The Santa Question

santa-clausI sometimes wonder how do other moms and dads deal with the age old and inevitable kids’ question “Is Santa real?”…..the one that falls in the same category as “Where do babies come from?” and “Why don’t girls have pee pees?”
As we approach this most popular of all holidays among kids in the US, I find myself in a conundrum trying to find the most appropriate answer. It was easier when the kids were younger and believed everything they heard or saw and the questions were simpler and limited to “Is today a holiday?” or “Can I have candy for breakfast?”….oh, how I miss those days when most questions could honestly be answered by a simple “No!”
So last Christmas, when my then seven year old son started interrogating me about Santa one day, I was completely caught off guard. In my quest to preserve his innocence for as long as I can, I went on the defensive. Quick on my feet, I had an answer for every logistics-related question that my over-analytical son threw at me. Just to give you all an idea, the questions included “How does Santa enter houses that do not have a Chimney?” or “How come Santa’s toys are packaged the same as Toys R Us’?” and the like…
In retrospect, after having put some thought into it, I have realized that if your child is old enough to challenge Santa’s existence, he is probably old enough to know the truth. Being honest with your child is more important than trying to keep the magic alive.
This year, having decided to be honest, I was prepared for the line of questioning I thought was coming any day now. But a few days ago, I overheard my eight year old telling my five year old that Santa isn’t real and that it was mom and dad that put the toys under the tree. I felt a pang in my heart on hearing that, even though it was exactly what I was planning on telling him anyways. But then to my surprise, I sensed a hesitation in him. He had a look of disappointment. It was almost as if he didn’t want to believe what he knew to be true, what his friends at school had probably let on. So when he looked questioningly at me seeking confirmation for what he had just divulged, mama bear instincts of protection took over again. I told him that I believe Santa is real. Quick on my feet again and borrowing heavily from “The Polar Express”, I said matter-of-factly that Santa is real only for the people who truly believe in him. Once someone stops believing in Santa, Santa stops visiting them and their mom and dad have to step in to get Christmas gifts under their tree.
Both my boys announced in unison “I believe in Santa” and I replied “I do too” and just like that magic was preserved for yet another year!

Last 5 posts by Neelam Kamdar Bhamani


  1. Khushi

    You know I am going through this dilemma since my son asked me about Santa this year. Its mainly because he sees the Toys r us toys at home and it sounds unreal to him – he is very analytical. But I have decided to go along with it for another year, not so much because of any liking for the concept, but because of the mom conspiracy around it – his classmates moms are very anxious I dont tell him anything.

  2. Anonymous

    I came to this website for a friend and saw your post. Part of my family is Jewish. We dont go along with the Santa stories. It is so commercial anyway, and I cant see myself telling a whole set of lies to them every year. Maybe you can explain to them about Santa and make up another day in the year when you give them surprise, wonderful toys and gifts (not related to good behavior). A contrarian take.

  3. rajvi

    My son has started talking about Santa for the first time this year. We will be celebrating Christmas just because it is so much fun to be part of all the festivities – but our celebrations are more around Christmas tree, decorations, food, party with frieds and celebrating winter – cider, hot chocolate, songs and smores by the fireplace etc. We tradintioally have not exchanged gifts and I still don’t have special gift for him this year. But since I like the concept of Santa, maybe we will have a small gift for him .

  4. Thanks, ladies for your your comments and perspectives.

  5. Will Castillo


    I enjoyed this post a lot. My wife and I also try to preserve this beautiful and magical innocence as much as we can. Santa’s visit is such an event at home where my whole family (aunts, grandpa, grandme et al) is involved… And we have an additional problem: Our kids waits for Santa awake so you can imagine the things we do to don’t get caught 🙂 We all enjoy.

    We had, however, the terrible experience of accepting the phisical truth to one of our nieces. But we stand on our believes that Santa do exists… and that we are only the way Santa put his gifts to them. In a sense… it’s truth.

    Regarding @Anonimous comment. Just another square minded person who believes that what he believes is the only true of the world. I don’t go along making suffer little children with a suppousely higienical circuncition. I don’t go along with that “mania” of keep remembering sad events of the past and wash kid’s mind with them, I don’t go with many things other religions does… I don’t even go with many things catholic religion does… but I respect them all. And I try hard to never disregard them. Let alone in public! Well… I can’t say you said it in public… given that you made your comment anonimouly.

    Anyway… Back to the point. To see, to enjoy that magical innocence in them is one of the most wonderful experiences that parents can have.

    All best,
    PS: Sorry for my English… I know it’s far from perfect but I did my best 🙂

  6. For anonymous to consider (and anyone else who feels the need to tell their children the “truth” about Santa… first and foremost, you mentioned that you are Jewish and can’t see yourself “telling a whole set of lies”.   You must realize that when you tell your CHILD whatever you believe, that he or she will feel free to spread your absolute truth all over his class and belittle those children whose parents have chosen to uphold the existence of Santa.   How will you keep him/her from such a mean-spirited act?  Second, since you are Jewish, it might be better simply to state that JEWS do not believe in Santa.   It is not part of your tradition.   All over the world, Christians celebrate the birth of Christ and part of the story are the gifts that the Magi brought.   You are correct that “it is very commercial anyway” … and believe me, if the spirit of a jolly ol’ St. Nick bringing presents to good little girls and boys were not popular (and profitable) you wouldn’t see festive decorations, on streets, in store windows and in peoples’ homes this time of year.   You don’t need to make it your personal crusade to shatter such a sweet joy under the guise of “truth”.   I wonder if you are as forthcoming with the “truth” of how babies are made, and the like?   Do you also do battle with the Easter bunny?   No one is undermining your miracle of the lights.    If you MUST (in “good conscience”  tell the “truth”  admit that your religion has its own set of beliefs and other religions have theirs.  Peace and good will !

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