Cuddlebug and Bearhug never really showed any interest in Santa Claus until they saw the Polar Express movie (I think they were 5). Even then, they were more interested in the train, but Santa had some relevance to them as the person the train was taking the children in the movie to go see.
That year, they kept asking if a train was going to stop in our front yard to go see Santa. I hated to disappoint them, but there really is no way to pull that one off. Then they asked if Santa was going to leave them a bell like he did in the movie, and *that* I could do so I got some jingle bells and red ribbon, and left one for each of them (even though Bitty was too young to care). On Christmas morning, they barely noticed the presents from Santa (they didn't really distinguish what was from him vs. everything else) but they were soo excited about those bells!
Last year, they were busy devising all kinds of plans to "prove" Santa's existence. We travelled last year for Christmas and I figured the game was up when they stumbled on the jingle bells I had hidden (not well enough apparently) in my suitcase. :/ But on Christmas morning they had either forgotten, not made the connection, or decided not to let on.
A couple of weeks ago, the topic of Santa came up again. They wanted to know if he is real.
"And tell us da TROOF!" they insisted, "because we don't fink he's real!"
They are 8 years old and in 3rd grade. They seemed to have already figured it out and I couldn't in good conscience not tell them at this point and risk them being teased for still believing in Santa at an age when many of their peers will already know he's not real (at least not in the literal sense, one could argue that the spirit of giving embodied in "Santa" is real but I digress).
So I 'fessed up. They seemed disappointed. Apparently they were very disappointed... because several times since then they have commented how much they wish he was real. :/ I told them he was based on a real person, St. Nicholas, and that seemed to cheer them up a bit.
The downside of filling them in has been trying to emphasize the importance of keeping it to themselves. Being that they have never been big fans of "pretend play" it bothers them to pretend that Santa is real when they now know that he isn't. And them being them, we knew they'd feel inclined to announce that to anyone they heard talking about Santa. So we had to explain how we don't want to spoil the experience for younger kids who believe in Santa. They didn't quite get that (how can you spoil it if he's not real anyway?) but they have fortunately not had many opportunities to set the record straight, at least that we have seen.
If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS.