Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Santa Killer

By Kelly

"Santa isn’t real, you know."

So said my seven-year-old daughter to her six-year-old friend as I drove them home from school last week.

It’s funny; I never knew I could drive with my brain splattered on the inside of the windshield.

Trying desperately to stay on the road – I figured the double whammy of a dead Santa plus a car accident would end the new carpool for sure – I shot an alarmed look at the rearview mirror.

Thankfully, MacKenzie was nonchalant. “Oh, I know that,” she retorted, the weariness of the world tinging  her voice. “But we saw someone dressed up like him at that house last year.”

Another bullet dodged. But I tell you - I’m starting to feel like Neo at the end of “The Matrix.” At some point, one of those suckers is going to hit home.

After I escorted MacKenzie safely to her front door, I turned to Natalie and raised one eyebrow. “Honey, you know we’ve talked about telling about kids about Santa,” I started.

“I know, Mom,” she sighed. “But sometimes, it just comes out.”

You need to learn to lie, sweetie.

No, I didn’t say that. Not really. But it is a puzzle.

Santa has never been real in our family. From the get-go, we told our kids that Santa Claus is nothing more than a fun story. And for a while, that was that.

Then Natalie started going to school, where she found, to her horror, that some children thought Santa was alive and well. She is a helpful child, a factual child. She can’t rest with the deception.

So we’ve become the Santa killers.

I've tried to impress upon her that some families like to pretend Santa is real. I told her some parents might be very, very upset if she is the one to tell her friends the truth. And she gets that. She does.

But when you're seven, it's hard to navigate the world of white lies.

I think it might be easier if I just keep her in the house until January.

Besides, I have something to tell her about the Tooth Fairy.

All's fair in love and war. And mythological creatures fall under both categories.

Kelly also blogs at Love Well, although lately, she's too busy distracting unsuspecting children from her daughter's truthful missives to do much writing.


  1. I was the santa killer when I was little. My friend's mom dragged me out of her house and yelled at me for telling her kid THE TRUTH. It's hard being a kid.

  2. We plan to do the same thing and tell our kids that he's a story representing the ideals of Christmas (giving). I guess this is what we have to look forward to in five years. Thanks for the heads up!

  3. And this is why I'm afraid to tell my 6 (almost 7) yr old the truth! I "think" she knows he's not real, but I'm not sure, but the thought of her telling someone elses child worries me more than her finding out the truth, lol.

  4. This was how it was in my family growing up. Fortunately, my mom was tough and could take the anger from other parents. I'm not so sure about myself.

  5. Santa isn't real around here either. Makes for interesting conversations when out in public and an adult asks my oldest (5) about Santa. He fills the need to "kill" Santa also.

  6. Love it! We are non Santas too! I try to get my kids to just say nothing. But when it is an adult that asks, they just don't know what to say!

  7. We were no santas when our kids were little. we told All of their friends parents that we didn't do the santa thing and most of them were ok with it. Yes our kids had problems when adults asked them " what do you want from Santa". It was like Mom help!!!!It is so much better to tell the kids from the get go the truth. Because when you talk about Christ you don't want them thinking he is also a made up story.Our children are grown and have children of their own and they don't do the Santa thing . It has worked for them also. Being open with the kids is so imporant .

  8. I related to this post. I'm not anti-Santa, but we don't have him as a part of our Christmas celebrations either. And last year, a friend asked me to keep my daughter away from her son just for the month of Dec. in case my daughter would let the truth slip! The friend meant well,but...

    So far, my girl has not spilled the beans to anyone else because she likes to pretend that she thinks he is real.

  9. We have the same issue here! We adopted our daughter from foster care at age 5 and after she told me husband that Santa was real but Jesus wasn't...yeah. We don't do Santa, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy. I remind her every year at Christmas time about how some boys and girls still believe and mention it to her teachers if they could give her an alternate assignment to the traditional "Santa letter." I am glad I am not the only one out there dealing with this!

  10. I've always told my son that Santa isn't real, but he just doesn't believe me! This is the first year he is aware that there are different holidays at this time of year, and even that people who celebrate Christmas believe different things. Of course, he has no filter, so just says whatever he thinks - makes for some interesting conversations!

  11. I agonized over whether or not to allow my son all the fun of the Santa myth, or break the truth to him before his psyche was irrevocably scarred.

    In the end, I went for the truth. The result? He refused to believe me. No matter what I said, he would adopt smirk, shake his head and say "Sure, Mum, sure..."

    Years later he confessed he did believe me but had decided to stick with Santa so he could get more presents! He's now 21. On Christmas Eve, he still hangs up his stocking with an eyebrow optimistically quirked in my direction.

    I should have stuck with the scarring.

  12. was just thinking about posting the story about how I was greeted at kindergarten pickup by a classfull of angry mommies and sobbing children. why the upset? apparently my twins told the whole class that their mommy told them that Santa is dead. DEAD.

    which I did. but... that's not the whole story!

  13. thanks for the inspiration! totally linked you here:

  14. It's also difficult when you're Jewish. My kids have never believed in Santa and my 9-year-old daughter is itching to tell her friends the truth about Santa. I've begged her not to; someone's got to be the Santa killer, but I don't want it to be us.

  15. Really, in a world filled with pain and danger and the reality of starvation and war, is it truly necessary that 'we' make sure children know early this is a myth? The children wanting to tell I understand, my son couldn't keep a secret to spare another's feelings either, but why the rush to expose children to the sharp, jagged truth of a world on fast forward. I say, let them have a few years of innocence before we turn them into hardened modernists. That will come soon enough. This isn't to say that I think we should allow them to worship at the altar of any excuse for consumerism, but must we remove all wonder and magic?

  16. Sangreal, part of me felt exactly that way. But another part of me worried. One thing I encouraged my son to do was be honest with me. What sort of example was I setting by "pretending" a myth was real? It seemed like a lie. I did want him to have wonder and magic, read books about Santa and watched Christmas movies, but when it came to the crunch, felt that I had to be truthful.

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