Friday, January 8, 2016

I Killed Santa...

... at least in the eyes of my nine year old daughter. You know, because we had 'the talk' about who really leaves a mess in the fireplace, eats all the cookies, and leaves the presents under the Christmas tree. Needless to say, she was absolutely, inconsolably heartbroken. Had I had a magic crystal ball show me that this would be her reaction, I might have thought twice before ever trying so hard to make her believe wholeheartedly in Santa.


I never gave much thought into how I was going to tell Heidi that Santa isn't real. I guess I always figured that I'd know when the time was right. After she came home from school several days in December, worried that the other students in her class weren't going to get presents because they didn't believe in Santa anymore, I knew that time had come. I was angry at these students for telling her it was their parents before I had, however, her conviction in Santa and the spirit of Christmas was so strong that she laughed off their confessions and actually felt sorry for them. I told myself I'd make this last Christmas as magical as ever for her {as I always have in the past} and tell her after.

Cue to last weekend when we were waiting for her dessert to bake in her new Easy Bake Oven. My younger two sons were playing Legos in their room with my husband and I realized that this was the time. I sat her down on the couch and held her little hands. I told her there was something important I needed to tell her and that it was a secret for only big, strong, smart girls. Her face gave off that she was worried, while I couldn't get the nervous grin off my face {a horrible nervous habit I wish I could change}. I simply just asked, "you know, Santa isn't real, right?". To which she replied big eyed, "what?". I went on with the facts of how it has been me over the years and how hard it was to keep it from her. She listened to every word, while her eyes welled up with tears. She tried to hold it together but it was just too much for her.


She looked at me and simply said, "so everything is a lie then." This was not a question. I tried to convince her that I was not lying to her but trying to keep alive a tradition. She didn't buy it. She asked why parents do this to their children if it has nothing to do with Jesus and the Church. I spun an answer as best I could in a way that she would accept. I let her cry until she was ready to talk more. She asked more questions in regards to how I pull off Christmas in both Austria and in California, as they are celebrated very differently {something I pride myself on combining}. She asked about the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Leprechauns, and each time I said it was me, you could literally see her heart break a little more. My heart began to break, too.


A conversation I thought was natural -and inevitable- turned into one of the hardest parenting moments in my mommy journey thus far. Heidi went to her room and cried for hours. She would come out only to ask questions about how I pulled it off each year, and you could see the lightbulbs going off. It's one of those things that you don't think to look around you for the clues until faced with the truth. Once she knew the truth, it became so obvious. Luckily, getting to see how I pulled it off and being in on the secret when her brothers are not, seemed to lessen the blow a bit. Since that day, she might say little comments about Santa and then look at me with a hidden smile, like she's in on the secret and feeling grown up. I made sure she understands not to tell a soul this new found truth, especially her brothers. I made her promise she wouldn't tell any kids at school and ruin the magic for them. She obliged.

Whether you write it in a letter, take your child out or simply spring it on them while they are baking, I really don't think it's easy to take that magic away from them. I was five when I found out but I asked and I excepted. I guess I needed to be a bit more understanding that my child wasn't me and took it much harder than I ever could have imagined. I will never, for as long as I live, forget the -first- time I killed Santa.

How did you tell/ or plan to tell your children? Do you think 9 is too old/young to tell?? Let me know!



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13 comments:

  1. Oh! It was very frustrating for a child. No one informed me that Santa wasn't real when I was young. I just figured it out when I get older.

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  2. I was ten when I found out. I think I probably had a suspicion since I was TEN but I found the wrapping paper he used and recognized it on Christmas morning. I was bummed to say the least, but, honestly, I still believe in Santa. It's magical and innocent.

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  3. I was around that age, but I just reasoned through it myself.

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  4. I agree with Kristin; I still believe. Even if I did find out when I was 6. *sigh* I kept it a secret from my mom, though, and faked believing for years. But, then, our family's repressed so it was never discussed. ;-)

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  5. My sister is currently going through this with her 11 and 7 year olds... Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Ahhhhh I wanted to believe in Santa forever!!! I remember being like 8 & my parents just assuming at 8, I must know...well I cried and cried when my mom let it slip. I wanted to hold on to Santa forever lol....

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  7. The way we handle it is that we don't tell. I find that if they figure it out for themselves they will be ready to know it. They try so hard to keep believing; when they finally can no longer convince themselves it's a sign that they are ready to know. I remember for myself being sad but not traumatized.

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  8. Oh my, you're kidding! You mean... there's... no :( Santa???? Nahhhhh you're pulling my leg right? Sure there's a Santa cuz I know him personally!!!! :) Ask my grandkids they'll tell ya.

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  9. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop

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  10. Thank you for sharing on Create-it-Thursday my youngest child age 6 told my oldest age 10 that Santa wasn't real and that's how it came out in our house. I don't think I could have had the courage to sit them down and say that to them.

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  11. My son is 9 and started to ask question this year, but we managed to make it through. But I know next year we will be killing Santa too *sniff* You are one of tonight's features on the (mis)Adventures Mondays!

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  12. I told my son this year just before he turned 11. He was perfectly fine. I had a feeling he was questioning things for the past 2 years, but I didn't want to take it away from him. His reaction was the best. He asked a ton of questions and just kept laughing at my answers. I think he was a bit disappointed to have to let go of those last few slivers of hope that it was real, but we made it seem like he was in on a big secret. It definitely helped!

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