No Addie, There Is Not A Santa Claus.

The other night, somewhere between Tony reading Sunday’s collect aloud and the beginning of our family rosary, Addie came to the sudden realization that Santa Claus does not exist.

Perhaps it was our discussion of presents, as we have several family birthdays approaching, or it might have been related to the fact I let slip that Papa and I always try to purchase thoughtful gifts for our children at Christmas. Whatever the reason, her rational mind (she is entering the logic stage you know) could no longer ignore the evidence against Santa existence.

The fact that she had to blurt out the assertion that “Santa isn’t real!” in front of three of her younger siblings, and then outline her case against the jolly old elf while we were kicking off the Glorious mysteries was inconvenient to say the least.

I don’t know whose eyes were bigger, Addie’s as she jumped on the couch, Byron who looked like a deer in headlights, Tony as he just kept trying to methodically move the prayers along or me as I hissed at her, “Shhhhhhh, shhhhhhhh! Not now! This has nothing to do with prayers! We’re praying!!We’re not talking about this now!!”

An Inconvenient Truth

For someone who handled the menstruation talk like a pro, neither I, nor Addie were entirely comfortable discussing the Santa myth as I tucked her in that night. I kept thinking, “Can I somehow segway into ovulation?”, because things were going downhill fast.

Addie is almost ten. By last Christmas, I was beginning to wonder if I should let her in on the secret but I assumed she’d figure it out on her own soon enough. I just did not expect the lightbulb moment to hit at 8:23 p.m. on a muggy September night.

After making sure Edie was sound asleep in the bunk above, Addie grilled me with questions and poured out her heart. She has suspected for a while that Tony and I were Santa, but  she so wanted to believe, she ignored evidence to the contrary for some time. I was amazed at how betrayed she felt and how she thought Christmas would be ruined with her new knowledge.

“When I learned the Easter bunny was fake, it was no big deal. The Easter bunny is a freak, but Santa is huge. I’ve believed in him almost ten years; my whole life!” she whispered. “Finding out Santa isn’t real is like a nightmare.”

So while I tried to ignore the melodramatics, I did want to reassure her that Saint Nicholas, is indeed a real saint in heaven on whose prayers we can always rely.

“But St. Nicholas still comes and fills our shoes right? He still does that? Even if Santa’s a fake????”, she exclaimed, looking at me with Bambi eyes.

“Honey, knowing what you know about Santa, what do you think?” She laid back on her pillow dejected. “So St. Nicholas is just a saint in heaven.”

Yes I admitted, we wrote the letters, we ate the food they left out, we bought all the gifts, even the special gift certificates that came a few years back from the North Pole. I tried to hype up the fact that she could now help wrap presents and set out gifts on Christmas Eve after Mass. It was dark in her room, but I’m pretty sure my offers got an eyeroll.

Do we keep up the ruse??

She wished we’d never told her about Santa and that shocked me the most. I asked her if she wished she’d never written the letters, set out cookies or tracked Santa on NORAD. I reminded her of how she wanted to believe and kept believing long after she admitted having suspicions. Would she want me to tell her younger siblings and take those things from them? She pondered it quietly for a moment and said No.  Despite being upset now, she didn’t want the other kids to lose their belief in Santa, or a St. Nicholas that fills shoes.  (How the two became separate entities I’m not sure. It’s something the children figured out on their own years ago.)

I suspect Byron knows Santa isn’t real, but he still wants to believe and has not mentioned Addie’s outburst as of yet. Edie seemed oblivious to the whole discussion. Either she doesn’t care one way or the other, or she believes Addie’s assertions are too preposterous to be true.  Tony, who was never a fan of the kids believing in Santa, is happy Addie discovered the truth on her own, but, I think, he is happy he can still write ridiculous letter from St. Nick to the kids, even if Addie is in on it.

Hopefully, for the sake of the young ‘ens, Addie can keep her thoughts to herself the next time the tooth fairy needs to pay our house a visit.

How does your family handle Santa Claus / St. Nicholas?


  1. “I kept thinking, ‘Can I somehow segway into ovulation?’, because things were going downhill fast.”

    This is…the summum bonum of blog asides.

    We haven’t really had any of these discussions yet and they’re overdue for some of my kids. I have never directly stated that Santa is really but I started chilling out about the whole thing a few years ago.

  2. We did Santa with my oldest and he was devastated when he realized it wasn’t true. He berated us for hiding the knowledge from him. He felt lied to. So, when his little sister came along, we decided to nix Santa and go with the story of St. Nicholas on his feast day and celebrating Christmas as Jesus’ birthday. However, my girlie had far different plans. She decided Santa was indeed a real guy…there was no St. Nick or Jesus’ birthday for her! So much for trying to do the right thing 🙂

    1. Wow, I wouldn’t have seen that coming! I think one of my big fears is she’ll think start questioning way too much now and assuming all the wrong stuff is made up. If I had only had time to plan this talk!!

  3. We “do” Santa and St. Nicholas….both of them being the same person, I guess. I think my older 2 have figured it out, but they’re willing to just play along as part of the fun. I won’t ever have them help with Christmas Eve stuff, though. The magic of getting up to a pile of presents is tres awesome, regardless of who put them there!

    But my fave Santa-isn’t-real story comes from my grandma- they were super, duper poor when she was little and when she found out that Santa wasn’t real and it was just her parents, she sobbed in relief because all along she had thought she was just too naughty to get the things she put on her Christmas list. Isn’t that so precious? Love her…

    1. Honestly, I was relieved with the lack of interest on her part in helping with the Christmas Eve set up. I had offered it as a “being Santa is just as fun as believing in Santa” gimmick to cheer her up. Had she accepted the offer, it would of seriously cramped the current drink wine/scotch, reminisce and act mushy routine my husband and I currently engage in every year (while wrapping and putting out presents of course.)
      Sweet story too!

  4. We celebrate St. Nicholas’ feast day. The kids put out their shoes or socks, we’ve done both. They know the story of how St. Nicholas was very generous and that in honor of that Mommy and Daddy give them little gifts that night.

    Christmas is all Jesus’ birthday. There is no Santa in our house and when little old ladies ask our kids about what they want Santa to bring, they get blank looks in return. The kids LOVE Christmas. I was a Santa believer and was afraid when we decided not to do Santa that the kids would be missing something. But they aren’t. They love Christmas for the pure and simple fact that it is Jesus’ birthday, oh and probably a little bit has to do with the gifts. We also do a couple of small gifts on Epiphany to celebrate when Jesus actually received the gifts from the Wise men.

  5. Well…..I was a Choir Boy scheduled to sing with the boy’s choir at Midnight Mass (Extraordinary Form) in 1961 and having heard “noises” the prior year I told my folks that I KNEW there WAS a Santa Claus…it was the TRAIN sounds that convinced me.
    When I woke up from my mandtory “nap” about 10:00 and came downstairs ans saw EVERYTHING in the Living room — Tree, Train, Gifts, Stockings, etc. — I looked at my Dad and then at my Mom with “that look” kids can get and said, “Well, THAT solves that!!” I was annoyed but THEY were grinning like the Chesire Cat from Alice….then OFF to Mass.

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