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Santa Claus 101: Visiting Santa, Christmas Eve Traditions, and When To Tell the Truth

Santa Claus 101: Visiting Santa, Christmas Eve Traditions, and When To Tell the Truth

For many moms, the Santa Claus traditions are tied to happy childhood memories. You might remember your wonder and awe of the North Pole, flying reindeer and toy-making elves; your nervous hopes on Christmas Eve that he'd make it to your chimney; and the pure joy of Christmas morning. It's natural to want to share that magical experience with your children. Still, Santa traditions do pose some challenges. To help you through it all, we've drawn on real advice from Circle of Moms members for this handy Santa Claus starter lesson.

Preparing to Visit Santa Claus

Some children positively adore chatting up Santa, but others find the visit scary. After all, this red-suited man is not only a stranger, but one with gift-giving powers! To help your child have more confidence, swing by the Santa station in advance (even several times) to show and explain how the whole process works. Let your child know you'll be there with him, and that he can even stand next to Santa instead of sitting on his lap. Afraid your little will see more than one Santa? Circle of Moms member Jade C. offers this easy advice: "If he sees more than one Santa and gets confused I tell him that all the mall Santas are helpers, because Santa really can't be everywhere at once." On the big day, try smiling and talking with Santa as you approach. Finally, if your child is still really scared, don't force it - you can always make an adorable Santa picture with Photoshop!

Santa Traditions for Christmas Eve

Circle of Moms members are full of great tips for Santa-related Christmas traditions. Renee H.'s family watches the Santa report on CNN, while Kirsi B.'s follows Google Maps. Jaclyn D.'s kids love spreading oat-and-glitter reindeer food: "The glitter is so they see it glisten from the sky!" Lee B. also shared a great Christmas Eve tradition from her sister-in-law...the kids find a present of PJs from Mrs. Claus, accompanied by a note telling them to go to bed because Santa's on his way. "She never has a problem with the kids wanting to quickly put on their new PJs."


When to Tell Your Child the Truth About Santa Claus

Many Circle of Moms conversations discuss what is an appropriate age to tell your child the truth about Santa Claus. "Only when they ask!" insisted Samantha C., and most moms agreed it is best to wait as long as possible. In many cases, friends at school will eventually break the news. When the time does come to acknowledge the truth, Tina J. and Breeze W. both suggested reading Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus to help explain the true magic of the holidays.

Want to discuss your thoughts on Santa? Looking for more holiday advice?

Whether you want to debate Santa or find tips on budget-friendly holidays, Circle of Moms is the place for you to share your opinions with other moms and find real-life parenting advice for the holidays. Look for posts tagged with Christmas to get started!

Image Source: USACE Europe District via Flickr/Creative Commons

Join The Conversation
KristinBagley KristinBagley 5 years
me and my sibings all believed in santa growing up, I was about 11 when my younger brother(8) and his friends told me there was no santa. I agreed with him but inside still believed for about a year at which point I asked my mom and she said no there is no santa but please keep the magic alive for the other kids. I helped her wrap presents and write on the gift tags from that point and stil do it today. I think it created a bond and tradition with my family as once one person stopped believing in santa they too would ask and start helping to shop/wrap the others gifts =)
AdrienneSherman AdrienneSherman 5 years
No body ever told me that Santa wasn't real. Every year, my little brother and I got up before our parents to peek at what was under the tree and in our stockings. Then, one year, I thought I recognized my mother's handwriting on the To/From stickers on the presents. I didn't dare say anything. What if I was wrong? What would that do to my brother? Would "Santa" stop coming for me if I was right? I chose to keep it to myself and enjoy watching the enthusiasm for Santa's magic in my little brother. And, now I'm enjoying watching it in my own children.
KandyMurray37483 KandyMurray37483 5 years
I am 52 years old and my children are 31 and 28 years old. If you ask them about Santa both of them will tell you that they believe in Santa and all of the magical wonderful things that go with Santa. We have this understanding in our home, as long as they believe in Santa he will be coming to their parents home for them. As soon as they stop believe than Santa will not be stopping by for them. I love the magic and beauty of Christmas, especially the birth of Jesus, Our Savior.
TammyCarpenter95400 TammyCarpenter95400 5 years
My son was almost 14 before he found out. I didn't want him going to high school talking about Santa. I still tell him I believe. I think I may have broken a world record!
raecardwell raecardwell 5 years
lleana thats awesome, i laughed so much reading your post that my kids came in to check on me!!
NancyWyatt35442 NancyWyatt35442 5 years
I would like to know what you mean about "truth"? When you stop believing in Santa, you get underwear. Seriously... the SPIRIT of Santa (IOW... GIVING! Anyone remember GIVING?) will ALWAYS live in THIS house as long as *I* am alive!
KellieCummings KellieCummings 5 years
I am a 33 year old woman with a 6 and 8 yr old...I still believe in Santa. Of course...I know better...but I believe in the magic of Santa and it makes it more enjoyable to my kids. "Santa" brings presents for mommy under the tree too. My kids right letters e dry yr and so do I. My mom writes back and the post office actually stamps it from the north pole. They ask me how does Santa see them....I told them thru the lights. Anything with a lightbulb. Makes it magical for them. We leave out cookies and reindeer food and track Santa's travel.
AmberChristy AmberChristy 5 years
I remember believing in Santa and I remember how wonderful the Christmas season was as a child. It was also an excellent excuse to get myself and my two younger brothers to behave a little better toward the end of the year when things are the most stressful. I also remember when I discovered that Santa didn't actually exist and you know, it didn't scar me for life or ruin in views of life or how I saw my parents. I turned out to be a normal person and I don't see how it's 'wrong' to teach your kids about a little magic. It's not lying, it's improving their imagination. While my son isn't old enough to understand the concept of Santa yet, I can't wait until he is. Maybe next year he'll get it. :) @Ileana Abreau-Agostini -- I like that approach to the 'non believers'. It made me giggle and I will probably use that reasoning myself if something like that happens to me. Thanks for the idea. :)
SamanthaRowan SamanthaRowan 5 years
We do not tell our kids that Santa Clause is real, or the tooth fairy, or the Easter Bunny. They know the REAL stories behind the traditions and that is what we discuss each year, not some fabricated thing. It is magical to some degree, yes but in the end you are lying to your child and when they find out the truth, they know you lied to them...Christmas is a joy in my house, we bake cookies, decorate, do special christmas crafts, make gifts...they don't need Santa to have a magical holiday and if they do....well, that says something all on its own.
JayneEvans90384 JayneEvans90384 5 years
Oh for goodness sake! Christmas must be a joy in your house!! lol
MingPlatt MingPlatt 5 years
Oh please! That's ridiculous! The magic and wonder of believing in Santa is a joyful tradition and creates such happy holiday memories for children, I think by the time that they find out that Santa isn't real, they will also be old enough to understand why keeping the magic alive is part of the fun of the holidays - I don't think that it is anywhere near the same thing as telling a lie!
JillMurphy55805 JillMurphy55805 5 years
The fact that you have something called "When to Tell Your Child the Truth" acknowledges that you are lying to your children. That's unacceptable. All you are teaching your children is that they can't trust you & that it is okay to lie.
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