    Looks like you’ve stumped the Ricochetti, for six hours anyway.

    I’ve been thinking hard about your question. My best guess is that humans have a built-in attraction to the mystical and mythical. We feel a sense of loss when we lose those things in our lives. As a result, parents want their kids to enjoy that sense of awe and perhaps even experience it vicariously.

    That’s my best shot.

    That seems plausible.  I like it better than “I just don’t want my kid to bug me for presents all the time, so tell him/her to write to Santa instead.”

    • #20
  21. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    When a friend’s son figured it out, she came to me and asked me to draw a little elf with the words “Keeper of the Magic,” so she could give it to him like a special badge and swear him to secrecy so he wouldn’t blab to his little sister. I did it gladly. I thought it was a great idea.

    I was also the oldest. When I was 7 and we were at their friends’ house for Christmas, my mother tapped me on the shoulder and took me outside to sit in the car. There was snow everywhere. She turned to me and solemnly said, “I think you know already that there’s no Santa Claus. I need you to promise not to tell your younger sisters.” But I hadn’t known! I can still remember the feeling of the world as I knew it crumbling away. I started to cry, and a moment later I said, “Does this mean there’s no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy?”

    My mom felt horrible. I don’t know why she thought I knew.

    I don’t recall that I ever had a “moment” where someone told me or I figured it out. I think it was just sort of a slow understanding over time.

    Early onset existential dread. 

    • #21
  22. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Juliana (View Comment):

    At our house Santa only filled the stockings. Then hid them around the house. As the older ones became aware, they were part of the plan and would find little presents to put in the younger one’s stockings. By the time they all knew, everyone’s (including mom and dad) stockings had little gifts from each member of the family, all of us playing Santa Claus.

    My mom used to go around the house after everyone went to bed and hang stocking on everyone’s bedroom door. She still tells the story of the time she put one on my brothers door (he would have been in high school at the time). As she turned to leave, the door opened, his hand came out and grabbed the stocking, and the door closed again.

    “I can’t believe you walked in on me when I was having sex with Ashley – don’t you know what a sock on the door means?”

    “It’s…Christmas?” 

    “Yeah, for me it is.” 

    • #22
  23. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    I figured it out as well about the age your son did but I didn’t want to let on because I liked the loot I was getting.

    “Those who believe, receive”.

    Pro-tip: Maximize your present acquisition by believing in mythical goods-delivering people and creatures from other countries and cultures. 

    • #23
  24. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):

    I had three older sisters…..I can’t remember ever believing in Santa Claus.

    Anyone kid with three older sisters probably has lost the belief that there is any goodness in the world at all ;) 

    • #24
  25. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    Disclaimer: I have no kids; I know I am an outlier; and I am an obvious curmudgeon. On top of all that, I was raised Jewish so the Santa thing never came up in my family.

    All of that said, would someone please explain to me the reasoning behind the Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy thing? I just don’t get why anyone would want to lie to their kids about this stuff. It seems to me that all you are doing is teaching your kids that they shouldn’t trust what you tell them, and also that there are these magical entities that love them more than you do.

    This is a serious question. I don’t get it, and I would really like to know the thinking behind it. Why is it so important to so many parents that they lie to their kids for as long as possible? Please answer.

    Santa can be taken as a variety of training wheels for faith in a benevolent unseen. 

    • #25
  26. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    My wife and I were always careful to not lie about Santa, just describe him with sufficient ambiguity that we could plausibly (later) claim to be talking about ourselves. And we would have the older ones do the same after they figured it out, to not ruin it for everyone. Worked pretty well. I like the idea of a “Keeper of the Magic” badge.

    This is how we did it too. And on Christmas, we only had one gift set out — seemingly from Santa– all other gifts were wrapped and labeled from Mom and Dad, or Grandparents. We really didn’t talk much about Santa.

    I mostly had the emphasis on doing good for others. We’d make a December calendar with a “celebration” event on each day: some were small, like “read a Christmas book” and some were big like “go and buy gifts to give away” like to the fire department or Salvation Army. We tried to make it a holiday season, with many things to look forward to, NOT just Christmas morning present-opening.

    I collected Nativity sets over the years, and my 10/11 year old daughters made me some adorable ones with clothes pin people, and other hand-made versions. So now, all of my decor is focused on Jesus’ birth.

    We really just didn’t want to lie to our kids!

     

    • #26
  27. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    TBA (View Comment):
    Santa can be taken as a variety of training wheels for faith in a benevolent unseen. 

    By that reasoning doesn’t it kind of follow that when the kid discovers there is no Santa it sparks skepticism about the benevolent unseen?

    • #27
  28. The Dowager Jojo Member
    The Dowager Jojo
    @TheDowagerJojo

    I’ve told this before, but I completely screwed Santa up with my kids. With my first, my daughter, I followed the policy of never lying just as Larry3435 probably would, so she always knew Santa was made up. But she was trusting and subtle enough to have enjoyed make- believe about Santa, and I came to think I had robbed her of fun.  So with my second, my son, I did pretend Santa was real, and then I think he did feel a little betrayed because he was more of a skeptical type by nature. *sigh* They survived and don’t hate me.

    • #28
  29. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):
    Santa can be taken as a variety of training wheels for faith in a benevolent unseen.

    By that reasoning doesn’t it kind of follow that when the kid discovers there is no Santa it sparks skepticism about the benevolent unseen?

    It could, but it wouldn’t necessarily negate the reasoning. 

    • #29
  30. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    The Dowager Jojo (View Comment):

    I’ve told this before, but I completely screwed Santa up with my kids. With my first, my daughter, I followed the policy of never lying just as Larry3435 probably would, so she always knew Santa was made up. But she was trusting and subtle enough to have enjoyed make- believe about Santa, and I came to think I had robbed her of fun. So with my second, my son, I did pretend Santa was real, and then I think he did feel a little betrayed because he was more of a skeptical type by nature. *sigh* They survived and don’t hate me.

    Different children mean different temperaments and maturation profiles*. 

    ______________
    *As far as I know I just made up that phrase; what I mean is that a child who can reason out that there isn’t a Santa isn’t necessarily able to get past feelings of betrayal to understanding the value of a higher purpose. Some minds just trend black and white in any case. 

    • #30