Growing up, Santa Claus was probably a big part of your childhood. However, in time, you were told that he was made up. Maybe, you realized that he was just a story that your parents made up to make sure that you were disciplined at home.
Now that you have your own kids or nieces/nephews, you may be wondering how to tell kids about Santa Claus.
Whenever you choose to tell them the truth about Santa Claus is up to you, especially since the entire concept brings a lot of joy into the lives of children.
However, at some point, you will have to separate facts from fiction, and you’ll need to find the best way to tell your kids the truth.
This post will look at 10 different ways of how to tell kids about Santa Claus, and we will look at why they should work perfectly for you!
Of course, there are some key things to bear in mind when it comes to telling your kids that Father Christmas doesn’t exist, so let’s start with that!
How to tell kids about Santa Claus: Key things to bear in mind/do beforehand
Telling your kids about Santa Claus is no walk in the park because it can be traumatizing if it’s not done properly. Santa Claus is an icon of peace, goodwill, and the Christmas spirit.
If you are not careful, you might ruin the entire occasion of Christmas for your kids.
Here are some key things to bear in mind with how to tell kids about Santa Claus:
01You need to consider his/her age:
The truth is that there’s no set age to tell your child about the tale of Santa Claus.
It’s hard to say that there isn’t a guy in a red suit riding a reindeer-drawn carriage who delivers gifts to kids all over the world, starting in the North Pole.
You will need to observe your child’s behavior to determine the right time to have the talk.
At the age of five, your child may begin to question the logic of certain details of the story, and he/she may ask questions such as:
“Where does Santa come in, if we don’t have a chimney?”
“If it took us seven hours to get to London, how can Santa give everyone presents in such a short time?”
These types of questions can be an indication of a certain level of maturity, and it is perhaps the ideal time to set the record straight about Santa Claus.
Photo by Jessica on reshot
02You must explain why you “lied”:
Even if the word “lie” does not come up, you will have to give your reason for telling him/her that story in the first place. You will need to create some kind of understanding with your kids.
You should explain it in such a way that he/she understands what the story of Santa Claus means in terms of the “Christmas spirit.”
In other words, you’ll want to explain the moral of the story, which is kindness, goodness, giving, family, love, and peace at Christmas time.
This way, the entire point or concept will not be lost to him/her.
Photo by Hunter Johnson on unsplash
03Ask yourself if you’re ready:
If your child has shown no sign that he/she doubts the existence of Santa Claus, then you need to ask yourself if you’re willing to kill that bit of his/her imagination, especially if he/she is still very young.
You will have to live with the repercussions, so if you are not ready to explain and deal with the possible tears, you may want to rethink this decision and wait a bit longer.
Photo by Gustavo Fring under pexels license
04Figure out the least traumatizing way to say it:
Many kids cry when they are told that Santa Claus isn’t real. This is because Santa is a key part of the Christmas experience.
Some kids start to act out after hearing the truth. You will need to think carefully about how you are going to tell him/her and choose the best possible method from the list below.
You know your child best, and you should know what method will work best.
It is also important to note that you should tell the truth if your kids ever ask the question, “is Santa Claus real?”
This is a clear indication that the child suspects that something is wrong, or perhaps he/she heard that Santa Claus isn’t real from someone at school.
Lying to your child at this moment might cause distrust, and he/she may end up doubting what you say in very serious situations later on.
Now that we’ve covered what you should know beforehand about how to tell kids about Santa Claus, let’s move on to 10 methods that you can use to introduce the idea to him/her.
These ideas will help you figure how to break the news to your kids so that they understand that Santa Claus is nothing more than an urban legend.
Five ways of how to tell kids about Santa Claus in general
If this is your first child and you want to let him/her experience the joy you had as a child when you believed in Santa Claus, then you’ll need to find a good way to tell him/her the story.
These are five good ways on how to tell kids about Santa Claus and the spirit of Christmas:
If you’re not a good storyteller, you can buy a Santa Claus storybook. It doesn’t matter if it is a physical or digital copy, as long as it has the main concepts: Santa Claus, helpful elves, reindeers, the naughty-or-nice list, the North pole, and leaving out cookies for Santa Claus.
This is the general gist of the story, so it doesn’t necessarily matter if it is not the same version as the one you heard as a child.
After reading the story, you can follow it up by saying a few words to your child about Santa Claus. For example:
“Did you like that story? [wait for response] Well, if you are good this year, I bet Santa Claus will bring you something very special! Santa Claus only rewards the good kids with the presents from their wish lists. If you are on his naughty list, you won’t get any presents.”
This is good to say because it helps to reinforce the principles that were taught in the story about Santa Claus.
Kids love gifts, and if they know that being naughty will prevent them from getting a new playset, they’ll surely choose to be little angels from that point on!
Photo by anna.yanish on reshot
A Christmas movie is a great way to teach your kid about Santa Claus because you literally don’t have to do any of the explaining.
You can find a great animated movie with great ratings, or you can choose a live-action role-play to watch with your kids. When you’re finished, here’s an idea of what to say:
“[You can ask what he/she learned and correct any misinterpretation.] I’m glad we got to watch this movie together.
Santa Claus represents the meaning of Christmas, and this means he spread love and cheer to everyone. Did you know that Santa’s elves live all across the world?
You can be one of Santa’s little helpers by being nice to your brother/sister and your friends.
This will guarantee you a spot on the nice list, and I’m sure Santa will try his best to give you everything that you asked for this year!”
It is good to discuss this afterwards because the point may still not be clear for your child. It is important to note that, if at any time he/she doubts the existence of Santa Claus, you should just come clean and tell the truth.
Image from Pixabay under pexels license
A skit/roleplay is a great way to tell your kids about Santa Claus. This is not about distorting the truth in any particular way, but it is to help your kid to understand the meaning of Christmas.
Here’s a sample script that you can use with the help of two other people:
[Person 1, dressed as Santa]: I am Santa Claus, and I represent the spirit of Christmas. Some say that I live in the North Pole and deliver gifts to nice children on Christmas Eve, but I am just a simple man who is trying to spread joy and cheer! Anyone can be Santa!
[Person 2, dressed as an elf]: Hi Santa! Do you mean that I can be Santa Claus too?
[Santa]: Sure, why not? As long as you spread love, joy, and cheer, then you are just as much of Santa as I am!
[Person 3, dressed as a reindeer]: Does that mean I can be Santa Claus too?
[Santa]: Of course! As long as you spread the spirit of giving and helping those who are in need!
[Elf and reindeer]: How can that be Santa? How can everyone be Santa? How many of you are there?
[Santa]: There are millions of Santa Claus characters all across the world who help to keep the spirit of Christmas alive! Santa is not just one person, but it is a way of life. You should be nice all-year-round, and you should be nice not just for gifts!
[Elf and reindeer]: Wow, thanks Santa! We’re going to encourage all of our friends to become Santa characters too; we can make the world a much better place!
[Santa, Elf, and Reindeer]: Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!
You can edit this script to your liking, or you can change the characters if you want. The idea is that you keep the most important points. This is good because you won’t be setting your kid up for disappointment in the future.
This way, he/she knows that the true purpose of Christmas is giving and good cheer. He/she will not get too caught up in the imaginary aspects of Christmas and the story of Santa Claus.
Photo by Jakob Owens on unsplash
Sometimes, the best way of how to tell kids about Santa is by having a simple sit-down talk with your child. This way, you can connect with your child without any distractions. Here’s one way that you can do it:
“During the year, Santa and his helpers work hard at the North Pole to create the best toys that can be delivered just in time for Christmas!
It is a lot of work, but the milk and cookies that Mrs. Claus makes can help them to work harder and faster.
He checks in now and then with mommy and daddy to make sure that you are being good, and he collects the Christmas lists of little kids who live all across the world.
Then, the little helpers help to wrap these gifts. On the night of Christmas Eve, he makes a quick visit while the kids are in bed to put the gifts underneath the kids’ Christmas tree!”
This is a simple summary of the entire concept, which can be understood by the youngest of children.
The point here is that their good behavior will be rewarded with Christmas gifts, and it will work because everyone loves gifts, right?
Photo by KENNIS LEE on photo-ac
05Take him/her to the mall
There’s always a Santa Claus at the mall, especially around Christmas time. For this reason, it shouldn’t be hard to take him/her to the mall.
This will be the first time that your kid will be visiting Santa Claus, so it’s best to prepare him/her for what he/she is about to experience. You want to make sure that everything will go smoothly.
You wouldn’t want your kid to be one of the ones who starts to cry in Santa’s lap!
“Hey buddy, we’re going to go on a special trip to the mall today.
We’re going to meet someone called Santa Claus. Do you know who that is? Well, he’s the guy who brings you special gifts on Christmas Eve.
When you visit him, you should make sure to tell him everything that you want for Christmas so that he can get it for you, okay bud?”
This is likely a very young child, so you don’t have to get into specific details.
This is a good first-time explanation, and you can go into further detail if he/she asks questions. You can also change the explanation as he/she gets older.
It’s good because it prevents him/her from being intimidated, and it helps to bring the story to life.
Photo by __ drz __ on unsplash
Five ways of how to tell kids about Santa not being real
At some point, you’ll have to tell your kids that Santa Claus is not a real person. If you meet all of the requirements outlined above, you should have a look at these five ways of how to tell kids about Santa Claus not being real:
06Have Dad dress up as Santa Claus
To pull this off, you’ll need a Santa suit. You can find one in a costume-rental store or online.
Then, you can have your kid’s father, your brother, or any adult male, dress up as Santa Claus. You can ask him/her to have the talk with your kid. If you’re female and up for it, you can do it yourself too.
When your child sits on his/your lap, this is what you can say:
“Hey [insert name of kid], do you know who I am? It’s daddy! I dressed up as Santa Claus for you.
Whenever you see Santa, it’s someone in a costume who is helping to spread good cheer.
This doesn’t mean that you should stop believing in Santa Claus. Sure, he’s not a real person, but there’s a little bit of Santa Claus in every one of us.
Santa Claus is the spirit of Christmas, and he represents joy, kindness, and love. You can be Santa Claus too if you want to be.”
This will work because there is an actual person who is dressed up as Santa Claus in front of the child. This will help the message hit home, but the concept will not be lost on him/her because you will have explained it well.
Photo by Mike Arney on unsplash
YouTube is a great teaching tool, and people all over the world have used it as a way to instill core values in their children.
Some of the videos can help you to drive the point home that Santa Claus doesn’t exist in a way that is fun and educational.
As it relates to telling your kids the truth about Santa Claus, many animated videos can explain it well.
“I don’t want you to feel like Christmas is not important anymore. You’re a big boy/girl now, and it’s time that you see the big picture. It’s time that you understand the true meaning of Christmas.
If you have any questions about anything, don’t be scared to ask. We did this because we love you, and we want to help you understand.
Christmas is still Christmas, and there will still be gifts and tasty treats to enjoy. Now that you understand why we do it, it’ll be even more fun.”
This is a good way to explain Christmas to your kid who is just starting to show signs of maturity.
It is good because you are opening the door to more important questions, and you are letting him/her know that it is okay to still celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
Photo by acworks on photo-ac
A guessing game can work when your child has already shown doubts, and you want him/her to try to figure out what has been happening on his/her own. Here’s a way that you can get started:
“Hmmm, so who do you think gets you the gifts every year?
Is it Uncle Jimmy?
Is it Aunty Gracie?
Is it mommy?
Do you think it is daddy?
Who loves those Christmas cookies the most and ends up eating half of what we made?
[When he/she guesses right] Correct! [insert name] has been the one behind Santa Claus for all this time! He/she does it so that we can keep the spirit of Christmas alive in our home.
You need to understand that Christmas isn’t really about the cookies or gifts. It’s about taking the time to reflect on what is good in our lives and what we need to be thankful for.
It reminds us to be kind to each other, to love, and to share. Now that you are in on our little secret, you don’t need to ruin it for your classmates because they’re likely not ready to hear the truth yet.
Till then, you can be a secret Santa Claus for them too!”
You’ve raised a smart kid, which means that sooner or later, he/she will have figured it out.
This is a great way to sort of jump-start the discovery and to explain the reasoning behind it.
This is also great because you want to ensure that he/she does not ruin it for someone else. He/she can continue to uphold the tradition for others at school.
Photo by Gustavo Fring under pexels license
09Bring him/her Christmas shopping
Another way that you can give him/her the news is by taking him/her Christmas shopping.
You can ask him/her for the list that he/she was going to give to Santa. Then, you can announce that you’ll be doing the shopping for Christmas.
Naturally, some questions will start to form in his/her head, or it may actually confirm any suspicions. This is what you can say:
“Did we get everything that you wanted? Let’s wrap them and put them underneath the Christmas tree as soon as daddy/mommy gets home.
Since you’re old enough now, it’s time you know that we’ve been the ones who have been giving you the gifts. Santa Claus is not just one person; every family has a Santa Claus, and in our family, mommy/daddy make up Santa Claus.
We decide if you’re on the nice or naughty list, and we decide if you were good this year so that we can buy you presents.
Now that you know, I hope you’ll start to behave yourself more!”
You can switch this speech up a little bit, and you can do it before you go shopping if you think that would be better for your child.
This is good because you are letting him/her know that Santa Claus is not real, and you are allowing him/her to take part in what you’ve actually been doing. You can use this moment to teach him/her about the consequences of his/her actions.
Photo by freestocks on unsplash
10Relate it to religion
The story of Santa Claus can be interpreted differently depending on your religion or faith. The story has many different origins for this reason.
You can find the root of Santa Claus in your culture and explain it to him/her using a religious reference.
“Just as Jesus Christ died and was reborn three days later, Saint Nicholas died too. However, his story lives on with all of us.
Though he didn’t walk on water or turn water into wine, he’s known for protecting children, giving gifts to kids, and helping others who are less fortunate.
He even wore a big red robe, just like the one Santa Claus wears today! Every Christmas, when men and women dress up as Santa Claus, they are honoring his memory and what he stood for.
We should also try to honor that memory for as long as possible, and we should do it for all of the little kids who came before you and will come after you!”
This is a great way to do it because it will help your child to have a deeper appreciation for your family’s beliefs and religion, without taking away the true meaning of Christmas or Santa Claus.
It is also good because there is actual proof of Saint Nicholas [or his equivalent in your religion] and his good deeds.
Photo by Karl Fredrickson on unsplash
Christmas is indeed the most wonderful time of the year for both children and adults.
Knowing how to tell kids about Santa, whether it’s for the first time or revealing the truth, is a milestone that many parents may become anxious about.
Since we’ve shown you how to tell kids about Santa, you can get back to picking out gifts, decorating your Christmas tree, and spending time with your beautiful family!