To Believe or Not to Believe in Santa Claus – What’s a Toddler Parent to Choose?


“Santa Claus is coming to town…” 

“Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say…”

“I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus…”

Santa Hat

Santa Claus: the jolly, rosy-cheeked, white-bearded elf who delivers gifts to every good boy and girl on Christmas Eve. He was a staple in my early Christmas memories, and we did the whole cookies and milk thing for him every year. My husband, on the other hand, was told outright Santa Claus was not “real” when it came to his gift-giving marathon every Christmas. 

This was definitely a non-issue until we had our son Saint in 2017. Now he’s 4 and a few weeks ago he cornered me while I was brushing my teeth with “Mom. Is Santa Claus real or not?” My knee-jerk response was instantaneous laughter, much to my work shirt’s dismay as toothpaste and spit went everywhere. I should’ve expected this as Santa was already a popular figure in his past 4 Christmases. My mind went into overdrive looking for a response. It settled on “Do YOU think he’s real?” and after some back and forth my son seemed to forget the question entirely.

I realized then that my husband and I had a decision to make.

Believe in Santa Claus

A quick internet search reveals many parents have the same dilemma of determining whether they should tell the truth about Santa Claus and if there’s a specific age where the blow isn’t so heartbreaking. As I’ve pondered on how best to handle this, I’ve found my very own principles have come to the forefront. I value truth above many things, and at the risk of taking the fun out of the Christmas spirit, telling my kid Santa Claus is real is not the truth. What is the purpose of having Santa represented as an actual being that will enter our home with every gift my son put on his Christmas list? Is not the magic in the story itself as opposed to the live-action take we try so desperately to create the night before Christmas? Not to mention my son will get to an age where he realizes I’ve been lying the whole time.

Is it better for him to hear the truth now or later?

True, believing in Santa and his discernment of my child’s good and bad behavior is a surefire way to have an orderly Christmas season. The thought of having him in my back pocket to put my kid in line is very tempting. And yet, I want to trust my own skills and abilities to adapt as a parent in such a way that I get a change in my child’s behavior on my own accord. Not having Santa as the ever-watchful entity overseeing my son’s actions forces me to step up and get more creative in my approach to raising him during the holidays. And, to be quite frank, I just don’t have the energy to keep up appearances that Santa IS real. Real-life is complex enough without having to moonlight as the jolly man once a year. For that matter, anyone that does Elf on a Shelf for a full month is incredible.

Believe in Santa ClausMaybe I’m overthinking this whole thing and should just let Santa live.

Alas, the classic overthinker that I am would just rather clear the air with my kiddo once and for all and control any potential fallout when he tells other kids the truth. So no, Saint, Santa isn’t real. But his stories are fun to hear and share when we’re talking about the magic that is the Holiday Season.


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Brittany Mouttet
My name is Brittany Mouttet and I'm a first-generation American on my father's side. I was born and raised in Corpus Christi and have always loved everything about this city. I attended TAMUCC where I earned my BS in Biology. After graduating I immediately started working for the City of Corpus Christi Water Department as a Laboratory Technician. Today I am the Senior Project Manager for the O.N. Stevens Water Treatment Plant, the ONLY drinking water plant that serves Corpus Christi! In 2017 I had my first and only son Saint, and my pregnancy and experience as a new mom led to my starting a podcast called Leading Ladies of Corpus Christi in January 2018. The podcast is focused on highlighting local women making a difference in the community. These women need to be recognized for the amazing things they're doing and creating, and my podcast provides a platform for them to share their stories. My most recent endeavor is becoming a contributor for the Coastal Bend Mom’s Blog and I’m looking forward to learning and sharing with the other incredible people in the community.