PARENTING: I enjoy lying to my kids about Santa!

04 December 2017
Reading time3 mins

Christmas. A magical time of year, especially for children. For some, the illusion of a big fat man with a beard squeezing down the chimney to deliver presents is as big a part of Christmas as bon bons, mince pies and watching patiently while their parents untangle the fairy lights – again.

However, prepare to add another item to your list of “Things to stress about over Christmas” – should we be lying to our kids about the existence of the aforementioned bearded fat man (Santa, not the ageing hipster next door)? Or do such fibs mess our kids up later in life? According to a report by a bunch of psychiatrists, we should rob our kids of a large part of the wonder and magic of the festive season and tell our kids that Santa isn’t real.

The paper, “A wonderful lie”, in psychiatry journal the Lancet, states: “Morally, making children believe in myths such as this has to be questioned.

“Is the world so bad that we decide that it is better to spend around 10 years lying to children about a large jolly man who gives presents to all children with the help of mythical creatures, because it makes for more enjoyment at Christmas?

“Why should children question the parent who tells them to be careful touching a hot stove or crossing the road, when they tell them about a jolly man who apparently bends time and space to deliver presents to every child in the world at Christmas?

“If they are capable of lying about something so special and magical, can they be relied upon to continue as the guardians of wisdom and truth?”

So, in nutshell, if you lie about Santa, your kids won’t trust you on anything else.

I remember when I found out that Santa wasn’t real. My dad left a note from Santa for me one year. A handwritten one. With no attempt to disguise the handwriting whatsoever. Yep, I was deflated. But did I think, “Hmmm, Dad also told me that knives are sharp. I better stick one in me to see if he was lying about that one, too”? No. Give kids some credit.

They’ll probably be disappointed for a while, sure. But they won’t hold it against you – for long. If you decide to break the news to your kids this year, try distracting them with lollies/toys/games/DVDs, etc, etc, etc. If you want to keep them believing for as long as possible, enjoy the look on their faces as they open these things from Santa.

They’ll find out one day that Santa isn’t real, whether from you or someone else. Perhaps you’d rather they heard the truth from you so they don’t crumple in a heap when the “mature” kid (aka the “know-it-all”) tells them at school.

I, for one, want to keep the myth of Santa alive for two reasons:

  1. I get to eat Santa’s mince pie and enjoy his glass of sherry on Christmas Eve.
  2. Santa and his “nice list” is an EXCELLENT bribing tool. Truth be told, I feel a little unarmed come January when I can no longer tell my kids to do something “otherwise Santa won’t come.”

I’m sure bribing your kids is frowned upon too, but I’ve lost the paper that was written about that one…

Written by

Kerry White

Kerry is the Senior Writer for Kids on the Coast and Kids in the City. Kerry moved to Australia from England in 2013 with her husband and two daughters. She worked as a sub-editor in London for seven years before she had her girls. She now calls the Sunshine Coast her home and is making the most of its glorious weather and beaches. She enjoys baking, especially when she has a glass of wine in hand, and is a part-time Psychology, Criminology and Justice student. She also shares her home with two cats and her daughters' imaginary dogs.

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  • Guest - Jodie
    I've never lied to my kids about Santa, I can't lie to them. They still got their Santa photos and they absolutely love Christmas, but they've always known he wasn't real. When they were tiny we'd just say we're going to see Santa, but never told them he was bringing the presents. Our kids know who buys the presents and it's better that way...don't disappoint mumma, not Santa! One thing we did always make sure of though is that they never told anyone else Santa wasn't real, they didn't want to upset their friends who believed. I remember a school friend coming over (around 9yrs old) and he almost had a melt down when he saw all the presents under the tree "how did all those presents get there, it's not Christmas yet, Santa hasn't been?!?" So I've never lied to my kids, but had to tell one to someone else's kid to keep the farse going for him! "Don't worry mate, these are just the presents we've bought for other people, Santa's aren't here yet" :/

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