18 Real Moms Reveal How Their Kids Found Out About Santa

Sure, we all know that there's truth in the magic of Santa, but whenever children get to a certain age, their once-adorable unconditional belief turns into a spirit-crushing curiosity. We asked moms to answer the question, "How did your kids find out the truth about Santa Claus?" and although we hope we didn't spoil anything (we received more than a few "psst – he's real!" responses), we got some seriously eye-opening feedback from the Christmas-tree-lined trenches.

Here are 18 of the best responses we got – some are downright silly, others are truly bittersweet. For those of you with a few questioning kiddos, we hope these real-life accounts will help you keep Santa's secret at least one more year.

  1. "My son left a note for Santa: 'Dear Santa, if you are real, leave me a picture of you.' Santa left a cut-in-half Christmas card with a cartoon Santa on it, and the note said, 'Here I am, Anthony!' My son told me the next morning, 'That's your writing, Mommy!'" — Nancy
  2. "My daughter learned the truth by reading a Judy Blume book when she was five." — Nan
  3. "The other day my daughter told her brother Santa is fake. I asked her what she meant, and she said she found the 'Santa wrapping paper.' I cannot verify if it was the paper used last year for Santa presents . . ." — Holly
  1. "My daughter overheard us say that he's not real." — Cleo
  2. "When he was around 5 or 6, he started to notice that there were too many Santas at stores and asked me why all the Santas looked different. I said they were Santa's helpers. That is all I said. The next day he came up to me and said, 'Mommy, I think I know what you mean. The real Santa is too busy to leave because he has to boss the elves around and make our toys, and stuff, so he has a whole bunches of other Santas come down here where us kids are, and pretend to be him so they can find out what we want, right?'" — Tiana
  3. "Nobody told them – they are just really good at figuring stuff out at 5 and 7 years old. They aren't big with Santa and actually want to know why we would let him in the house." — Heather
  4. "A few weeks ago they confessed to us that a kid told them two years ago, but they have been keeping up the charade because they thought we believed and 'didn't want to hurt our feelings.'" — Amy
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  1. "My son confronted me last year when he was 10 after hearing from other kids that Santa wasn't real. He demanded to know who ate the cookies we leave out. I tried evading the question because I didn't want to lie. So finally, blocking my retreat, hands on hips, he demanded again 'Who...eats...the ...COOKIES?' I sighed and answered, 'Dad.'" — Melissa Anne
  2. "My son found out when his dad was deployed to Iraq. All he wanted Santa to bring was his dad, so I had to tell him that Santa couldn't deliver that. He was 9. Luckily his dad made it home just a few months later!" — Laila
  3. "My oldest, 9, started questioning it last year. We told our son to prove he's not real, which he couldn't." — Marcela
  1. "I remember them finding presents under my bed with 'From Santa' in my handwriting. I explained that those were just backup presents in case he got too busy." — Michelle
  2. "I felt like a hypocrite telling them Santa was real. I don't want to encourage my children to accept supernatural claims based on belief or faith. I want them to question, scrutinize, and demand evidence. I told them last year when they were 6 and 4." — Jennifer
  3. "My daughter was an early voracious reader. One day in the car, she picked up my woman's weekly magazine and there was one of those one-paragraph write-in questions. She read it and shouted in glee, 'I knew it!'" — MaryKay
  4. "We told our daughter when she was 7 because I don't like lying to her about anything. We told her the story of St. Nicholas. She was totally fine with it. We killed the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy the same year." — Jane
  5. "My 6-year-old questions me because of school and my mother-in-law has a big mouth." — Chelsea
  6. "My oldest overheard my phone conversation with Grandma, and we had a good talk about it. He was 11 and said, 'Wow, that's a lot of work you did just for us!'" — Cindy
  1. "My son saw the wrapping paper in the closet and asked, 'How does Santa have the same wrapping paper?' I was so shocked that he made the connection I didn't know what to say, and he laughed and said 'I knew it!' He was, like, 5." — Laura
  2. "My 5-year-old is very nosy so she found her sister's hidden Santa gift in the closet. My plan is to buy another and give her sister one from me and one from Santa, then act shocked like 'Oh darn, Santa brought her the same thing . . .'" — Melissa