Santa isn’t coming to town.

Tonight we were in the car and the song “Santa Claus is coming to Town” came on the stereo. From the WAY back of the mini-van (Carson’s newest favorite place to sit, which drives me crazy, because I can’t hand him anything and he’s constantly saying “What? What did you say? Are you talking to me?”) Carson says quietly, “I know Santa’s not real. Jimmy [friend’s real name withheld to protect identity] told me today.”

Aaaaaaand, there it was. Trent and I looked at each other quickly, trying to have a conversation with our eyes. Furrowed brows and wide open peepers and shaking of heads didn’t really work, but I knew we were thinking the same thing. THIS IS IT.

I jumped in with the old classic “And what do YOU think about that?” (Our standard Santa party line thus far.)

“I don’t know” says a quiet voice from the backseat.

“Do you think Santa is real?” Trent said.

“Not really.”

Trent looked at me and muttered something, I think it was “Are we going to do this now?” And I said “Yes, let’s do it.”

So we told Carson that no. Santa is not real. St. Nicklaus was a real person who did give gifts to people and we would find a story and learn more about him. (Note to self–get on Amazon ASAP after blog posting and find appropriate educational tool.) But that Christmas is really about Jesus’ birthday and Santa is just a fun game we play at Christmastime. JESUS is real and we will never, EVER tell Carson that He isn’t. But yes–Santa is pretend. The gifts come from Mom and Dad.


I asked him if he would like to do that: go see him at the store, leave cookies for him and pretend he’s coming–like a game. “Would you like to do that still?”

“Yeah. That’s sounds pretty fun,” said the hesitant and husky voice from the darkness.

“Okay.” I said

“Okay.” Daddy said.

“Okay.” Carson said.

And it was over just like that. I’m feeling way more relieved than sad, which I think tells me more about my own views of the internal debate of what to do in our particular household. (For the record, neither of us felt passionately either way, so we just decided to let it ride without ever making a definitive statement until the Time Came.) We DID remind him that a lot of his friends still believe in Santa and that it’s something we probably shouldn’t tell them. They need to talk about it with their parents.

But really? I think I owe Jimmy a favor. A little innocence is lost, but I don’t have to worry about all the Santa crap that bothered me last year, like: Does Santa have his own wrapping paper? Does Santa have unusual handwriting? How do I get around flat-out lying? Why am I letting this fictitious character get the credit for the big gift that Carson LOVES and that we hunted for all over town?

No, this is good. Not sure where it’s going to lead with his two younger siblings some day, and I still support a family’s right to Santa or not to Santa, but for us? Santa isn’t coming to this town, and we’re OK with that.


  1. Sad and sweet! He (and you) handled it great. 🙂 I hope that time doesn’t come too soon for us, though… Speaking of which, can you ask Carson to keep hush-hush about his newly found knowledge? This mom is not ready. Maybe next year. Or the next. 😉

  2. I remember having this conversation in the car with Brianna when she was 6 or 7. And, I also remember the backlash that I got for telling her that Santa wasn’t real. I figured that when she was old enough to question it, she was old enough for the truth. I think you handled it well. And, it is still fun to pretend.

  3. I just hope it wasn’t one of my kids that told him that. Josh made the announcement at school at carpet time the other day. His teacher whispered something in his ear and he said ok. I forgot to reinforce the part about other kids still believing. Good job, by the way. It is a lot of work to keep the whole Santa thing up. Plus I felt like I was lying to my kids. Jesus is a much better, and true, Christmas story.

  4. My older daughter discovered there was no Santa, Easter Bunny, or Tooth Fairy about the time she was 6 or so (I think). She didn’t let on, though, until she was about 9. When I asked her why she didn’t tell me that she knew the truth all that time, she said, “I just figured if you don’t believe, you don’t receive!” She thought if she blabbed to us we’d stop buying her gifts!

    Lily is a die-hard believer. She will probably still believe when she’s 30. We have the Elf on the Shelf at our house, who is clearly a plastic and cloth creation, and she is convinced that he is really watching her and reporting back to Santa each night.

  5. This makes me a little sad, but I am glad its less work and stress on your end. He’s such a little trooper!! 🙂 And hooray for you guys getting all the credit now! 🙂

  6. No one believes a big chubby guy comes down our chimney at our house, but we still hang up socks, sneak around, leave cookies for Santa. “When are they going to go to bed it’s 12:30?!” hahaha. Can so relate to your thing about the “big” gift. So Santa didn’t bring the “big” gift, mom and dad did. Santa still fills their stockings with tangerines, candy, nuts, a new ornament, gift cards, toothbrush, more gift cards, money. Well, you get the idea. And Santa doesn’t wrap presents… they just sit under the sock! Enjoy!

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