Help! DD aged 8 is asking about father christmas

(71 Posts)
Canthaveitall Fri 11-Oct-13 20:14:37

I am on here for traffic.

DD aged 8 has just landed the 'is father christmas real' question on me. A boy at school told her he is not. She is sobbing and has asked me for a straight answer. Just putting DS to bed - what do I say? The truth or some twist to make the magic last. Feel very sad she no longer believes. Yes I know that's a bit silly.

Sirzy Fri 11-Oct-13 20:15:54

Have you tried the "what do you think?" approach.

No real advice as DS is too young to question it yet thankfully. I can understand you being sad though, it seems worse when someone else takes that bit of innocence away sad

Balloonist Fri 11-Oct-13 20:16:39

I read this yesterday which may help you decide. I never realised how uncomfortable I'd feel about "lying" but mine are only small so don't have this dilemma yet.

YoMamma Fri 11-Oct-13 20:16:44

Yes it is sad but it would also be less than ideal if she still believed when she was 15 and got teased about it at school. The day has to come eventually and it's better to tell the truth now IMO.

Canthaveitall Fri 11-Oct-13 20:18:28

Thank you. I tried the 'what do you think' and she said 'just tell me'. I have been dreading this. I guess 8 is about right. Oh pants.

ukatlast Fri 11-Oct-13 20:24:42

Definitely tell the truth now she has asked.

Canthaveitall Fri 11-Oct-13 20:26:35

Thanks for the link. I am going to talk through the story of St Nicholas and talk about the legend continuing.

cherrytomato40 Fri 11-Oct-13 20:28:54

I think if you do tell her you could make her feel all grown up by asking her to keep the secret for DS (assume he is younger?) so that christmas will still be special?

lizzzyyliveson Fri 11-Oct-13 20:29:09

I think you should go for 'you have to decide for yourself' and then outline a few other mysteries eg the Yeti, Ufos etc. Say no-one knows for sure but there is evidence on both sides. The work-out is good for her thinking skills. Usually children are about 10 when they 'get it' because they lose their magical thinking at that age.

toobreathless Fri 11-Oct-13 20:30:55

'Father Christmas is real if you believe in him'

Louise1956 Fri 11-Oct-13 20:37:26

tell her the truth, at eight she is more than old enough to know the facts. The whole Father Christmas racket is ridiculous anyway - I always resented that old humbug getting the credit for bringing presents that my husband had paid for and I had slogged around the shops searching for. I was very glad when my sons stopped believing in the old fraud.

SaucyJack Fri 11-Oct-13 20:41:59

She has asked you to tell her the truth, so that is what you should do.

Father Christmas is a cute bit of fun for toddlers, but trying to insist to an older child that he exists when it's perfectly clear that he doesn't is a bit weird and OTT if you're asking me.

melodyangel Fri 11-Oct-13 20:50:37

As SaucyJack said if she has asked for the truth I think you should tell her but what I have always said to my children is that whether they believe or not the presents will still be there.

My Ds1 played along for years as I think he thought I didn't know confused

clr2014 Fri 11-Oct-13 20:55:17

Have you seen this?

BeaverAbroad Fri 11-Oct-13 20:55:22

Same, melody - I still remember 6yo DD1 coming over very solemnly, turning off the TV and telling me, in a sympathetic voice, that Father Christmas wasn't real. She even gave me a hug at the end and asked if I was upset! She was quite surprised when she found out I'd known all along, and I was quite surprised that since the age of 4, she'd played along for it all (some kids told her in the playground- not what I would have wanted, strangely enough she believed in the tooth fairy after all that).

She asked a direct question and I think you should tell her the truth. I think most kids stop believing then or a bit before, so it was going to happen eventually, it's just a shame it happened the way it did.

bababababoom Fri 11-Oct-13 21:00:58

Diefinitely tell the truth now ishie's asked you directly. If it helps, I was 8 when a boy in my class told me, and I asked my mum... she told the truth, and I wasn't traumatised at all, felt very grown up being in on the secret and keeping it going for my little sister.

We've always told our childiren the truth about Father Christmas - the real story of St Nicholas and that Father Christmas is a game we play based on him...however, they don't believe me and insist he is real!

Donkeyok Fri 11-Oct-13 21:02:35

cir2014 that is cool Im going to have to copy that. flowers

Tell her Father Christmas is like God. You can choose to have faith because it is a nice idea and makes you happy. if she wants more info tell her nobody can disprove Father Christmas. Or say adults are sworn to secrecy so you can't comment, she has to choose what to think for herself.

MajesticWhine Fri 11-Oct-13 21:07:13

I told my DC the truth once they actually asked outright like that. I think mainly because that's what I would have wanted when I was that age. Would not have wanted to be the last kid in school to know the truth.

PrincessFlirtyPants Fri 11-Oct-13 21:08:02

Don't keep it going for too long.

DH told me that when he was starting secondary school PIL had to sit him down and tell him Father Christmas wasn't real as they didn't want him to be bullied!

elfycat Fri 11-Oct-13 21:22:28

Whatever approach you use can you try to turn it into a game afterwards so there isn't a before/after belief thing but it's all good.

About this age I knew it was my parents and family that bought gifts. We would make a big song&dance about leaving "Father Christmas" used double speech marks as it's to be said with your fingers held up doing the old fashioned silly signs a mince pie and some sherry. DF would be standing looking theatrically sad sighing that FC would rather have a beer and a pork pie.

'Nooooo DAD, Father Christmas Reeeeeeaaallllllyyyyy likes mince pies and sherry'

It became the new silly routine for us, and even now in my 40's I'll do this if we are spending Xmas with my parents.

thegreylady Fri 11-Oct-13 21:27:19

I am away from home and need this on TIO so I can save the Cozi letter.

Sukebind Fri 11-Oct-13 21:30:46

The whole idea that actually it's a form of lying to your children does freak me out. I know people who have chosen not to let their children believe in Father Christmas etc. at all because they don't want to lie to their children. I have never seen the harm in it really and it's lovely to see their imagination working on FC and fairies and so on. (Although I am a little surprised that when we give toys to charities at Christmas for presentless children they don't ask why FC won't be bringing them anything.) But now my elder DD is 6 and fervently believes in fairies. She still wants to be one when she grows up and writes them letters (I have to reply). I think she's going to need counselling forever to get over the trauma of the truth. blush

CocacolaMum Fri 11-Oct-13 21:31:42

My ds said to me when he was 10 that some christmas ruining scrotes children had said that father christmas wasnt real

I said that I had no proof of anything but he had believed in the magic of christmas for 10 years and so far he had received presents every single year.. that was all I said.

He decided that he didnt want to rock the boat.

He is 12 now and clearly does know whats what but has promised to not be the person who bursts that bubble for dd. He understands that really father christmas is about the feeling of wanting to be nice and make others happy than an actual person.

Serialdrinker Fri 11-Oct-13 21:33:12

I had to be told starting high school, I was gutted. Christmas isn't the same without Father Christmas, keep the story going!!! Tell her that parents whose kids don't believe have to buy the presents but he still brings presents to kids that do believe.

People are miserable buggers over Father Christmas and get very sanctimonious over not lying to their kids.

If you think you can get one more Christmas with her believing then do it!!! If she won't buy it then I suppose you'll have to go down the letting her into the secret route but for goodness sake please tell her not to ruin it for other kids who do still believe!

(Still wishes he was real)

CocacolaMum Fri 11-Oct-13 21:35:46

can I just say though that I have 2 kids, am responsible (ok ok I am a control freak) for the wrapping of all bar my presents etc, go to bed usually at around 2am xmas morning after leaving it all til the last minute and STILL wake up before my kids wondering whether "he" has been.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Fri 11-Oct-13 21:40:16

Whatever approach you use can you try to turn it into a game afterwards so there isn't a before/after belief thing but it's all good. yes this, we still play along with it and Ds's are 17 and 20. I still read the night before xmas on xmas eve, they still take stockings to bed and I still tell them 'father christmas' won't come if they have a messy room grin
<they indulge me>

Balloonist Fri 11-Oct-13 21:41:12

Oh yes and I never asked my parents whether or not he was real and was upset when I heard that my sister had asked. I refused to talk about it at all at home.

moldingsunbeams Fri 11-Oct-13 21:52:55

I would tell her as well seeing she has asked directly and is 8.

Like babababoom we too have always told the truth about St Nicholas and dd for ages did not believe me and believed in Santa too.

Shes known for years now but she is very good and has not told her best friend who fully believes still.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 11-Oct-13 21:58:33

I think its very individual thing. My dd asked last year, I bluffed and she is talking about a letter to Father Christmas now. She is 9 and I think its lovely during primary school. Certainly wouldn't carry it on till secondary age though.
Let them have the majic for as long as they can, is my opinion.

Canthaveitall Fri 11-Oct-13 22:35:59

Update: After finding her googling ' is santa real?' confused I talked about the story of St Nicholas. I talked about how we keep the story alive but no he's not real as after all how would he get such a large bottom down our chimney. She found that very grin which took the edge off. I said she now has a special job to keep the magic alive for other children and let her stay up with me for a bit. She seemed OK about it but we shall see. I don't want her to tell other children but that's how she found out and I had to make the decision that was right for her. I tried the 'what do you think? ' and 'well you have believed and always got presents' but she kept asking and saying she wanted to know. I give it 12 hours before her brother is told wink

Canthaveitall Fri 11-Oct-13 22:53:56

That's lovely clr2014. I have actually shed a tear blush . I read this after the chat with DD. I think I will write her a copy later for her to read. She is very persistent and wanted to know if there was an actual person so I feel happy I have answered that. The letter explains to me why I have carried this debacle on if nothing else !

I told my own DCs as soon as they asked me outright. I don't think any of them were traumatised by the experience. however, I do believe that it not a good idea to deliberately lie to your DCs when they ask for a straight answer - even more so now there is the internet to expose your fabrications!

whatsonyourplate Fri 11-Oct-13 23:15:44

I feel for my dd she is at such an in between age. She is 9 and I've just bought her a 'growing up facts of life book', but she still got a visit from the tooth fairy the other night, and told me a few days ago she knew Santa was real cos he was far more generous than me and dh! I so don't want to burst that bubble.

Spelt Fri 11-Oct-13 23:34:45

I think people are sanctimonious about not lying to their kids when their own parents have kept these myths going for too long, in the face of direct questioning. That uneasy feeling of knowing that your parents are lying to you is horrible.

stargirl1701 Fri 11-Oct-13 23:45:40

Tell her that her Dad is Father Christmas. It is true.

Gruntfuttock Fri 11-Oct-13 23:55:48

You are right to have been honest with her. I'm 59 but can still remember the humiliation of discovering the truth in primary school and asking my mother about it. I was especially put out because my mother had always made a big thing about telling the truth and so I stupidly assumed that she told me the truth in turn.

campion Sat 12-Oct-13 01:22:25

My brother told me when I was 8 then warned me not to let on to DPs or he'd thump meshock

I told them I didn't think Santa was real the following year.My Mum's immediate reaction was 'DB told you, didn't he?'. Followed by bollocking of DB wink

Partridge Sat 12-Oct-13 08:41:57

I really don't understand all the "trauma of parents lying" stuff. Surely I can't be the only person who just worked it out and then played along for 30 years. It really wasn't traumatic at all...

Sirzy Sat 12-Oct-13 08:46:57

Partridge - same here.

dobedobedo Sat 12-Oct-13 08:48:23

Oh god this thread is making me sob like an idiot. Bloody pregnancy hormones!
My 8 year old is close to figuring it out too. Will use some of this advice, thanks!

HomicidalPsychoJungleCat Sat 12-Oct-13 08:53:43

Our 8 year old found out the truth about the tooth fairly this year and promptly asked 'so does that mean F.C. Isn't real too. I asked her what she thought and she told me that as she'd got a video message from him last year and he had her picture and loads of information about her her MUST be real. I just told her, well if that's what you feel then just go with that. She seems happy with it. But I'm sure she's guessed. grin

Lilacroses Sat 12-Oct-13 09:13:42

Same happened to me and my Dd. An older child told her rather maliciously at a similar age. Ugh it was horrible. Like you though once she asked me directly I couldn't lie. She sobbed and said "next thing you'll be telling me all the characters at Disneyland are dressed up people".......Ummmm!

nooka Sat 12-Oct-13 09:18:04

I've neither experienced the whole Father Christmas shebang myself nor perpetuated it, but it seem surprising to me that by the age of eight most children haven't figured out that it is a bit of made up fun (at least I hope it's fun!).

It seems to me that whilst when I was growing up that Santa wasn't that big a deal, just visits and stories really, now there is a bit of an industry around making it much more 'real', which perhaps is why older children don't challenge the idea. Those of you with eight years olds, don't they ask all sorts of questions about the basic impossibility of the idea? I don't really get why you'd not tell the truth, or at least play with the ideas enough to let them know it's just a bit of fun.

I should add that my children were under strict instructions not to mess up anyone else's fun, despite my irritation with the assumptions by a huge number of people that we met when they were small who would go on and on about Santa bringing presents etc.

Jinsei Sat 12-Oct-13 09:51:37

I think you know when the time is right to tell them. My dd started asking a couple of years ago and was happy to be fobbed off with the "what do you think?" type answers, so that's what I did. Last year it was different, and she clearly wanted the truth, so I told her.

I thought she would be disappointed, but actually, I think she just felt a kind of relief - she had just wanted to know either way, so she was glad that I'd been straight with her. We talked about how Christmas could still be a magical time, and about how she had to help keep the magic alive for others - and she did!

It sounds to me OP like your dd was ready to hear the truth, so I think you did the right thing in telling her. It's sad for us when they stop believing, but there comes a point when it's no longer in their interests to keep up the pretence. sad

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Sat 12-Oct-13 10:29:34

DD, then 7, took me aside and told me Santa wasn't real "but don't tell Mummy or she'll cry".

MrsDavidBowie Sat 12-Oct-13 10:29:40

ds sussed it when he was 7.
I had to bribe him not to tell his big sister who was 9.

firesidechat Sat 12-Oct-13 10:51:38

I think that I may be in the minority here, but we never "did" Father Christmas. We didn't say that he existed and we didn't specifically say that he didn't. However when asked by our children we did tell them the truth.

I don't think that they missed out and now that they are adults we have talked about it. They say that they did wonder if he was real for a few years, so they had a bit of the magic without us having to tell them one way or another.

It will be interesting to see what they do with their own children.

flaquark Sat 12-Oct-13 10:56:18

We never had Father Christmas but were threatened upon pain of death not to tell anyone that he didnt exist. I imagine we will do the same with future DCs.

valiumredhead Sat 12-Oct-13 19:07:06

FC it's a lovely story, nothing more. I don't understand all the angst surrounding keeping him alive confused

OP sounds like you did completely the right thingsmile

I didn't figure it out until I was 11 blush kids at primary school told me from the age of 8, but I didn't even tell my parents about it - just decided that their parents felt sorry for them and bought them presents because Santa wouldn't if they didn't believe in him grin my sister's 12 and I think she knows, but none of us have told our parents - I'm 19, brother is 14 and sister is 12 -, we just keep it going even though we know what's what.

I think my mum's excited though - I think she thought her Santa days were over for five+ years now that my sister's past it, but next year she'll have a grandchild to get excited about Santa with grin

Let them carry on believing it for as long as they like. Two of my friends in secondary school were very sanctimonious about the fact that their parents had never lied to them - one because they were very very religious and didn't give many gifts at Christmas anyway, and the other because "I don't agree with lying to my daughter". They were both miserable as sin at Christmastime, whereas I'm still full of Christmas spirit each year (I was wearing a Christmas t-shirt the other day blush ) maybe hormones are giving me a little too much Christmas spirit this year?

pixiepotter Sat 12-Oct-13 19:41:25

when they are starting to ask questions , then you have to tell the truth, otherwise you are crossing the boundary between playing along with a fantasy and lying.
I am utterly gobsmacked at kids believing at 8 yrs old let alone 11 and 12.

SatinSandals Sat 12-Oct-13 19:44:52

When mine asked me,around the age of 8yrs, I just told them. They had really figured it before that with questions about chimneys etc. I explained they had to keep it secret for younger children to have fun and that I was a firm believer in Father Christmas, which I am. It didn't stop the stockings.

SatinSandals Sat 12-Oct-13 19:45:41

I would be a bit worried if they hadn't questioned it by then.

Topseyt Sat 12-Oct-13 19:54:04

Mine had well and truly sussed it by that age, but we all still like to pretend anyway.

foreverondiet Sat 12-Oct-13 21:12:35

Tell her of course. I don't believe in lying to my DC. DS1 didn't lose first tooth until 7.5 and already by that point he knew no tooth fairy. She asked you directly so tell her the truth.

Tw1nkle Sat 12-Oct-13 21:19:17

I have a plan for when my DD asks.

I'm going to tell her about how 'Santa' came about.....about St Nicholas......and explain it that way, about the history behind it and why it's nice to carry on the tradition.....

Scholes34 Sat 12-Oct-13 22:46:08


dubstarr73 Sun 13-Oct-13 01:48:03

My ds about the same age as your lo said this to me a few years back.Now it does depend on your kids,i tried tha
t what do you think and i got the eyebrow raised at me.So i said if i tell you the truth you wont blab to other kids.He said no he wouldnt.So i told the truth and do you know what he never once opened his mouth to anyone..including his older brother i kid you not
Now if ere is any way they still believe i wouldt but my son said phew thats grand now i know what you were doing in Smyths a few weeks back.Dont underestimate them would be my view

superstarheartbreaker Sun 13-Oct-13 08:15:13

I think father Christmas is lovely for children. 8 is about rigjt to fibd the truth but all the cat bum mouths about lying to kids is kill joy in extreme imo.
There are too many harsh realities ib this world. Kids need a bit of magic. There is no excitment like waiting for santa on xmas eve!

paperlantern Sun 13-Oct-13 09:06:34

why on earth would you tell kids he's not real? he's real to meconfused

father Christmas is a little bit of magic. everyone enjoys a little bit of magic. does it really matter how the magic happens?

pixiepotter Mon 14-Oct-13 08:20:47

why on earth would you tell kids he's not real?

because he isn't.Trust is crucial to a relationship, and many parent very rightly, are uncomfortable with telling their children barefaced lies, when questioned directly.

Scholes34 Mon 14-Oct-13 10:29:18

Father Christmas exists as a concept. It's part of what makes members of the Scholes household produce nice surprises for each other over the Christmas period. With DCs aged 16, 15, 13 and 48, we still leave mince pies and sherry for Father Christmas, because he deserves it for helping to bring the magic of Christmas to our house.

NewBlueShoesToo Mon 14-Oct-13 10:33:28

You could always make sure that FC delivers presents that the children think you find unsuitable. That keeps them guessing. For example, I don't allow bubble gum and FC always delivers it, also computer games, a new hat when you've just bought one.

Whereisegg Mon 14-Oct-13 10:48:42

Ds(6) told me earlier this year - "I don't believe in God or Santa. I'm too much of a scientist" grin

Aww, your poor DD. At least she seems to be okay with the explanation you've given her and hopefully won't spread it to other children. It's such a shame when the magic is gone, but as others have said you can keep it alive in different ways that don't need belief, as such.

I was six when I found out Santa didn't exist - being a nosy bugger, I went snooping for Christmas presents in mid-December, and found a stash in my mum's wardrobe. My world came crashing down when, come Christmas morning, my brother had one of those presents in his stocking. sad

paperlantern Mon 14-Oct-13 14:03:44

pixie - you are very wrong. santa does exist to those who believe.

and if you look at the explanation I would give to a child I never lie once.

KellyElly Mon 14-Oct-13 14:14:02

Is Santa not real??? <leaves the thread sobbing>

paperlantern Mon 14-Oct-13 14:18:49

it much the same as the explanation you give a child about a magic trick

the magician says look I'm going to pull the rabbit from the hat

you say "look the man just pulled a rabbit out of a hat"

the child says "how?"

you say "Magic"wink

it's a miserable sod that actually explains the trick to a child, ruining for anyone in ear shot.

the essence of magic is that the magician lies to us, we know magic doesn't exist. but we don't care because knowing would ruin our enjoyment of the trick

paperlantern Mon 14-Oct-13 14:33:47

ps in this house hold we also "believe" in goblins and dragonsgrin grin

it amuses us

twinkletoedelephant Mon 14-Oct-13 16:05:31

Dd is 7 she asked I said it was very simple if you believe you hang a stocking and get some presents if your lucky if you don't believe you don't get presents and have to help mummy do all the cooking on Xmas day smile

She said she will believe untill she is 47 ;)

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