How to Explain Santa Without Lying: 3 Best Ways For Parents

Santa Claus is one of the most influential figures in a kid’s mind. It is apparent that he is not real, or just a product of imagination and bedtime stories. However, our kids don’t know it yet. Meanwhile, parents don’t know how to explain Santa without lying, or which is the best age to tell child about Santa, either. As a consequence, this boggles parents’ minds, making them feel like on the horns of a dilemma. 

On the one hand, they want to subtly, and successfully, point out the truth about Santa Claus without ruining their child’s happiness. Sometimes, they are just bored with or can’t stand lying anymore. Sometimes, they don’t want to keep wearing Santa’s costumes for the rest of their lives. 

toddler standing in front of Santa Claus

On the other hand, they are afraid that their children will be in for a shock when realizing Santa’s not real. In worst-case scenarios, kids would look back and feel a bit betrayed. They might wonder about the Christmas spirit they used to believe in and assume that everything was a fabrication made up by their parents for the whole time.

As a parent, I know how it feels when a child asks “Is Santa real?” Dazed and confused? Yes! Nerve-wracking? Absolutely! How can I destroy my kid’s annual enjoyment of looking forward to seeing Santa’s presents after Christmas Eve Night?

Reasons Why We Call For Explaining Santa To A Child

Disclaimer: First and foremost, I have no intention to offend people who don’t celebrate Christmas. There’s nothing wrong with your kids knowing the truth sooner than the others. Nowadays, children take it easier than before. This means that the magic of Christmas won’t vanish completely even when they find out the stories behind it.

To Let Our Kids Know That We Love Them Unconditionally

The part of “if you aren’t good, Santa won’t bring you any gifts” is just a way of encouraging children to do good deeds. Don’t delude the kids into believing that they will be loved only by complying with whatever their parents want.

gift bags for christmas

Of course, there are things that we don’t like about our own children. Still, it doesn’t mean that our love for them is cut down over time. Explaining to child about Santa Claus and exposing the truth about his physical existence is to show that we love them unconditionally.

To Build Their Trust 

I know that some kids would be upset after hearing “Santa’s isn’t real”. But what about other children who don’t settle on the same thing? They won’t understand why people welcome a mysterious man slipping through their chimney in the middle of the night. Hence, the story of Santa can be a little bit scary and cringey in the mind of a kid.

During their childhood, kids rely on us to get to know the fundamental nature of the world. They put their full trust in parents for knowledge and safety, not lies and deception. Therefore, knowing how to explain Santa without lying is no doubt necessary for parents.

How To Explain Santa Isn’t Real: X Ways To Nail The Situation

1. Look for the right signals

It’s better to keep an eye on your child’s signal than to start meddling on your own. Sometimes, we just need to wait for your kid’s questioning about Santa’s existence, then think of a clever way to wrap up the whole story of Christmas.

boy standing in front of man wearing Santa Claus costume

Most parents would possibly wonder when is the right time, or to be exact, at what age to tell kids about Santa. According to several surveys, it’s different depending on each child. However, somewhere between the age of 7 and 10 seems to be ideal. For example, House Method conducted a survey on more than 4,500 families across the US in 2019 and found that 8.4 is the average age of kids who no longer believe in Santa Clause.

When you notice your child approaching and asking if Santa is real, you should reflect on the question to figure out what made them think so in the first place. They may have heard from their friends, or read a snippet of information from some books. Whatever the reason is, your kid is in the right mood to seek the truth from parents.

2. Relate Santa to Another Imaginary Figure

Kids take it easy to know that Superman only exists in imagination, comics, and movies. Hence, why not do the same for Santa Claus? 

bokeh photography of Santa Claus

You can tell your children that Santa is real, but as a “heroic symbol”, not a “person”. Sometimes, you can come up with a simple physics lesson, explaining why no one is able to travel the whole world in just one night, not to mention delivering the gifts at the same time.

Basically, this method of how to explain Santa without lying works in the same way as how you feel after watching a science-fiction movie. You find it extremely fascinating, but after all, you know that’s completely fictional and made-up plots. Similarly, your kids can learn the truth about Santa without losing the excitement and spirit of Christmas.

3. Being Honest in A Subtle Way

Santa Claus tradition is of the utmost importance to children and their childhood cognitive development. Therefore, it requires a considerable effort to master how to explain Santa without lying, and successfully make your kids accept the truth about him. 

If parents have been dressing in disguise and acting as if Santa was real all the time, expect that your child may be temporarily shocked and disappointed after learning the truth. Therefore, keep everything at a lowkey level so that you won’t break their sensitive hearts.

Instead, take them out for a walk in the park or at an amusement center, then slowly mention the stories of Christmas legends. However, opt for an indirect way of explaining. 

woman holding filled cup and wearing santa claus ornaments

Take this as a typical example: First, tell them that you and every other parent as well is entrusted with the task of maintaining the Christmas spirit. Next, gently reveal that Christmas is all about giving thoughtful love and care, and parents are actually the ones who put presents under the tree every year.

Lastly, explain the rest to them, then suggest that your kids join you. By doing this, children may at first find it hard to believe, but will eventually be happy with becoming a mini version of Santa Claus. In other words, Santa lives in the hearts of everyone who does something selfless for another. 

As a result, kids are likely to understand more about the true meaning of Christmas, which indicates that anyone can be a Santa Claus whenever someone needs an act of kindness. This encourages them to perform more good deeds, like watering the garden or doing housework for elderly neighbors.

Don’t let Santa become the tool to manipulate your kid’s motivation for unconditional love and kindness. Even when they seem upset and not ready to accept the truth, be patient. Follow the plan, explain gently, give them more time and personal space. Then, you’ll know the ideal way of how to explain Santa without lying.


Resolve your family conflicts before the Christmas holidays. Check out our effective ways of How To Stop Arguing With Your Child before it’s too late.

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