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To feel awful I’ve broken my kids heart?!

307 replies

TotalRecall · 04/12/2019 01:32

The good old Santa debate. Blush

I love the magic of Santa. I loved it when I was a child. My kids love it. My youngest especially REALLY loves Santa. He writes letters, talks to the Elves, regales me with stories about all the times he “heard Santa filling his stocking and pretended to be asleep” 😂 I could go on..

I have no recollection of being traumatised when I found out Santa wasn’t real. My eldest wasn’t traumatised in the slightest, and even joined in on making it magical for her brother etc.

So, 10 year old came into my room this morning and flat out asked me if Santa is real, because all his friends had told him it’s your parents, blah blah. He asked me to just tell him the truth please... so I did. He’s 10, I kinda assumed he really knew deep down, and he’s at an age where I don’t really want him to be made fun of for believing.

He was GUTTED. Like honestly gutted. Was really angry at me for lying to him, asked about the 27492025 incidences over the years where he had written letters or left milk and cookies or left things for the elves to take to Santa.. etc etc Blush
He was actually devastated.

I feel awful! I don’t know any child who has had such a strong reaction to being told the truth so never really imagined that he would. I actually feel like I’ve ruined his childhood by doing the whole Santa thing in the first place!

Should I have told him the truth years ago?!
I guess on the bright side he said I don’t have to do stockings anymore...

OP posts:
MarleneandBoycie · 04/12/2019 01:35

I don't believe he truly believed.

TotalRecall · 04/12/2019 01:38

Up until this year he definitely believed. His friends would definitely have made him think twice. But I think he WANTED to believe. Like when he was asking for me to just tell him the truth, I honestly think he was hoping I was going to say of course Santa is real..

OP posts:
Awwlookatmybabyspider · 04/12/2019 01:44

I believed until I was 13. I was a very young 13 though and still playing with my dolls.
I heard my mum filling up my stocking.
I think I know from about aged 10, but I chose not to believe that he wasn’t real.

I suppose you had to tell him the truth really didn’t you. I mean imagine if you’d have said “Yes he’s real” and In 12 months down the line he’d have found out for definite.
You can’t exactly lie to kids, can you

Shooturlocalmethdealer · 04/12/2019 01:46

I was gutted to once I found out Santa wasnt real.
I was 7 years old and my grandpa had dressed up as Santa.
I saw him take the costume off and I couldnt sleep at all I was so upset.
It's a lie you have told your son for years.
Of course he will be upset.
To be told a lie and to now have to not believe in something he believed in.
Santa is ridiculous.
Kids shouldnt be told there is one .
Santa gets credit for what parents do.
Boggles the mind.

Goldenchildsmum · 04/12/2019 01:46

You did the right thing. He now knows that when he asks you a straight question you will be truthful. That's a huge positive for him

BillHadersNewWife · 04/12/2019 01:55

I had to do the same last year OP. I found out much younger thanks to my mean, much older siblings who smashed the fantasy for me whenI was about 6 or 7 bastards

It's just one of those things. I've told DD that St Nicholas was a real man and that it's his spirit that is part of the magic of Christmas.

notangelinajolie · 04/12/2019 02:06

He'll get over it. He's hardly going to hold it against you when he's a strapping 15 year old is he?

Santa still comes down my chimney and my kids are in their 20's. Yes, absolutely you should still do stockings.

owlalwaysloveyou · 04/12/2019 02:26

I've always found this type of explanation interesting

Where you explain about how to become a Santa, if still feels a bit magic as you're picking someone to secretly give a gift to and think about what they'd like, wrapping it, hiding it somewhere for them etc. Worth a try to soften the blow?

Zoflorabore · 04/12/2019 02:34

My dd has found out the truth this year too. She’s 8 and in year 4. She has taken it very well and I’ve found it’s easier to explain if certain things she wants are sold out/unavailable etc.

I do appreciate what you’re saying though that your ds is gutted. When I was a child my much older neighbour and friend told me and no amount of convincing me otherwise would work. Friend was 8 and I was only 4.

My mum and dad were devastated. We’ve had several conversations over the years about it. I was a clever little kid and it made sense to me but it did spoil the magic of Christmas when I look back.

He’s 10 so presumably in year 5. I would be surprised if many or any of his classmates still believed. They hear so much in the playground and often play along for younger siblings.

TheClaws · 04/12/2019 02:52

There are much worse ways to discover Santa isn’t real than your Mum telling you gently. He’ll be okay. Reinforce with him that Christmas is all about magic and Santa is part of that; if he has younger siblings he can help create the Santa magic for them. Christmas is about spending time with those you love, and he is now at a good age to start learning about that rather than simply the material expression of Christmas.

AbsentmindedWoman · 04/12/2019 02:53

Definitely still do stockings!

Your son will be ok. The upset is probably more to do with a sense of outgrowing some aspects of childhood at 10.

JolieOBrien · 04/12/2019 02:57

I don't think my children truly believed except when they were really little. My daughter was a snooper and she would show her brother where the present were hidden which was either under my bed or in the garage.

Purpleartichoke · 04/12/2019 02:58

Do the stockings. Christmas magic isn’t quite the same now, but it should not stop. That would be a mistake.

Pinkbonbon · 04/12/2019 02:58

Well we all have to find out some time. Most kids deal with it by getting in on the joke and pretending to believe. But there are exceptions.

I remember I stayed up one Christmas to see if I could catch the con. Some old guy came in dressed as santa n put presents in the stocking (I pretended to sleep). Have never asked who it was - but imagine parents going to that lengths! Dunno if they paid some bum or it was a family friend or what xD I'm surprised I wasn't indignant about it.

Think you were right to tell him the truth. He'll be OK with it in time. Probably milk it for all it's worth this Christmas xD

brightonroc · 04/12/2019 03:00

Santa is real!

He's a metaphor for the good in humans, the giving without receiving, an integral love for others. Maybe this could help soften the blow? Magic does exist - just in far more believable ways than a dude on a flying sleigh...

I feel your pain though. I was 4 when I busted my dad doing my eldest was 6 when the shoeboxes made her question why someone as nice as Santa only gave to rich kids which led to me having to tell her Santa wasn't real. We still have magical christmases!!

AliciaFleas · 04/12/2019 03:01

YABU to stop the stockings. Xmas Sad

VenusTiger · 04/12/2019 03:09

I think he’s upset more that he’s argued on side of Santa with his friends and is now worried about how his friends think of him.

I don’t remember when I found out either OP and I was discussing this with my mom last week. My son is six and still believes, but has a few times mentioned kids in his class not believing. I don’t care what they think. Your son has a dented pride and he’ll be fine in time. Maybe you were upset when you found out, but just can’t remember? In time he’ll look back with fondness at how you managed to keep the magic going for all these years.
I certainly don’t resent the “lie” one bit, it made it all so magical and exciting.

Biancadelrioisback · 04/12/2019 03:19

Why would you not do stockings? My mam still does me a stocking and I'm thirty-something

BillHadersNewWife · 04/12/2019 03:31

Oh God yes...carry on with stockings! How miserable of you! My DC are 15 and 11 and love theirs still! They always open them first despite knowing there's only lipbalms, chocolates and pens and things in them...why would you stop!?

TotalRecall · 04/12/2019 03:34

Should I still do stockings then? I didn’t get stockings past teens, I thought that was normal. Blush

How does everyone do stockings? Just little sock type ones or big giant sacks? We did the big giant Santa sacks filled with gifts and it feels a bit silly to do that now, I was just going to take the stuff I’ve bought and wrap it for under the tree, so he will still get the same amount of presents.

Maybe I should do little sock type ones?

OP posts:
BillHadersNewWife · 04/12/2019 03:36

Well a sack isn't a stocking OP! use a stocking. You know...sock shaped felt or cotton thing.

A sack of gifts is not a stocking!

Caledoniahasmyheartforever · 04/12/2019 03:37

My dd found out this past week- she is 10 too and asked me to tell her the truth, as she had googled ‘is Santa real?’ and had found many links offering ways to soften the blow when telling your children that Santa’s not real.

I used a similar strategy to that suggested by @owlalwaysloveyou - when my children were 2 and 4, my dh and I had recently been through hell, I had become wheelchair bound and dh had to give up a very well paying job to be my full time carer. We spent months living off savings, having been told we were not entitled to any benefits. Christmas was approaching, dh and I were very depressed as we had long since run out of savings and were relying on my parents to buy us food. We were gutted that our dc were not going to have a good Christmas. Especially as our four year old was in prime Santa believing age. On Christmas Eve there were several knocks on the door, several sacks full of gifts for our children and several hampers of food to see us through Christmas. At the time I said to my husband that Santa the myth might not be real, but the spirit of Santa certainly was.

So when ds first, three years ago and now dd asked me to tell them the truth. I told them that whilst a jolly man in a white beard and red suit might not come to our house on Christmas Eve, Santa was real, and lots of Santa’s we’re spreading the fun and magic of Christmas when helping families who otherwise won’t wake up on Christmas Day with gifts or stockings. I told them the story of that Christmas when we had no money coming in and faced a bleak Christmas, and on Christmas Eve had received sack fulls of toys and hampers of Christmas food. I also told them that it was now their job to be Santa- that they were to be Santa to their younger sibling (my son is devastated his sister now knows the truth, he has had 3 fabulous Christmases being responsible for our elves and waiting up and putting all the presents around the Christmas tree and walking in heavy boots in our hall whilst jingling bells) and that now dd knew they were to be Santa to children who like them have families who have fallen on hard times and that evening they both excitedly picked out and chose a gift for a child. We also set up a secret Santa and both children are so excited to choose and give gifts for their appointed family member.

My husband volunteers for the local food-bank and our children are only too aware of the fact that there are families in poverty. We ourselves live frugally and the benefit version of ‘pay check to pay check’.

I felt sad but also happy that Christmas can really be about spending time with family, giving and most importantly celebrating the birth of Jesus. What I really love, is that my children are more excited this year than they have ever been.

Both children have also been told that as Santa’s, it is their responsibility to protect younger children from having the magic torn away by selfish older children, who despite having the magic of Santa when they were little, are happy to destroy that for the little ones at school.

I wish all parents took this approach, as it would allow children to actually believe and enjoy the magic for longer!


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Topseyt · 04/12/2019 03:38

Why on earth would you stop doing the stockings if everyone enjoys them?

He will get over this. I'm surprised he still believed so steadfastly anyway. He'll be going to secondary school before too long and would get taken apart there for saying Santa was real.

Just get on with doing Christmas the way you have always done it. He will survive.

TotalRecall · 04/12/2019 03:51

Mumsnet loves to accuse posters of being miserable.. I am anything but! Hmm

I just didn’t think I needed to do the stressful waiting around until the kids are sleep and stealthily sneaking in to fill sacks. 😳

OP posts:
AliciaFleas · 04/12/2019 03:52

YABU to say Santa. Unless you are from the U.S.A.

Its Father Christmas Star

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