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Sunday Confessional: I Told My Niece Santa Isn't Real

Sunday Confessional: I Told My Niece Santa Isn't Real

Dear Sugar,

My younger sister has an 8-year old daughter, and she and her husband live really close by. My husband and I went over there last week to help decorate their Christmas tree. When my sister was in the kitchen, my niece said to me, "I heard some kids on the bus say that Santa isn't real, and that your parents are the ones who get you presents. Is that true?" I felt like she was old enough to know the truth, and since she brought it up, I said, "Well, those kids are right. Santa and the whole story of the North Pole is all made up." Then my niece said, "Yeah I thought so. I did think it was pretty impossible for one guy to deliver all those presents in one night."

Then my sister walked in and said, "What kind of cookies should we make for Santa this year?" My niece said, "Don't worry mom. I know Santa isn't real, so you can stop talking about him."

My sister dragged me into the kitchen demanding to know what I told her. I said that I didn't come right out and break the news to her, that she asked if Santa was real and I couldn't lie. My sister brought up how when we were kids, I told her the truth about Santa and it practically ruined Christmas for her, and that I had no right to ruin Christmas for her daughter. Then she said, "I think it's time for you to leave now."

It's been a few days and I've apologized a hundred times, but my sister is still mad at me. Shouldn't I be forgiven for this little mistake?


Join The Conversation
bawp125 bawp125 9 years
Since your niece isn't your child, I don't think it is your decision to tell her the truth about Santa. At the same time, your sister appears to be overreacting, since her daughter was going to find out eventually anyway.
smp7328 smp7328 9 years
*sorry, agree with kiddylnd!
smp7328 smp7328 9 years
I don't have kids, but I do tend to agree with kiddlnd. I about had a heart attack when my oldest niece (age 6) came to me almost in tears because she thought the tooth fairy hadn't left her any money under her pillow but her tooth was gone. My sister and her husband weren't in the room, but I sure as hell wasn't gonna tell her there wasn't a tooth fairy. I had to make up some quick "lesser-known fact" about what kind of money the tooth fairy leaves when you loose your first tooth and that she may leave it on the second day. But just then my niece looked in the envelope and found a 5 dollar bill, which she missed while looking for a quarter. It turned out that my brother-in-law didn't have any change, and all he had was a five. I wasn't going to tell my cute little niece that the tooth fairy wasn't real and disappoint her even more by saying she wasn't going to get a quarter, so I made something up really quick, and then okayed the story with her mom and dad soon after. You don't dash kid's hopes. That's not your job. Leave it to the parents to decide when to let them in on what is and what isn't reality.
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 9 years
although I don't think its as big a deal as your sister made it out to be, it really wasn't your place to tell her. you should've just said "Why don't you ask your mom?" and let your sister decide whether or not she was old enough. When I was little, i had a babysitter who told me when I was six that Santa & the Tooth Fairy & the Easter Bunny weren't real. I was so confused and upset. My mom gave me a talk, and (after a few more incidents) fired the babysitter. Honestly, as long as parents stress that Santa is about love and generousity and not just getting presents, I don't see what the problem is. I know it made me happy to know for a while. Like I said, its not that big a deal, but your sister should have decided when the time was right for her daughter.
Zero_Cool Zero_Cool 9 years
Forgive. It's not like the kid was 3 or 4 and you maliciously told her santa wasn't real. She's old enough to know, and she wanted a confirmation.
gruaig_rua gruaig_rua 9 years
It wasn't your place to tell your niece.
NadiaPotter NadiaPotter 9 years
forgive your sister sound like my aunt, "when I was a little I suffer this much because you/mom/somebody told me this/that". They need to live now. The girl already knew. I don't think this was about you telling her. Maybe your sister had Christmas depression. It will pass, I hope. It's not like you grab your niece and tell her "listen your little brat, stop believing, Santa's fake!" she ask, and she sound like she already had her own mind.
PinkSparkleGrl PinkSparkleGrl 9 years
You should have waited until your sister told HER daughter the deal with Santa. The easy way was to say "Go talk to your mom" when she asked the question. I mean your sister probably had already gotten everything all set up for Santa this year. If you needed to tell her, you should have waited until after this years Christmas. Your sister is overreacting and obviously the little girl was ready, but don't abuse this Aunt/Niece privilege & trust and go have a sex talk with her too.
Jessie-M Jessie-M 9 years
Forgive! She seemed to handle the news that Santa wasn't real pretty well. Seems to me like she already knew and was just looking for confirmation from someone a little wiser than the kids on the bus. Your sister is probably just upset because her daughter found out BEFORE christmas-therefore 'ruining' all of the santa-related christmas traditions she had been looking forward to sharing with her daughter.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
I can't decide. I can say that it was not your place to tell your niece that Santa, St Nick, Father Christmas is not real. I can see how it could ruin Christmas.
onesong onesong 9 years
i agree with lickety, and i put not forgive. it totally wasn't your place. when my brothers and i all figured out there wasn't a santa, my parents had a whole story about how santa's not real, but he represents the feeling of christmas, and that the feeling is always real. your sister probably wanted to break it to her gently and also explain to her what santa means and why he's made up. i'm so mad about this! it was NOT your job, nor your place, and it sounds like you're a total scrooge. plus, 8 years old?!?! pssht--my little brothers and i all believed until 10-12, because my parents always said "if the kids in school said that mommy and daddy didn't love you, would you believe them then? no? exactly." shame on you.
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
I would suspect that anyone that said this was no big deal, doesn't have young children. That was horribly immature of you and NOT your place. One day when you have children of your own you will maybe recognize where you stand, when you're not a childs parent. There are some things you just DON'T do, no matter WHO you are to that child.
cocca cocca 9 years
she's forgivable! i can understand how telling her little niece was a bummer, but not talking to her sister is another story. it was wrong that she ruined the kid's imagination and the fun of christmas for the niece, but i don't think it deserves her being ignored!
XDeexDeeX XDeexDeeX 9 years
My parentz never told me Santa was real. We just pretended. That way, no crying over Santa. =] Your sister needs to get a grip though. She does have the right to be upset or disapointed that her daughter doesn't believe in Santa, but she had to learn someday...
yes-jess yes-jess 9 years
Also, this post has helped me avoid any future incidents with any (s)mothers that may want me to watch their kids. I'm pretty sure I'm "corrupted" quite a few minors with my crazy feminist ways (26 and no kids? Works in a male dominated field? Lives in sin with her boyfriend? Blasphemy!).
yes-jess yes-jess 9 years
Definitely forgive...your sister sounds a bit like a control freak. But I don't have kids, so what do I know, it's probably some of that living-vicariously-through-your-kid stuff since it's obvious that it's more about your sister than your niece. Hopefully, your sister will realize how ridiculous she's being about the whole thing, because I highly doubt she belongs to the Church of Santa and was hoping to induct her daughter this year.
emalove emalove 9 years
I don't think it was your place to tell her the truth. just wasn't your decision to make that she was "old enough to know". Her mother and father are the ones who decide that. A lot of people keep commenting that it's silly for kids to believe in this "Santa crap" and that's fine if they don't want THEIR kids to buy into that or believe it. But if other people DO want to let their children believe in Santa for a few years, there is no harm in that. To each their own. Jeez. I know you didn't mean to piss off your sister, and I think she overreacted, but I DO think you should have thought about it a little more before you acted.
frimpled frimpled 9 years
I think forgive. The whole Santa story is so stupid anyway, your sister needs to get over it! It's not like your niece was heartbroken or surprised. Jeez...
I chose "Not Forgive". It's not like she's gonna hold the grudge forever, but it was not a MISTAKE on your part. It didn't slip out of your mouth, and she didn't overhear you talking to someone about the topic, you decided it was your place to tell your neice that Santa doesn't exist. For children to believe in Santa Claus is a symbol of their innocence. As they gradually lose their belief in Santa and the Easter Bunny, etc. it is a symbol that their childlike innocence is fading. You just helped speed up the process, that's how I think your sister may see it, anyhow.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
Wow! Who knew this child had lost her religion in the process.:cry:
diazy diazy 9 years
This is so dumb, you have no reason to be sorry. The girl even told you she thought he didn't exist and your sister sounds more upset than her daughter. She has so get over it. Ask her what's the problem that what you told your niece is not ruining Christmas its how she is acting. Sorry to sound rude but the child sounds more adult than her mother.
Neekoh Neekoh 9 years
FORGIVE! your niece doesn't sound too broken up about it anyway. if she didn't ask you, she would have asked someone else who would tell her the truth.
gal321 gal321 9 years
forgive, but for future reference, with other peoples kids, the go-to phrase is "go ask your mother". saves you every time.
puffaroo puffaroo 9 years
Sorry, I don't know how to edit, but I just saw jennifer76's post and she said it a lot better than I could.
puffaroo puffaroo 9 years
I think she should forgive you, but only because you are her sister. But she has a perfect right to be angry for awhile. It was her place, not yours, to explain about Santa Claus when she (not you) thought the time was right. Your sister wasn't doing her child any harm, and frankly, you had a choice not to become embroiled in a matter that is clearly none of your business. I see the Santa thing as a child-rearing issue, and the girl was not your daughter. There are some things said hiding behind the rationalization of "honesty" that should never be said at all. Being honest isn't always the most ethical thing to do. Anyone who's ever had an extramarital affair and wants to unburden her conscience to the innocent spouse, but who knows it would kill her spouse if she did, can understand that (not that I have, but I'm just sayin'). Love trumps honesty, every time. I grew up believing in Santa Claus, and it made the holidays that much more magical to me. Your niece has plenty of time to become disillusioned about real issues in life. When you have kids of your own, you can raise them as you see fit. But this one isn't yours.
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