Not believing in Father Christmas

It’s finally happened. Fifteen years after our first Christmas as parents, our house is finally a Father Christmas-free zone.

And I’m totally ready for it.

If you’re sat at home reading this with a 2 year old and a newborn, you probably think that’s terribly sad, but, believe me, there comes a point when you’re fed up of the lies.

Now I don’t know for sure if my daughter still believed last year, but she certainly didn’t say that she didn’t. So we had to play it safe. This year she’s made it clear she doesn’t believe and it’s nice just to be able to say ‘What do you want us to get you for Christmas?’. No more carefully opening Father Christmas letters and promising to put them in the post, while actually sneaking them into a drawer to check for future reference.

Father Christmas is a web of lies which gets harder and harder to manage the older your kids get. When the kids go to school, you realise that everyone’s Father Christmas story is slightly different:

  • In some families Father Christmas only buys one present
  • In some families Mummy and Daddy give Father Christmas the money
  • In other families Father Christmas buys everything
  • In some families Father Christmas seems to have an unlimited budget
  • In other families he’s really stingy

Would Father Christmas really treat kids so differently? And it’s not always the ‘posh’ kids or the ‘rich’ kids who have the unlimited budgets. Sometimes they’re the families where he’s a bit tight. Gradually, often over the course of a few years, kids start to do the maths and see through the lies and realise none of it makes much sense.

In our family, friends and family bought presents for the kids, and Father Christmas did. Father Christmas did have a budget and from a fairly age the kids knew what that budget was. They’ve never asked for much.

I was happy for Father Christmas to take the credit for my hard work, because I knew one day they would be old enough to know that actually it was Mummy and Daddy that chose the presents, paid for them and wrapped them. They could believe in the magic until they were ready to know the truth.

When my daughter asked a few years back why we didn’t buy them anything, but Grandma and Grandpa and their uncles and aunties did, I pointed out that I buy them things constantly – even if it’s just food! Father Christmas was just helping me out.

But, now my daughter is 10 and in year 6, Father Christmas isn’t helping out any more. It makes life so much easier. Yes, presents still need to be hidden, but if the kids find them, that’s not the end of the world. It’s their tough luck for sneaking around.

We’re not quite at the stage of taking them to the shops, asking them what they want and then going to the till to pay for it in full view of them. But at least we can take them to the shops to look at things they might like and not have to get them to write it in a letter to Father Christmas.

It actually feels like quite a weight off my mind.

Father Christmas, Christmas, Daughter

Author: Sarah Mummy

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36 Comments

  1. If you read my post today, you will laugh as it is on a very similar theme (funny how that happens with us isn’t it?) We are still half and half in our house but A is still 6, so I am hoping to keep Father Christmas going for a few years yet but I know what you mean. We had a conversation about it when we did the Operation Christmas Child boxes earlier in the year. I told them how important it was to do the boxes for children who have nothing and A asked what about Father Christmas and it was a tricky one to answer.

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    • Oh yes, I remember the tricky Operation Christmas Child questions! Why wouldn’t he go to the poor children in other countries?
      I’ll have to check your post out – great minds think alike 🙂

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  2. I think I’ve got a few more years yet although my 4 year old is quite switched on, we went to see a Santa at the weekend and she loudly informed me she knew that he wasn’t the real one lol

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    • Good for her! That sounds like the beginning of the end already! I think they spend a few years questioning various things until they eventually work it out.

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  3. As you know, my kids have never believed but it’s interesting to me when kids in general start to figure it out. The 9 year old reckons about 15% of the kids in his class still believe in Santa; the 7 year old says 75% of her classmates still do.

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    • I think it’s definitely from 7 onwards that they start to piece it all together, but it generally takes them a few years before they’re willing to accept that it can’t possibly be true!

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  4. Aww she looks so cute in that photo. I guess, unless they’re tiny and suddenly shout “Santa isn’t real”, it doesn’t come as a shock as there’s a few years of them suspecting but not saying anything. I’d find it easier to just ask what they wanted too 🙂

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    • It does make life a lot easier! It’s horrible if someone at school spoils it for them when they’re still too young.

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  5. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I’m sure we live in a parallel universe!!
    My 10 year old, year 6 daughter sat me down a month ago and said “Mummy, I need to talk to you but I don’t know how to say it really. It’s about Father Christmas….” and so began, like yourself, after 15 years, our first santa-free Christmas!!! I was sad for 15 seconds, but the relief at being able to say ‘steady on girl, there isn’t an unlimited supply of dosh’ outweighed the brief sadness. Although I must admit we were definitely in the ‘we give santa the money and he makes the toys’ camp! Even better this year, the kid have decided that it would be nice for their pressies to be left under the tree and not in their (massive) sacks. Big phew! When they want iPhones, earrings and limited edition Xbox controllers and generally little things, I was slightly concerned about how pathetic the sacks might look and REALLY didn’t want to cave in and end up buying the large, cheap n nasty pink plastic toys just to pad it out. My 15 year old son would’ve hated that!!!

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    • We’re definitely in a parallel universe! Love that your daughter had an actual talk to you about it! My kids still like their large sacks. Luckily, with presents from family members and friends, there’s usually enough to more or less fill them up!

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  6. I can totally understand your relief. We have yet to tackle Father Christmas in any real depth. I think we need to get our story straight asap!

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    • Thanks very much. You definitely do need to get your story straight! Good luck!

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  7. I’m with you. My children have always found the idea of Father Christmas confusing and scary (a stranger coming into the house at night!). I too don’t like pretending, it’s exhausting! But as my two older ones grow out of it, the two younger ones are all into Mr C and I expect will be for years (ugh!). We just do it with a wink and a smile so that it’s kind of unsaid that he’s not real but we just join in with the spirit of it.

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    • You’re going to have an awfully long time with Father Christmas in your lives! My daughter used to be quite scared of him and I was close to just giving in and telling her the truth when she was about 6 or 7, but I chickened out and decided to let her keep believing.

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  8. Great post! The Father Christmas story has always been confusing for us too – partic as mine and hubbies families reported different versions so we had that debate to work through. We have been to Lapland and seen the “real” Santa so they already know there are lots of fakes around. It is all really confusing! x

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    • It is very confusing! It must be amazing to see the ‘real’ Santa in Lapland. My family and hubby’s family had different stories too – in his family there were presents that came from Mummy and Daddy, as well as Father Christmas, but I felt that just confused the issue further!

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  9. Ah bless, I was thinking about this the other day. We’re going on the Polar Express this week. It’s in Telford which is miles away and it’s really flipping expensive. But I thought that in just a few short years, we’ll be looking back on the days of Father Christmas as a distant memory so we’re making the most of it while they do believe. I can understand why it’s a bit of a relief though!
    Nat.x

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    • You definitely have to make the most of it while it lasts! It really is lovely when they properly believe, but it’s also a definite relief when they no longer do! x

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  10. Ahh! We are still living a lie…lol Just. My youngest who’s 9 still believes but I think this might be the last year 🙁
    It is a big web of lies especially when you factor in all the Santa’s in the grotto’s and things like that…
    I understand it being a bit of a relief…My teen doesn’t believe and it does make things easier x

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    • I think my kids understood from a pretty early age that Father Christmas in the grottos wasn’t real – they liked to think of them as ‘Santa’s helpers’. From my experience, you probably are on your last year! Enjoy it while it lasts! x

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  11. What do you mean Father Christmas isn’t real? Where do my presents come from then? 🙂 We still have a young one so he’ll be a big part in our family for a few more years, but he’s a magical part of Christmas and i’ve always told my children that unless you believe in something it doesn’t exist. So even though my older girls are at that stage where they just ‘know’ it’s mummy and daddy, they will still say they believe to keep the magic going. When I took them all to see Father Christmas on Saturday they certainly didn’t look like unbelievers they were very taken with it all.

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    • That’s really lovely! My boys have always been very good about not admitting they didn’t believe to keep the magic alive for their sister and they will all still keep the magic alive for their little cousins. My younger two kids are going to see Father Christmas with their cousins just before Christmas 🙂

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  12. I remember the year I finally pieced the puzzle together, I was so frightened I wouldn’t receive anything I kept quiet about my newfound knowledge. I do think you’re right, once they know it makes life so much easier. No such luck for me, the twins are 8 and soooo excited!

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  13. We don’t do the whole father Christmas thing but I can imagine it must be a bit of a relief.

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  14. I have to admit that I find the whole unequalness of Father Christmas is really hard to deal with. My boys have been asking questions for the last three years about the unfairness of it all.

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  15. Welcome to my world! I must say I really miss the magic of Father Christmas and the ease of buying toys and surprises. Now I wouldn’t dare choose clothes for my daughter as it would always be wrong! Giving up Father Christmas doesn’t seem to include giving up stockings in our house so I’ve gone wrong somewhere!

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  16. I can totally understand this post Sarah (as we are often on the same wave length when it comes to Christmas). I don’t think Katie believes anymore but she hasn’t actually come out and said it yet. Half of me wishes she would and we can move forward on the Father Christmas front. But she has asked whether she will be seeing him this year. I don’t think I will be sad when she comes out and knows the truth, it’s just the next stage of parenting isn’t it x

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  17. This happened last year for me and yes, phew, I thought it was a relief too. No more worrying that they would find the presents. I can now say ‘Don’t look under my bed ok girls, or you’ll spoil it for yourselves!’ I actually don’t feel sentimental for the days that they believed in Santa at all! At least now we get the credit for organising everything.

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  18. A really good read this one. Grace is on the brink of this. She is not bothered about visiting Father Christmas at all this year – although she still wants our Elf to turn up. I reckon next year will be game over 🙁

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  19. It does all get awfully complex, doesn’t it? I let my girls keep on believing if they want to but don’t confirm or deny anything and if I’m honest I cant even recall what I have said in years gone by about how the presents are bought! lol Mich x

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  20. My kids are both still young so they both still very much believe but I’m thinking about doing a couple of gifts from us this year as they have no idea how much we do behind the scenes!

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  21. We are full blown Father Christmas in our house this year with our Four year old. But you are so right in everything you have written.

    What is Father Christmas supposed to leave?

    We just do a stocking for our Daughter from Santa. x

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  22. I have to say when my oldest (20) found out it was a huge relief but now my daughter is ten I’m trying to keep her believing just another year longer.

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  23. Isaac is full of questions this year so I think this will possibly the last year for him. I do enjoy it in this house and my older kids still have stockings as they like the surprise. I would love to take mine to Lapland before they stop believing

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  24. Isaac is full of questions this year so I think this will possibly the last year for him. I do enjoy it in this house and my older kids still have stockings as they like the surprise. I would love to take mine to Lapland before they stop believing

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  25. Hi Sarah, my two are nineteen and sixteen and they still believe (of course they do!). These days Father Christmas brings small stockings with a few knick knacks in, and after dinner we open presents as a family. I would be gutted to think that Father Christmas wouldn’t be visiting and he must be real as the dogs still get covered in ‘magic dust’ that stops them barking!… Never stop believing, for me it’s part of the magic.

    xx

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