Why It's Okay My Son Doesn't Believe in Santa

Updated on December 8, 2017

My Son is a Nonbeliever

Call it intuition. Call it a loss of innocence. Call it whatever you will, but I call my 7-year-old son's nonbelief of Santa Claus and other holiday characters as being a practical, reasonable young mind. In my son's eyes, if it doesn't make sense, it can't be true.

Most of his logistics come from my husband—a police officer who's approach to just about everything is to reason it to death. He's also very black and white with most issues—there's a right and a wrong and no gray area in between. My son has adopted this same mindset.

My son first expressed his doubt about the Tooth Fairy. He didn't understand the concept and questioned me to death. Not only did he question me, his voice was riddled with sarcasm. "So, let me get this straight. A little fairy flies in my window, takes my tooth, and leaves money under my pillow?! I don't think so."

What do you say to that? I felt like I was one of my husband's detainees being interrogated in the back room. I was waiting for my son to whip out a flashlight and shine it on my face—"Tell me the truth. I want to truth!" That didn't happen, of course, but I still had a hard time denying this child the truth when he asked me in such a mature, direct fashion.


Why I Decided to Tell Him the Truth

A lot of parents might try to keep the Santa dream alive. My approach was to neither confirm nor deny my son's inquiries. I simply said, "You're a very smart child, Bill", and left it at that. My mom was pretty unhappy that I didn't try harder to convert him into a believer. And that left me asking the question, why? I think sometimes adults place more importance on the belief of Santa than children do. But, I've been accused of stealing his innocence. Guess we must agree to disagree.

Tips for Handling the "Santa Question"

If you're the parent of a child whose belief is beginning to waiver, there are some things you can do!

  • Tell them the truth. We instill in our children the importance of honesty. Whether we're discussing a mythical holiday figure or the truth about something more serious, it's important to practice what you preach.
  • Encourage your child to keep their beliefs to themselves. I have had extensive conversations with my son about Santa, the Elf on the Shelf, the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and every other mythical character I can think of. I've validated his nonbelief but explained why he needs to keep those thoughts to himself. I don't want my child being the one that ruins the magic for another.
  • Acknowledge their fears. One of my son's biggest complaints about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and leprechauns was that they're scary, strangers in our house. I get it. The concept for us parents is purely fun and magical, but the numerous photos of children in hysterics on either Santa or the Easter Bunny's lap are proof that to some, these characters are straight up frightening!

Shirley Temple

"I stopped believing in Santa when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph."

If Your Child Still Believes

I do envy those parents whose children still believe in the magic of Santa. Their excitement and wonder on Christmas morning when they discover presents under the tree is a priceless, irreplaceable moment.

I'd be lying if I didn't say I sometimes mourn my son's belief. I always loved wrapping one set of presents in "Santa" paper and the other ones in regular Christmas paper. Santa always brought the gifts that my son REALLY wanted - those special, expensive ones that mommy and daddy couldn't afford.

The last year my son believed but couldn't fall asleep out of pure terror that a stranger would be coming into our home on Christmas Eve, I came up with a plan. I told him that Santa knew he was afraid and that meant he would leave his presents outside the front door. And that's exactly what "he" did.

I placed all of the Santa presents on our front porch, along with his stocking. The presents from my husband and I stayed inside under the tree. At least for the time being, that was enough to convince my son Santa and the magic of Christmas was real.


Be Realistic

If you sense your child's belief in Santa is beginning to waiver, try not to fight it. The day when your child stops believing is inevitable. Whether they're 7 or 12, that day will come.

When you find yourself getting upset, angry, frustrated, or disappointed that your child no longer believes in the magic of Christmas, take a moment to look inside yourself. Is it really your child that is devastated or is it you? Keeping the dream alive might be more for you than for your child.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • kiddiecreations profile image

      Nicole K 

      17 months ago

      Thank you for this insightful hub! My oldest son is 5 years old, and I've debated about whether to tell him Santa is pretend or not. This past Christmas, I did take him and his brother to go sit on Santa's lap. When we were leaving, he asked me, "Was that the same Santa we saw back by our old apartment, where we used to live?" I didn't know what to say, so I asked him, "What do you think?" He said, "I think so." But I could tell that he was skeptical. On Christmas morning, I didn't wrap any presents any special way or say there were any gifts there "from Santa", and he and his brother didn't even notice. I think as long as it is not a big deal to him, I will probably just keep it that way. If he asks, I think I'll just tell him that it's fun to celebrate the real St. Nicholas, who was a man who loved God and liked giving gifts to children and other undeserving people. It is such a conundrum though, because I remember believing in Santa as a little girl and it did make Christmas feel more "magical". So I go back and forth.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wehavekids.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)