Keeping the magic alive (Advent Calendar, Day 5)

Wow! Can we say tear-jerker? Your comments yesterday for Giving Tuesday were amazing, inspiring, and sniffle-inducing. You came up with an unbelievable wealth of ideas, actions, and promises to make this world a better place. Please bookmark yesterday’s post and go back to it to read and re-read the comments whenever you need a reminder of why we should believe in humanity.

Please remember that prize winners need to contact your prize donor within four days of the public announcement. We’ve had so many surprise day and special posts that we’ve had a prize announcement every single day plus more scheduled today, tomorrow, and Saturday. πŸ™‚ So far, the prize winners have been:

Roz Harrison
Erzabet Bishop
Joelle Casteel
Michelle Willms

Michelle, you need to contact Kathryn Blake. Erzabet through Abby, you need to contact Sue Lyndon. Contact information here.

Also, don’t forget you need to sign up here for your comments today to count as prize entries. So far, a whopping 39 people are in contention for Perfect Attendance! Way to go! If you’ve missed one or two days, don’t despair. There will be plenty of other prizes, and grand prizes drawings (in addition to daily drawings) are separate.

Be sure to check the main page now and then because I add new prizes and prize donors almost every day. Some new prizes (not yet listed) will include a second paddle donated by Nickie Flynn and a gift certificate to Adam and Gillian. If you go to their Loopy Johnny product description page, you’ll see what I think of that product! πŸ˜€ If Mrs. Claus ever shops at Adam and Gillian, I am DOOMED!!

Tomorrow we will celebrate St. Knickerless Day. Yes. Underwear. You’ve got to see this to believe it, I tell you. πŸ˜€

Ria, we would love to know how the intervention went. Many people held you in prayer and positive thoughts yesterday.

Today’s post is brought to you by Dinah McLeod, who will be responding to your comments. She will randomly pick one lucky winner from today’s commenters to receive a book of your choice. Be good to her…or I’ll send Mrs. Claus after you with a switch!


My parents tried as hard as they could to keep the Christmas spirit alive for us. Well, at least the myth of Santa Claus. I think I was about ten when I told my parents, right before Christmas, that I no longer believed in Santa Claus. It’s an interesting dilemma: I think most kids secretly want to believe, but logically, it doesn’t make much sense that one man can deliver presents to all the children of the world, much less know who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. (I’ve been nice this year, I swear! And if not, well, I’ve paid the piper.) My reasoning was far more simple: we had no fireplace and I’d never seen any proof of Santa, so therefore… you know how kids think they know everything.

That same year, my parents wedged a ripped piece of red felt in the closed door and innocently told me that Santa must have gotten his suit stuck in the door on the way out. I don’t know why I bought it, but I did. Like I said, deep down we want to believe. It bought me another year or so before I could no longer dispute the sad truth: Santa wasn’t real. Christmas changed after that. It no longer seemed as exciting or as memorable. I also noted that the amount of presents beneath the tree began to dwindle, too. Coincidence? Seems like Santa was the one responsible for most of the loot.

Now, as a parent myself, I have to admit I never liked the Santa myth. I wanted to tell my kids the truth right away. Not because it’s dishonest, or anything like that.Β  No, my reason is much more selfish: I simply want the credit for all those great gifts! Well, my husband won the Santa battle and I have to admit (maybe not to him, though) that I’m glad he did. Every year my kids grow more and more excited about Christmas. Sometimes they are so full of joy and wonder that it makes me laugh at loud in delight. Corny, right? But so true.

My favorite part of Christmas is waiting downstairs with the camera and taking pictures as they come down the stairs. Those first few moments of childish awe and delight can never be completely captured by lens and film. I still keep trying, though, and I don’t think I’ll ever give up. We all need something to believe in, so why not something that brings us happiness and eager anticipation? I have to admit, sometimes I think I look forward to this time of year more than my kids do! Tomorrow I’m going to sit them down and we’re going to write our first ever letter to Santa. They’re going to tell me what they want (I will mentally reply that all their presents are already bought, so there!) and the magic will live on just a little longer. None of us know when the dreaded “Santa” conversation will come, and although I think I have a few more years, I’m determined not to take a single second of this season for granted.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Today’s question: Did you believe in Santa as a child, and did you teach your children (if you have children) to believe in Santa? Why or why not? What is your favorite memory related to Santa? (For me, the attraction has always been Mrs. Claus rather than Santa. She bakes, she makes people happy, and…she brandishes a wooden spoon! What’s not to like? I don’t remember believing in Santa, but I do remember my parents telling me how I liked to count the number of Santas I saw each year.)

172 thoughts on “Keeping the magic alive (Advent Calendar, Day 5)

  1. Michael says:

    Hello Dinah, so nice to meet you. Hey, does that put me on the Nice List. I hope so since Ana is being very mean and has been keeping me in the corner for like… forever.

    Loved your post and it got me to thinking that you, just like many other parents, have come full circle. You believed in Santa as a child then like all of us you lost that magical belief, but now through your children you believe again as it brings that special Santa magic back into your life as you watch your children believe and get so excited for Santa’s arrival.

    I did believe in Santa as a child. I have no children but if I did I would teach them to believe in Santa. I don’t look at it as lying to children but rather giving them a special and magical experience they will carry with them for the rest of their life. Favorite memory was on Christmas Eve putting out coffee and milk for Santa and being so excited in the morning when all that was left was a few cookie crumbs on the plate and a few drops of coffee left in he cup. I figured out later that we left out coffee because my mom liked it better than hot cocoa or straight up milk.

    Dinah, thank you so much for bringing that memory back for me. I hadn’t thought of it for a long time and it warmed my heart this cold morning.


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      Thanks for your remarks, Michael! I never thought about it like that, but you’re right. These are times they will remember forever. That’s funny about your mom. πŸ™‚ Maybe we should put out cookies and Redbull. After all, Santa needs his energy–and so does Mama! πŸ™‚


    • octoberwoman says:

      I always got my kids to leave a can of Pepsi for Santa instead of milk. I told them everyone leaves milk and he’d probably appreciate something different. The truth of course is I don’t like milk, but I do like Pepsi. They also decided to set out pizza one year instead of cookies.


  2. Tara Finnegan says:

    Ana, bookmarking that page is a wonderful idea, and thanks for suggesting it. It’s just the thing to read on a bad day when the world seems to be not so nice.

    Dinah, I loved your post. It really made me smile with memories of Christmases gone by. As we reach what will probably be the last Santy year in this house, I’m so glad your husband won that argument. Yes Santa gets the credit for now, but one day they’ll know and they’ll still feel grateful to you then. But for now, they have an extra excitement…MAGIC…..the WOW factor. And as parents we get to join in on the wow which keeps magic in our hearts too.

    One year while we were doing the shopping for the shoebox appeal, the children wanted to know why Santy didn’t go to the poor countries where the shoeboxes were going. Uh oh, difficult question, surely if Santy was so good, he would go where he was needed most. I thought that that would be the last year of believing. We told them that the countries had bad governments that wouldn’t let Santy across the borders and I was so glad they bought it. Another sin on my soul but it was for a good cause.

    My favourite memory relating to Santy wasn’t when I was a child, it was my when my son was on what I knew would be his last Santy year. He really wanted a particular train set and he knew it wasn’t available in Ireland. Although he knew Santy was magic, he really believed he would never be able to get that train set so he asked Santy for an alternative as he didn’t want the disappointment of not getting what he asked for. You should have seen his delight when he got the one he originally wanted. Santy really really was magic.(So is ebay!) It did end up being his last gift from Santy and I’m so glad it was such an incredible memory for him. Now four years later, he wants this year to be as magical for his sisters so they too end on a high.


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      Tara you are too much! Yes, thank God for Ebay!!!! Keeping the magic alive since 1995…LOL. OK, you caught me. I have no idea how old Ebay is! But funny memory thanks for sharing.


  3. Michael says:

    Oops, I meant leaving out coffee and cookies for Santa, not coffee and milk, though the coffee did have milk in it as that’s the way my mom liked it and she was the one drinking the coffee.


  4. Leah says:

    I believed in Santa until I was five. It was no big deal once I found out, so I’ve never worried about my kids knowing the truth. We do Santa with the kids but it’s a very low-key version. We’ll play along with them but don’t make a huge deal out of it. I think Christmas was even better for my daughter after she found out because then she got to get into it for her brother.

    Every year the kids make blood orange mojitos, coincidentally my favorite winter cocktail, for Mrs. Claus on Christmas Eve. It’s pretty cute to see them doing the prep that afternoon.


  5. Joelle Casteel says:

    I was taught to believe in Santa by my parents, but I’m not sure I ever really believed. I know I decided not to teach my son, whether or not my ex-husband or my Master agreed with that parental choice. However when my now-teen was “young enough” to believe, with either man, we were too poor. There was no “wall of gifts” as my parents managed. As my son got older, we started to talk about the “spirit of Santa Claus” and that was more acceptable to me, the notion that the myth is wonderful, the way Santa is supposed to act is wonderful, and there’s some people who in genuine goodness work to do things, give things, as the myth of Santa says.


  6. Ami says:

    I, too, believed in Santa right up to the age of ten or so. I think ‘not believing’ was a gradual, more than a sudden thing, and probably coincided with my beginning to notice that boys weren’t the snotty, disgusting little horrors I had always previously thought, and my having a very big crush on the vicar’s eldest son who was all of three years older than me.

    However, for our kids we did the whole thing. Luckily always living not only in a house with a chimney but with a huge inglenook you could stand up in and see the hooks where they hung the bacon for smoking and then right up to a huge oblong of sky, it wasn’t hard to persuade them that Santa parked his reindeer on the roof and came down the chimney on Christmas Eve.

    They hung their stockings, that I made out of colourful felt, to each side of the fireplace and carefully left a mince pie and a glass of sherry on the coffee table, plus a couple of carrots for the reindeer. (I would eat the mince pie and Dan would drink the sherry! The carrots were enjoyed by the horses!) We even used to jingle some bells outside the house around 10pm or so, just in case the kids might still be awake and listening. On one occasion they were awake and couldn’t wait to inform us in the morning that they had heard Santa with his sleigh.

    Our daughter who is now grown and with kids of her own says it was a very sad day when some other child at school informed her that Santa was a myth created for children, and wasn’t real. She did her best to enjoy it, but Christmas Eve wasn’t the same ever again.

    I think it is a wonderful custom and should hate to see it disappear. Let children have their childhood. They grow up soon enough.



  7. Michelle B says:

    I actually don’t recall ever having believed in Santa or having my parents “push” the idea on me. The focus was mostly on baby Jesus’ arrival…

    Of course I knew about Santa, but I think I also understood that he was a story character – like the Easter Bunny (I mean, seriously – a bunny giving eggs? How confusing!) and all those countless Disney characters.

    The most memorable event would be the year my dad decided to rent a suit and surprise my little sister and I. My mom woke us up after we had gone to bed and said to come quietly to the livingroom as she thought we could catch Santa! Blurried eyes, we shuffled out to the livingroom and my sister FREAKS!! (She was 2 maybe 3, which would have made me 4-5). For some reason, even though I was half asleep I immediately recognized my dad’s shoes that “Santa” was wearing and I kept trying to tell me sister – “Look! It’s just Dad! See? Those are his shoes!” She would have no part in it and finally my dad had to take off his fake beard and hat so she could see his face.. Talk about bursting THAT fantasy, right? πŸ˜€ Poor kid – I wonder if she ever recovered – I should ask her hehehe

    We still got a gift from “Santa” in following years but deep down we knew that it was really a special gift from mom and dad πŸ™‚


  8. Renee Meyer says:

    Dinah, it is great meeting you this morning. I loved the post on Santa and magic. I don’t have any real memories about growing up believing in Santa. My family did not share that joy with us. We knew from an early age how much they spent on each child and not to ask for more. There wasn’t much magic in Christmas in our house growing up. This probably led to my decision that my children would know Santa and all the magic involved. The funniest story I have about Santa happened just a couple of years ago. Our two boys are both special children and they love to hold on tradition and routines. When our boys were 16 and 14 and our daughter was 11 we decided that we would tell everyone that Mommy and Daddy were really Santa. The 16 year old says β€œwell it is only logical that Santa can’t deliver all over the world in one night.” The youngest says β€œI kind of knew that already mom.” It was our 14 year old who looks me in the eye and says I can believe that about the Easter Bunny but you can’t make me believe that about Santa. He is as real as they come because he brings presents exactly the presents I want every year.” I was rather stumped at the time and two years later we still aren’t certain whether he believes or is just hedging his bets to make sure Christmas happens. Either way Christmas always comes to our home.


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      Renee, it is a pleasure to meet you as well! I am sorry to hear that Christmas was not a joyful event when you were young. But the fact that you worked so hard to make it so with your own family is so wonderful! They will–and do, I’m sure–cherish those memories! Love it!


  9. angel says:

    I know I believed in santa but I don’t remeber we taught our kids about Santa It is just so cool to watch their faces as they talk about how long till santa comes How they get all excited as they put out the cookies and milk and look to see how he will get in as we have no chimney It is that little spark of magic in their little eyes


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      Yes, that’s the best part, you’re right! That’s what I never can quite get on the camera–the excited delight! Maybe we should turn to the camcorder this year? πŸ™‚


  10. minellesbreath says:

    Hi Dinah, What wonderful memories! I love the idea of catching the kids excitement as they come down the stairs. As a very young child I still remember waking in the night needing to use the bathroom…..It just so happened that Santa was ‘there’ and mom said to close my eyes…..I peaked through my fingers and saw a black boot and red pants. My parents still to this day can’t explain my vision. Imagination and the power of suggestion are responsible. I did believe in Santa and the magic of Christmas until my mom finally had to tell me at around 10 years old. I started arguing with the kids at school. I am sure she wanted to spare me more embarrassment. But mom made it okay by telling me I was now Santa’s helper and could keep the magic alive for others. Ultimately I still believe in Santa and the magic of Christmas.

    I wanted my Children to enjoy that magic and the spirit of giving the Holidays have. Even after they outgrew Santa I still enjoy keeping Santa’s spirit alive. My nieces and nephews still get ‘a bit mad’ TEASING with me because Auntie said she SAW Santa and they believed so hard because I didn’t lie! I keep saying I didn’t lie….I REALLY saw Santa!


  11. Delfonte says:

    Hi Dinah, lovely trip down memory lane.
    yes, Santa – or Father Christmas as we call him here, came a visiting. He traditionally, in my parents house, left small gifts in a pillow case at the bottom of our bed. My mother was crafty, she filled in the spaces with satsumas and then added blown up balloons at the top to make it look really full!

    We found out eventually by keeping awake and my parents, desperate to go to bed, simply dumped the sacks at the bottom of the bed.

    My mum continued to give us stocking fillers long after we knew the truth. Except it was all done on the fly, she would run round the house finding anything to put in the stocking – toothpaste, sweets, half-read books… She is very open-minded, so in our teens I got tampons and my brother condoms. Yep, she had already decided who was going to be making his mark in life.

    My own kids are currently believers. We give them small gifts and treats in the stocking. Last year we took the front of the fireplace off (it is a false front attached my magnets) and left it there for the kids to find in the morning. “Look at that, Father Christmas didn’t tidy up the fireplace, he must have been in a rush.” They had big wide open eyes of amazement. Priceless.

    The major presents always go under the tree and are given by the family. It has always been important to me for them to know we exchange gifts and that giving is the true gift, not receiving. Father Christmas is a bit of fun.


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      That’s wonderful! I think we will do something like that this year and I am getting so many great ideas! Thanks for sharing!


  12. constance Masters says:

    When I was a little girl Santa used to leave presents in a large pillow slip at the end of our beds. I believed in Santa until I was about ten and my Mum fell through the door in the middle of the night carrying said pillowslip. She tried to tell us something about Santa asking her to drop the pillowslip off for him…neither myself or my sister believed her.

    So our children got/get their presents under the tree where it’s easier to hide them without getting caught. Interestingly, until this year, I have never had a Christmas morning since we had out first child without someone believing in Santa. Not bad going considering our eldest is 31. Our youngest is twelve and going to high school next year and I don’t think he believes anymore. We have a sort of silent agreement though. We make negotiations of what he would like and what he is likely to get through the ruse of Santa and I’m glad he’s willing to humour me because I’m not ready yet to give the magic up entirely πŸ™‚


  13. paul1510 says:

    No I didn’t believe in Santa, I was fostered or in a home for most of my childhood.
    My parents finally got together in 1949 when I was fourteen, my sister was born in 1950, I delighted to play Santa for her until she was nine or ten, I did the same for my three nieces.
    It is a pleasant fiction and gave them pleasure.


    • Michael says:

      Paul, that is so sweet, you playing Santa for your little sister and then later your nieces. Even at an early age you were a real man. I am honored to count you as a friend.


    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      I’m stepping back to let Dinah comment today, but…wow. Paul, this story brought tears to my eyes. Instead of being jealous that your sister and nieces had what you didn’t, you actually gave them what you didn’t get to have.

      I am humbled. I have learned a lesson from you today. Thank you.


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      Paul, thank you for sharing this! It’s so beautiful that you were able to do that for others–and I bet it was a lot of fun!


    • Sherilyn says:

      Paul, thank you for being in my world. People like you, with such generosity in their souls where bitterness could have taken root, are the best humans ever. I really admire you. Thanks so much for sharing with us!


  14. quiet sara says:

    As a child I did believe in Santa until I was about 9 then someone told me he wasn’t real and I asked my parents. They confirmed it and I went to my room. After 5 minutes or so I came rushing out and exclaimed, “Does that mean the Easter Bunny and the Tooth fairy aren’t real either???”

    We also did a lot that centered around Jesus being that we were regular church goers. We had Christmas Eve service at the church and on Christmas morning my dad always read the story of Jesus birth before we opened gifts. I have continued this tradition in our home and each year my dad comes to my house and after a big giant breakfast of homemade biscuits, gravy, eggs, bacon, and coffee cake he reads the story for us. Then the children unwrap a small Jesus off of the tree so that it may symbolize that He was the reason to begin with.



  15. SH says:

    Thanks for a great post Dinah which made me think back to when my children were little and the happiness they felt on Christmas morning. The whole mystery/magic/surprise thing can’t be beat. Definitely makes me smile this morning πŸ™‚ I believed in Santa when I was little so we carried the tradition on with our children. My oldest discovered there was no Santa first, probably by 3rd grade, but he kept it to himself by his own choosing so his younger brothers could still feel the ‘magic’ of Santa. Then, in turn, as another one of my children found out they also did not let on to the younger ones. It was so sweet. This will be our first Christmas with a grandbaby, who is too young to know about Santa yet but one day he will πŸ™‚


  16. abby says:

    Ahhhh, Santa, for a jolly old man he does tend to cause debate. Yes, I believed. and did not try to spoil the ‘fun’ for my younger siblings. My children also believed, and when they questioned, I explained about Santa being the ‘spirit of Christmas’.
    Over the weekend I was visiting of my grandchildren…the 5 year old explained to me that since they did not have a fireplace, Santa lands his sleigh on their deck. Traditions….live on.
    hugs abby

    PS..Paul your reply touched me… are what Santa….and Christmas is all about….


  17. Erzabet Bishop says:

    We believed in Santa for the longest time. I honestly don’t remember what happened to stop the process. One of the most memorable traditions we had was on Christmas Eve. We got to pick one present and open it. One year I picked an item that has been with me ever since. An anthology of horror stories. I read parts of it every year on Christmas Eve. Weird I know but I think it influenced the writer in me.


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      Wow! I think most people might find that “weird” as you said, but you know what? All of us writers have something that is what makes us “us” and it’s cool you have that in the form of tangible evidence! Enjoy your tradition!


    • Sherilyn says:

      Erzabet, one year I received a book of Scottish ghost stories for Christmas from one of my aunts. I still have it and, when I can dig it out of the children’s books (don’t ask me about the books in my 999 square feet; it’s kind of embarrassing), I still take immense pleasure in it. You’re not weird; you’re a writer! We’re supposed to have strange tastes!


  18. Arleen says:

    Hi Dinah! I loved your write up on Santa. He does symbolize the true magic of Christmas. I also believed until I was about ten and I know it was a gradual process that I didn’t want to let go of but knew after a while that it didn’t make sense. I’m a true romantic and like to think that there is magic out there to make life fun and wonderful. I didn’t have children of my own but I know if I had I would have encouraged that same belief because I think all children should have that period in life when all things are possible and magical. Christmas is really the symbol of all that joy and goodness. I believe that children should also start from that young age to be aware of others and doing good things for them as part of the Christmas concept.

    I am so enjoying this advent calendar, Ana. It was such a good idea to give us all nice memories, new thoughts and new ideas. Thanks!!


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      Good point! I just love the fact that all of you are sharing these things with me, because it makes me so glad I listened to my husband. πŸ™‚ thanks!


  19. Aurora says:

    Hi Dinah! Nice post. Waiting with a camera — great idea — oooh now I really wish I had been doing that over the years with my kids.

    I grew up believing in Santa, however I don’t remember how or why I stopped believing. My best memory of him was that every year on Christmas Eve we set out an empty manger under the tree and every on Christmas morning there would be a baby Jesus in it left by Santa. It was the first thing I checked for before going on to the presents.

    I have 2 children, but only the youngest believes in Santa anymore. I don’t think it will be long before she figures it out (maybe even this year).My favorite memories of ‘playing Santa’ with my children are tracking him with them via NORAD every year on Christmas Eve (I will probably continue to do this even after the youngest quits believing…lol). I did get the baby Jesus/manger from my parents several years ago to use with my own kids, but around the second or third year I forgot to put him in the manger on Christmas morning so I unfortunately ruined passing down that tradition.


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      Aurora, I think you could bring that tradition back, but instead of having it left by Santa maybe each year a different member of the family gets to pick out the baby Jesus and everyone else will be surprised. Just a thought. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!


  20. JC says:

    Wait you mean to tell me Santa Claus ISN’T REAL! NO WAY!

    Just joking. I believed in Santa for a long time. Most of the children where I teach do not believe in Santa But every December I make a big deal about Santa being real. It is fun to listen to them try to convince me that Santa isn’t real. It provides a lot of entertainment.

    I don’t have children yet but I am not sure which way I will go. As an adult it is kind of a scary concept, we are teaching children that it is ok for someone they have never meet to come into the house while everyone is sleeping because he is bring presents. I had a friend whose kids where scared to go to bed on Christmas Eve because Santa would come.

    So I guess I will have to wait and see if I every have kids.


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      JC, what I meant was….Santa IS real for those that still believe. I’m sure you totally get presents from him, you’ll have to report back and let us know what he brings you this year! Yes, I think that’s one of those decisions that you just have to wait on. I always said, nope, never, ever, ever and you see how that worked out. πŸ™‚


  21. Kelsey Summer says:

    I definitely believed in Santa until around age ten. It was my grandmother who finally clued me in. She asked me if I like a gift I was playing with because she had bought it. At that point I was old enough to remember who gave me the gift and the packaging had said Santa. I was upset that there was no Santa, but my younger sister was devastated. She was only 8. Even after that, though, my parents kept doing the Santa thing. The first Christmas my husband spent with my family he was shocked to see gifts from Santa (there were no kids in the house). When I had kids of my own we no longer spent Christmas mornings at my parents house, but even now they say that Santa brought gifts to their house for my kids.

    My two older kids believed in Santa and my younger son still does. I loved the magic of Santa when I was younger so I wanted them to experience it too. My middle child is the most realistic. He struggled with the concept of Santa from age 6 and by age 8 he knew there was no Santa and there was no way to make him believe. My oldest, though, I think would still believe in Santa at age 14. She used to get in big fights with her friends when they told her that Santa wasn’t real. At age 9 she stopped speaking to her best friend for almost three weeks when the friend told her Santa wasn’t real.

    One of my biggest concerns about Santa was that my older two kids would tell my youngest, but so far that hasn’t happened. They actually get into the whole thing of telling him that there is a Santa. We have an elf that they place around the house after the little one goes to bed and they get excited to see his reaction in the morning. He is 7 now so we probably only have another year or so with Santa, but I want to milk it as long as I can.


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      Yes, milk it, by all means! We have an elf, too. The girls love looking for him every morning. In a way, the elf has backfired. The other day I said a bad word and my daughter shouted, at the top of her lungs, “Archie, (our elf) did you hear that?!” πŸ™‚ Wishing you many more years of elf hiding.


  22. TravelingGal says:

    I don’t really ever remember believing in Father Christmas but then I was a skeptical child and I don’t think my parents really encouraged me to believe. I do remember we were driving home after a midnight service one Christmas eve and I swear I saw a little red light in the sky and heard bells; I must have been 10 or 11 at the time. Did I really think it was Santa? No, but it was still a nice experience that I remember to this day.

    We talked about presents from Santa with our daughter but in a fairly casual way. I’m not sure that she ever truly believed either. But we still put out cookies and milk on Christmas Eve – and the stockings didn’t get filled and most of the presents didn’t appear until after she went to bed. My parents tended to go with small Christmases – one big present and a few smaller ones – so I admit that I enjoyed indulging my daughter with a big mound of presents on Christmas morning. This year, I’m finally cutting down, which I’ve been threatening for years, but since she’s getting married next year, I think it’s time. πŸ™‚


  23. sassytwatter says:

    Adorable post Dinah. So cute how you are more excited than the kids watching them light up at the thought of Santa.

    Not sure what my parents really told me about Santa I think I picked up from other kids you were suppose to believe. I remember being 4 years old in Sweden & Santa comes to visit & hands out presents to the children on the 24th. I recognized the imposter as one of my uncles but somehow my mother explained he was busy & this was for the little kids.My parents continued to do Santa until my 4 year old sister when I was 8 informed me there was no Santa and then dragged out all my presents as proof that Santa was fake. I remember being quite upset & my parents had to deal with a 4 year old telling all her friends much to the other parents dismay of the myth of Santa. Not sure what I will do with my own children when we have them perhaps it depends on their personality some kids want to believe and others like my sister did not.


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      You are very right about that! My oldest is stuck in the magic right now (she’s four) but I have to tell you, she’s a skeptic. She must have asked me twenty times already how our elf gets around. I think she’s trying to trip me up! Thanks for sharing!


  24. Leigh Smith (aka Sunny Girl) says:

    I believed in Santa until I was about six. When my daughter was about four I made the mistake of wrapping her Santa presents in the same paper as our presents. We tried passing it off that Santa ran out of paper and had to use some of ours. It may have worked that year because we always opened our presents Christmas Eve and Santa presents on Christmas morn but it was the last year she believed. Santa is part of the magic of Christmas and I think that’s why children and even adults embrace the thought.


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      I agree! I think I have many more years but these posts make me sad for the day I won’t! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!


  25. JoanneBest says:

    Wait. What? Santa isn’t real? πŸ˜€
    I remember when I was somewhere around 10 years old, walking home from the bus stop after school with my 13 year old friend I mentioned something about Santa and she started laughing at me as she destroyed my Santa belief (laughing all the way), I was devastated but I laughed along with her and pretended I didn’t really believe in him. When I got home I cried and cried like a baby because I really believed in Santa. I was super shy and quiet at that point in my life and I never told my Parents until I was an adult (my Mom said “I knew there was a reason I didn’t like you hanging out with that girl” lol )… I don’t remember if it was that year or the following year I went to sleep on Christmas Eve and I heard something on the roof, and in my little girl mind that was all the proof I needed that Santa existed, I was once again a believer and remain a believer to this day; to me, believing in Santa makes Christmas magical.
    Oh! And we always left cookies and milk for Santa and a few carrots for the reindeer πŸ˜€
    Since I never had kids I was never able to pass along the Santa tradition but we still celebrate Christmas as if Santa was the one who put all those gifts underneath the tree.
    We always hold back one gift for each of us (me, hubby and his sister share a house) and wait till everyone opens everything then we all “find” that last gift, always the biggest and most wanted gift, and pretend that Santa hid whatever it was; for example last year after we opened all our gifts we “found” that Santa left a new acoustic guitar for hubby, a new laptop for me, and a violin for my sis-in-law (she always wanted one); when we open that last gift from Santa and we say “you shouldn’t have spent so much money on _____” we always reply “it wasn’t me, it was Santa”.
    Oh I almost forgot, the Christmas stockings! As a kid Santa always filled our stockings with a tangerine, nuts, candy and of course a candy cane. We do the same now, although we add little gifts in the stockings, like scratch-off lottery tickets, and gloves and hats for winter.
    Thank you Dinah, you brought back so many memories, once again I’ve got a huge smile on my face πŸ™‚


  26. 00sarah says:

    I believed in Santa as a child. I don’t remember realizing he wasn’t real, so it must not have been a big deal for me.
    We’ve always told our kids that Santa is the Spirit of Giving. Service. Doing for others. They (well only 1 now) believe, but not because we believe in the man in the red suit. When my oldest 2 found out, it wasn’t a big deal for them. We continue to say that Santa is the Spirit of Giving.


  27. terpsichore says:

    I believed in Santa as a child. It was always magical for me and my brothers. Until one day, my older brother told me the secret. But you know the magic never died. I still believe in the “magic” of Santa. I love watching my children’s excitement Christmas morning. I know there will be a day when they will know…but I hope they hold onto the magical feeling of the season. For now, Santa brings one or two special gifts each year – the children know we are helpers, that we wrap the presents after Santa delivers them…and I have never lied in answering any of their questions to me…I have only told them of the magic and kindness of giving. That I believe that there once was a man who brought gifts to children and because of that – the magic lives on for all those who believe. And both still believe…so I will hang on to these moments as long as I can. πŸ™‚


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      That’s wonderful and so encouraging for us parents who fret over the loss of belief! Thanks for sharing this it gave me a lot to think about! Merry Christmas!


  28. Renee Rose says:

    A friend told me in kindergarten, and I was terribly bitter, but we pretended to believe for years. My eight year old still believes and we’re starting to scratch our heads about when to end the farce. I really was conflicted about the whole lying to them thing…


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      Well, I tried to pretend for a while after but my mom never fell for it. And like I said, the present train stopped there…LOL


    • Marybeth says:

      Renee, Don’t think of it as lying. You are just continuing the tradition. My youngest believed until he was 10 or so. We all enjoyed it


  29. chickie says:

    Oh, this whole thing kinda makes me sad 😦 My mom in a fit of rage blew everything for us in one swoop when I was about 6 and my brother would’ve been 4-5. Santa, tooth fairy, easter bunny… gone. That was her weapon of the day and it hurt us badly.

    I really believe one of our biggest jobs with raising children is to take lessons learned from our own childhoods and try to make it right with our own children. We plan to carry on the tradition of my husband’s family. Once you stop believing in Santa, he stops coming. With my kids included, the 9 cousins range from 4 years up to 19 years old. Every single one talks about what they asked Santa for and what he brought them. They all have that knowing glimmer in their eyes and a smirk but they still carry on just the same. It’s not to protect the youngest ones… it’s just what they do and I love it.


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      I think that earned your mom a place on the Naughty List for life, Chickie! That is indeed sad. But you know what you said is very true: we take what was wrong with our own childhoods and preserve it for our own children. We “play” Santa to protect the magic. πŸ™‚ I like it.


  30. bellabryce says:

    Thanks Dinahboo, your writing on this piece really comes through so strongly. I loved it.

    I was told about Father Christmas, so obviously I grew up believing in him, until like Dinah, I just used my wise-ass logic to realise the idea was ridiculous.

    My husband and I don’t have children yet and we are preparing our lives for that part of our marriage. We’ve already discussed this topic and have decided we will not tell our children there is a Father Christmas. Christmas isn’t about him or presents, and my husband and I want them to understand what and who it’s about, and we will give them gifts, explaining that we do so because we love them – but it isn’t the focus and presents aren’t to be earned. I hate hearing angry parents in December saying, ”I’m taking away a present if you’re naughty,” or , ”you won’t get any presents.” Father Christmas instills the idea that if you earn your way into behaving you get gifts whereas the message of Christmas is that it’s a free gift.

    My two pence.

    Loving the Advent Calendar, thanks Ana ❀


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      Oh, goodness, Bella, good point. I didn’t think about it like that and I confess to having said similar things. Good points, lots to ponder. πŸ™‚ Glad you liked the blog post! ❀


  31. Leona Bowman says:

    Your memories where very touching.. πŸ™‚
    My son is almost 18 yrs old and I don’t but a santa gift under the tree for him, but someone does.. it all in the sprite of giving..
    My most foundness memory was when I was 7 yrs old.. I just got my teeth done, and the doctor gave me to much novicane.. my mouth was frozen over chirstmas.. could not eat.. We went to my anutie for christmas.. I got babie furnture.. I was happy and sad at the same time because I did not bring my barbies.. my mom the magic words and i found them under the tree.. Totally blow my 7yr old mind the my mom had magic.. haha. It was the best christmas I had..

    I hope everyone remember the sprite of Christmas.. It what is in the heart..
    Hugs Leona πŸ™‚


  32. Holla Dean says:

    Ana, yesterday’s post was the best! There are so many ways we can help those less fortunate or who just need a hand to get them through.
    Yes, I believed in Santa, as did my four siblings. My parents were immigrants to the U.S. from Europe – Germany and Austria. We open our gifts on Christmas Eve, not Christmas Morning. Opa (grandpa) would look at his watch and exclaim that we better get out of sight or Santa would not come. He’d take us for a walk while my parents and Oma (grandma) put the gifts under the tree. There were never any gifts placed under the tree early. Santa brought everything when he came. Our walk would last about a half hour to 45 minutes and when we returned, Santa had been and gone. It was so exciting to think that while we were strolling down the nearby shopping district, looking at the beautiful decorations in the stores, Santa and his reindeer were at our house, putting our presents under the tree. We never questioned how Opa knew the exact time Santa would arrive at our place.
    Sadly, the belief was cruelly shattered for me at about nine years of age when a friend told me the truth about Santa. I was so disappointed!
    My children believed as well and we still open gifts on Christmas Eve.


  33. angieia says:

    I believed in Santa as a child. I remember when I found out Santa wasn’t real I was in 5th grade and the boy in front of me said he believed and all of the kids in the class made fun of him so I never spoke up. Him and I were always good friends cause we shared some of the same beliefs.

    My kids believed in Santa for a long time. My kids are four years apart so when my daughter figured it out I told her that if she believed Santa would keep bringing her presents. My son, who is four years younger, found out when my father-in-law (who had been drinking) said that I was the Easter Bunny, tooth fairy, and Santa. My son laughed, but said that he believed so he could keep getting presents. They both still get a little something in their stockings from Santa.

    One of my most vivid memories of Santa was when I was about five. I think some kids tried to tell me Santa wasn’t real and my parents wanted to see if I really believed the kids. I was in the bath tub and my dad took a starter pistol to the basement and shot it under the bath tub. After he came up he told me he shot Santa since I didn’t believe. I cried my heart out and said that I believed and what would we do now without Santa. Then my dad said he missed and Santa would bring presents, but only if I believed. It wasn’t until I was in 5th grade and that happened did I ever doubt there being a Santa.

    One of my other memories was when I was probably in my teens and my uncle was tired of me shaking the presents and guessing what they were. So when I got my present from him it was a big box and made a lot of noise when I shook it. Inside were a bunch of pennies that shook around and a couple of 45 rpms records. I treasured those records and he has always been my favorite uncle.


    • Irishey says:

      Oh, Thianna! Your dad pretended to shoot Santa right under your bath! Omg, omg! I’m horrified and laughing hysterically, all at once. I think I would have kept believing as long as you, too, if it meant my dad would shoot Santa if I stopped believing. I think I would have to start a campaign to save Santa, full of political lies, and convince everybody to believe. Lol! O…M…G!!!


  34. Leslie says:

    Being a parent teaches you that it is so much better to give than receive. I will always remember watching my children’s expressions as they enter the living room to see what Santa left. Thinking back I see how blessed we were.


  35. Thianna D says:

    My first thought is “What’s wrong with believing in Santa?” I think Santa is an amazing ideal – not the commercialism of it, which I HATE – but the belief that if you want something badly enough, someone – a nice shiny elf, maybe – will bring it to you.

    Growing up, I believed in Santa until somewhere around 10 when some beast in the schoolyard told all of us that the jolly elf was made up, that Mom & Dad were Santa. I was confused because, and I will be honest here – when I was 8 or 9, I saw him and his reindeer flying in the sky (I was a kid with a fantastic imagination, what can I say?). But in the auspices of growing up, I believed the schoolkid and asked my parents, where to my horror they told me their ‘truth’. Santa did not exist.

    I think this whole destroying of a child’s dreams is absolutely hideous. Imagination is so important and we and the beastly kids children play with beat it down. How often have you, as an adult, told a child “Get your head out of the clouds!” or “It’s time to grow up and put childish things away.”

    I say to hell with that. Imagination is the key to living. I believe in something called The Law – which says that what we can believe in, we can achieve. The beginning of it? You have to really be good at the imaginative part, be able to see, hear, smell, and touch something that is only in mental reality, not the physical plain, before it becomes your physical reality. I have had to ‘re-learn’ how to do so when if it hadn’t been beaten out of me I would have been ahead of the game.

    And yes, at the age of *cough* I once again believe in Santa Claus. The only difference is that I realize What/who Santa is.

    All hail, Santa! Oh, and Santa, let’s not forget about that gift I asked you for this year, okay? I’m counting on it πŸ˜‰


  36. Maren Smith says:

    I believed in Santa as a kid and as an adult, I believe in him still…though not as I did back then. I grew up in a foster house. I was the eldest of three kids born to my parents, but my parents took in kids from all over and they specialized in special-needs kids. For instance, for a time we took care of Blake, a little boy born without a brain. All he had was the brain stem and his head was very, very small. But we took him in, providing respite for his parents whenever they needed a break. There was also Emily, who was born normal but at 3 months contracted spinal meningitis. The fever literally cooked her brain and for the rest of her life she was severely mentally and physically disabled. Although she was one of the ones we didn’t adopt and even though she’s no longer living, I consider her my sister to this day.

    The doctors said she’d never make it past 10, but she lived with us on into her 30s. They said she was a complete vegetable, but we knew better. She preferred the color pink. She preferred Garth Brooks over any other singer. And there was one man who was not a member of our family and who she recognized without fail every single year, and that was the man who worked as Santa at the Gateway Mall in Springfield, Oregon.

    In his suit or out of it, at Christmas time or not, whether he was working or not, she knew exactly who he was and her whole demeanor changed. She brightened, she grinned and she laughed, and he would put his arm around her shoulder, bend down and say in her ear, “Hello, Emily.” Then he’d smile at us and continue on his way.

    They had a very special connection, and it’s something I never saw her do with anyone else. I have no idea who he really was or even what his name really was. He’s just an older gentleman whose interactions with a kid most people wrote off on sight was nothing less than magical in my eyes. He is who we think of when we think of Santa Claus.


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      That was a wonderful story, Maren, and very touching. Thank you for sharing. And you know what? He just might have been Santa! Those with tender, innocent hearts know these things, I believe that sincerely.


    • catrouble says:

      Dang it Maren…I don’t have time to read everyones comments so was just skimming and got hooked on yours…I’m with Ana…put a kleenex warning next time! Your parents sound like very special people! Thanks for sharing.



  37. thelongbean says:

    Hi Dina

    Sorry, I don’t really remember anything about Santa (or Mrs Claus) from my childhood. It is such a long time ago and my parents were always very Edwardian in their outlook towards bring up children. My grandmother was decidedly Victorian in her outlook.
    As I have not had children, I have had no reason to promulgate the myth. My personal opinion is that the whole of Christmas has become too commercially orientated. Yes I do give presents to my sister and her family, but they are never expensive and often homemade. For friends usually homemade goodies such as jam or chutney is the order of the day. Where I live the range of goods in the shops is limited. I could spend money by internet shopping, however that is frowned on by friends for Christmas presents.

    I am not forgetting Ana is in the corner watching proceedings. (I assume she has not been naughty and sent there….)


  38. Patty Devlin says:

    I’m pretty sure I didn’t believe in Santa, although I can’t remember much. I know I often talked my mom into buying me presents there in the store with me. Which is perhaps why I didn’t believe in Santa. I’m pretty sure she did put them up and make me wait till Christmas morning.

    Now, my first two children believed for years. I remember when one of my daughter’s schoolmates told her in the first grade. I was completely Irate! I mean some people’s children. Why don’t they teach them some manners? They can’t just go around burst other children’s Christmas spirit like that!

    And then our other two babies started to grow… And we as a family started to grow away from the Santa focus, altogether. I don’t know how it happened… It wasn’t intentional.

    But, what has happened has been a blessing. Our children have been so much more thankful. They know that it is us, real people who work for the money to pay for those gifts that they want.

    Now, of course we aren’t out bashing the Santas over the head or telling other kids there isn’t a Santa. My kids aren’t devastated that they believed and then found out the truth. In fact the six year old laughs when he loses another tooth and asks his dad to get out his tooth fairy dress and give him his dollar!


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      I think that’s wonderful, Patty. What matters is the spirit of togetherness, and the fact that your kids are more appreciative of your time and effort is wonderful!


  39. Irishey says:

    Hi, Dinah. Thank you for sharing some of your Christmas and Santa memories and beliefs. Lack of a chimney certainly presents a dilemma for parents who must concoct lots of little white – uh – imaginings! I’ve enjoyed reading the comments here, too. Such interesting stories.

    Ana, I believed in a real Santa as a small child, and always will believe in the legends and spirit that Santa brings to the season. I also taught my children about Santa, with excitement – and a bit of trepidation over the day each would discover the truth and have to give Santa a new place in their thoughts. However, there was so much ado everywhere *about* Santa, it was a delight to bring my babies and young children into the magical fold.

    I have so many wonderful memories about Santa from my own childhood and my children’s. This post is sparking those memories, along with all the other triggers the holiday season brings. I don’t have a favorite memory – they’re mostly all favorites. I really should write about all of them and give them to my children and grandchildren.


  40. Donna Steele says:

    Definitely believed! I think I still do. Always left cookies and one of those little bottles of Coke out (later was asked to leave two so his helper could have one). My kids believed as well, since there’s 7 years between them, Big Bro helped keep it alive for Lil Sis as well.


  41. Mona Lisa says:

    Of course, I believed in Santa.
    In the land of Oz, where I grew up was the baby Jesus, celebrated on 24.december, who sent his angels with Christmas tree and gifts.
    On morgonsne the 24. December was the Christmas tree there. When and how? We heard nothing! All the lights were on and it was magic. ‘
    (Parents are preparing the Christmas tree during the night.)

    I remember I was sad when I found out that it was the parents who organized the Christmas tree and presents.
    I remember it like today … somehow … childhood ended .. lol ..

    My children learned the truth at cca 6 years of age. But they still write wish lists .. lol ..


  42. Emily Tilton says:

    I did believe, but I figured it out at a very young age; I remember sitting at the top of the stairs in my grandmother’s house, listening to the grown-ups (who thought all the children were asleep) put the presents under the tree. I remember feeling that I had accomplished something by figuring it out, and not being sad.

    On the other hand, telling my own children, when they tearfully verified, upon close questioning, that Yes, they really wanted the truth about what their friend had said, was just about the most heart-rending thing short of true catastrophe that I can imagine. I’m extremely proud, though, of the way I put it to them: “There is real magic. Santa Claus is real. Now you get to make the magic for those who come after you–the most important responsibility in the whole world, as far as I’m concerned.”


  43. Ruth Staunton says:

    I don’t remember when I stopped believing in Santa as a person. It wasn’t a sudden dramatic awareness. It was gradual, and thinking back, it probably had something to do with my parent’s divorce when I was ten and realizing that “Santa” had my mother’s handwriting at her house and my father’s at his.

    I do know we kept up the pretense of believing in Santa well into adulthood. My stepfather always said that when you stop believing you stopped receiving, and so since we all wanted to keep getting presents, we pretended to believe long after we knew the truth of it.

    I remember once, when I was six or seven, leaving hay and carrots for Santa’s reindeer and being amazed that it was gone the next day. These days, I like to think of Santa more as the spirit and magic of Christmas rather than a mythological person.


  44. PT Wyant says:

    I don’t remember believing or not believing in Santa, or discovering that he wasn’t real. (Although it was a little suspicious that he used the same wrapping paper that my mother did.)

    My favorite Santa memory, though, came from a few years ago at my Dad’s house. It was Christmas Eve and my brother and his two little ones (Gabriel was 2 and Elizabeth was 4). It was dark, and Dad lived out in the country so it was REALLY dark. Somehow my brother slipped out of the house and wrapped some red tissue paper over the edge of a flash light and blinked it outside the living room window.

    Dad and I were in the kitchen and Elizabeth came in, all full of wide-eyed wonder.
    E: “We saw Rudolph!”
    D: “You did? Where?”
    E: “Outside the window.”
    D: “I’d better get my rifle then.”
    E: “Why?”
    D: “So I can make jerky.” (Dad made venison jerky and Elizabeth loved the stuff.)
    E: *glaring, hands on hips, 4 going on 40* “You are NOT making jerky out of Rudolph.”
    P: *falling off of chair trying not to laugh*

    And now I’ll leave you with my final thoughts on whether or not Santa exists…


  45. Katy Beth McKee says:

    I’m not sure when I stopped believing in Santa but I remember the year I re-believed. The Christmas that I was 12. My dad had been out of work for several months. I knew there wasn’t going to be much under the tree. I even said to my mom that if they could get anything they should get it for my sister who was only 7 that year. The “Santa” gifts were never wrapped and just appeared under the tree. So that Christmas morning I had opened the stocking on the end of the bed. (I think this was a keep the kids quiet for an extra hour of sleep for parent’s tricks.) It had the usually little gifts and trinkets. But when we got called out to the living room there was stuff under the tree including the Barbie House I had wanted for a couple of years. I remember turning to my parents saying “Wow, Santa is real.” To this day I don’t know who provided our Christmas that year. I suspect grandparents had a hand in it but at that moment boy did I believe.

    With my own kids we really didn’t push or dismiss the Santa myth. Since they were so spread out in age there was always someone older and wiser but they seemed to be the ones pushing the myth more with the younger ones. Part of the problem was we were never home Christmas morning because of family stuff so Santa had to come Christmas Eve while Dad took them for a walk.


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      Katy Beth, thanks for sharing this! What a wonderful, touching memory! I absolutely loved it. And as for your own kids, I say great way to improvise! Merry Christmas!


  46. Kathryn R. Blake says:

    Dinah, great post. It brought back some memories for me. Like Maren, I still believe in Santa or Father Christmas or Saint Nicholas because he represents the magic of the holiday, and I hope I never stop believing in magic. My best friend, when I was ten, told me Santa was a myth made up by our parents, and I insisted she was wrong. How could he not be real? He was the head elf at the North Pole. Surely she had to be mistaken. All right, maybe he wasn’t responsible for “all” the presents under the tree, but that didn’t mean he didn’t exist. So, I decided then and there that he did exist, and the people who denied him no longer believed in magic, if they ever believed in it to begin with.

    I understand there are very good reasons for not perpetrating legends, and I don’t fault anyone who chooses to deny the existence of mythical creatures, even though I wish I could restore the wondrous sparkle in their eyes that comes from believing in fantasies. Walt Disney built an empire on this concept, and the royalties earned from James Barrie’s Peter Pan has helped thousands of children at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. I still clap today when Peter asks the question if we still believe in fairies. I will not be the one who lets Tinkerbell die. Nor would I ever want to do anything that might destroy a child’s innocent belief in the magic of Santa Claus.

    One of my favorite bookmarks has a unicorn on it with the quote “Somethings have to be believed to be seen.” And I believe that. Wholeheartedly. The child in me refuses to accept anything less, no matter what my best friend said.


  47. catrouble says:

    Hey Dinah…I believed in Santa until about the age of 7 when some kids at school told my 6 year old brother the truth…when he asked my mom, she confirmed it and burst my bubble!

    My boys are 6 1/2 years apart in age so the oldest learned there was no Santa who lived at the North Pole when he was about 10 years old…thanks kids at school. I told him that although there was no physical Santa Claus who lived at the North Pole, that Christmas embodied the magic and spirit of giving and that’s what Santa Claus was all about. I explained that until kids got to be older like him and could understand that, we made it easy for them by just telling them about Santa. He became “Santa’s Helper” to keep the spirit of Santa alive for his little brother for several more years until…you guessed it…mean kids!

    Thanks for sharing your memories! πŸ˜€



  48. octoberwoman says:

    I don’t remember how old I was when I stopped believing in Santa Clause, and I’m ashamed to say I don’t remember how old my kids were when they stopped believing. But my sisters and I always got presents under the tree and in our stockings from Santa until we moved away from home. My girls are 20 and 23, and Santa still brings them presents and fills their stockings. This will be the first Christmas where only one of them still lives with me, the 20 year old has moved in with her boyfriend, but I already know Santa is still going to leave presents/stocking stuffers for her at my house. I’m not ready to stop playing Santa!


  49. Janey says:

    Quite similar to Delfonte we believed in Father Christmas and I currently have one child who still does and another who is hping keeping that alive for him as my oldest still remembers with sadness when he found out it was all a big story.
    We too have a little stocking of very small gifts left by our visitor but the main presents are given by us.
    I don’t think this is just me (but I may be wrong) but up until I read here I didn’t even know Father Christmas was married! Mrs Claus is not part of the story here at all! Is she just make believe to get people to behave?


  50. Tracey Horton says:

    We definitely did Santa and I think I believed until I was 11 or 12. Due to lack of money my other would tell us that Santa had to pay the elves so the toys weren’t free and she had to pay Santa for them. This way we would tone down our wants and I’m sure keep her tears at bay.

    We definitely did Santa and I am sure we went overboard some years unnecessarily. But if I had to do it again, I would probably do it again.

    We hace an older cousin who would call the kids on Christmas Eve as Santa and ask questions and he would update them on where he was in his travels. We would leave egg nog and Christmas cookies and one year we left him soup!!

    I would take a vegetable peeler and leave carrot shaving all over the porch and on the driveway and lawn. They loved running onto the porch in their pj’s and boots to see the mess the reindeer made. I wrote their notes from Santa with must left hand so they never guessed by writing. One year Santa are his cookies and took the baby Jesus from the manger and put him on the cookie plate and said “don’t forget about Jesus today!” It made a huge impression that year

    Fun to look back. Loving this!!


  51. pieclown says:

    I believed in Santa until the gift I got was accidentally shown. We had come back from getting presents and my grandpa brought in the sack. Grandma said wait until the kids go to bed. I saw the image through the bag.

    My son is 8 and believing in Santa, because we have been seeing the same Santa for pictures for 6 years. He is a clown friend. When my son ask about Santa in the future, plan on having watch The Christmas Carol and talk about the ghost or Christmas present.


  52. TL says:

    I did believe in Santa as a kid, but I figured out kind of early that it was all a myth. I was just too smart for my own good.

    My favorite Santa memory is associated with my Dad. He got me these toys that were only available at a restaurant as stocking stuffers. I can’t imagine how many times he eat there to get me the whole set, but he did. When I got them out of my stocking I remember asking him if Santa ate at the restaurant that sold the toys. πŸ™‚ I think my dad said that the elves ate there a lot. πŸ˜‰ I bought it, for the time being at least.


  53. Sherilyn says:

    I believed in Santa Claus until I was seven. We were about to move to S. Korea and I was afraid Santa wouldn’t come. My mother decided that was the time to let me in on the secret, swearing me to secrecy because of my little brother. Later that day, he totally ticked me off, arguing that Santa would bring him better presents than me. I accidentally blurted it right out! My butt got warmed (a dubious punishment, even then) and Mom and Dad spent some time repairing the damage. He was only four, so he was easy to convince. By the time we came back to the States, he’d figured it out on his own, mainly because Santa only existed on base; the big celebration in Korea was the Chinese New Year in February. It was all about dragons and fireworks; we both still secretly think it’s the superior holiday!

    We perpetuated Santa Claus with my kids. After the experience I shared yesterday, I believe in that which we call Santa Claus, the spirit of generosity, kindness, and love that truly is the best part of what it is to be human. When my kids asked me if I believed in Santa, I always explained him in terms of that year. They both keep Santa alive for their kids and have grown to be kind, generous people. Both my kids also had at least one experience where Santa presented them with their gifts, so their belief lasted longer than mine. They always left cookies, milk, and a shoebox of grass and carrots for the reindeer. Tara, they should have left whiskey; it would have made the milk more palatable!

    Dinah, thanks so much for this post! It has brought far more memories than I could share here. I’ve also loved sharing everyone else’s memories. Ana, you’re probably going to be tired of my saying thank you for this calendar, but I’m saying it again, anyway. This is being such a lovely experience and I love the community you’ve created!


  54. Ria says:

    Hi Ana, It is now 6:00pm and my siblings are settling down. Basically, we were successful, though it was a long and painful process. We paused a couple of times to pray for strength and guidance. We prepared a buffet so that we can discuss with little interruptions. We brought in a counselor to help. After many hours, my sister has agreed to move in with me. We gathered important papers today and tomorrow we are going back for clothes. It is so hard on her. Living together will be a change (i.e. another word for challenge, :-0) for both of us. Advent is a time of change – so what better way to celebrate the season, πŸ™‚


  55. nikkiflynn says:

    My own experience was a bit different. I believed in Santa until I was probably seven. I remember vividly being told that Santa was not real. It was devastating. I can remember being so overwhelmingly sad about it. I know this will sound melodramatic but on some level I stopped trusting my parents that day and don’t think my relationship with them was ever the same. I don’t blame my parents, I guess I was just a weird little kid.

    I wanted my children to have some “magic” of Christmas but because of my own experience I didn’t go with the whole “put the cookies out for the reindeer” she-bang. So I told them that Santa was a “spirit” that makes people do nice things for each other, that inspires us to buy gifts, etc. And since I actually believe that – I never had to tell my kids Santa wasn’t real because Santa is real.

    He just doesn’t come down the chimney.


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      Aw I love that! It helps so much more with the magic when you truly believe what you’re telling your children, don’t you agree?


  56. Marybeth says:

    I don’t remember if I believed as a child or not. I’m going to assume yes because my mom was big on Christmas. Our children believed. I solved the problem of wrapping paper. We purchased large bags (ones to wrap a bike) and we put their names on each of the bags. They left the bags on the couch and put out cookies and milk. They each chose their favorite cookie that they decorated and my husband and I would eat the cookies and he would drink the milk (hate the stuff). Sometimes they would leave carrots for the reindeer. Anyways, the present from Santa would be put in the bag, unwrapped and ready to play with. Presents that were wrapped and under the tree were from us. They could open their Santa present and their stocking gifts before breakfast, but everything else had to wait.

    Once the older kids found out the truth, they were “in on the secret.” And, they knew if they told, there would be no Santa gifts. LOL


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      Awesome idea–I like Santa just giving one gift instead of most of them! We might start doing that. They’re young enough still…


  57. Terry says:

    Hi Dinah

    Belief in Santa is a great topic.

    I believed in Santa as a child until, as many others have posted, an older child in the neighborhood told me that my parents were actually Santa. I was probably about 9 or 10 and I came home to my Mom in tears. I don’t remember exactly what she told me but I remember her getting me to understanding that although Santa wasn’t a real person the spirit of Santa and of Chistmas were real. It also helped that I had a younger brother who still believed. I felt a special bond with my parents in helping them keep up the idea of Santa for him.

    My daughters are my stepdaughters and I wasn’t a part of their lives until they were older. My husband said the math wiz oldest figured out that Santa wasn’t real at age 5 but the younger one had fights with her friends because she still believed that Santa was real at age 13. Yes, the 2 sisters are as different as night and day.

    Now I have grandchildren and I’m having a great time sharing with them. We decorate cookies on Christmas Eve to leave out for Santa and get carrots for the reindeer. The joy of whatching their faces light up on Christmas morning is something I wish will continue as long as possible.


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      Don’t you just love how the cycle continues? I love that you are teaching and passing these things down to your granddaughters! Wishing you (and them) a Merry Christmas this year!


  58. Ria says:

    And Yes, we were brought up believing in Santa and I taught it to my children. We still exchange presents from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Those gifts are always the ones they wanted most, πŸ™‚


  59. Blondie says:

    Today’s question: Did you believe in Santa as a child, and did you teach your children (if you have children) to believe in Santa? Why or why not?
    I stopped believing in Santa when I was about five. My older siblings got mad at me and told me the truth. Of course I believed everything they said, even if it wasn’t true. I love the idea of Santa Claus and my children all believed till about they were ten. I would tell the older ones “the longer you bekieve, the longer you receive”. This will be the first year that everyone knows the truth. I think that Santa adds to the magic of the holiday.
    What is your favorite memory related to Santa? (For me, the attraction has always been Mrs. Claus rather than Santa.
    At the local department store, my dad played Santa every year. Even though we knew the truth, it was fun to sit on his lap and talk to him.
    She bakes, she makes people happy, and…she brandishes a wooden spoon! What’s not to like? I don’t remember believing in Santa, but I do remember my parents telling me how I liked to count the number of Santas I saw each year.)

    and now an FYI: Tonight is actually the eve of St Nicholas Day. Around the world, St Nicolas is a Saint to be celebrated. Children leave their shoes outside the door, or hang their stockings on the door. In the morning, their shoes were filled with goodies.
    I like this celebration because we are actually teaching and telling our children the truth about a Patron Saint, similar to St Valentines day. Celebrating St. Nicholas on the 6th of December because then we can focus on Christmas by celebrating, the birth of Jesus.


  60. Michelle Willms (@willms_m) says:

    I did believe in Santa to the point that I thought Santa must surely get tired of all those cookies and all that milk, so I left him beer and tortilla chips (with salsa) under the tree. We do Santa with my children. I don’t know how I’ll ever break the truth to them since I try to be honest with them in all other ways, but I suppose I’ll worry about it when I must.


    • Dinah McLeod says:

      I agree, leave the worrying for later. πŸ˜‰ On another note, I love that you left something different! I am sure Santa greatly appreciated that! πŸ™‚


  61. Merna says:

    I think I believed in Santa as a child; I can’t really remember. But I do remember getting gifts with tags from Santa, so my parents did teach us about him. I am the 5th of 6 siblings, and my brother is 9 years older than me. I think I gave up believing in Santa pretty young, because of my older siblings, but I always enjoyed the Santa stories and movies on TV.

    My husband and I kind of let our children decide for themselves in a way…, we didn’t come right out and say Santa exists, but we didn’t deny it either. When one them asked Dad about it he said he believes in the “spirit of Santa”.

    In addition, I have taught my children the Christmas story of Jesus, and they have been participants in the church’s Christmas pageants, so I think we all agree that we like the idea of Santa, but we know he is a symbol of the season, and probably not a real person.

    We all enjoy the Christmas music, both religious, and secular. Right now my son is playing Dr. Elmo’s Twisted Christmas, and if you have never listened to this album, you should. Dr. Elmo is the one who wrote “Grandma got run over by a reindeer”, and he has a lot of other songs that are equally fun, like “Grandma’s spending Christmas with the Superstars”, and “Grandpa’s gonna sue the pants off of Santa”. We listen to lots of Christmas music, starting right around Thanksgiving, right up until New Year’s.


  62. Penelope says:

    I believed in Santa so completely as a child; just unquestioningly. It seemed perfectly plausible for a kindly, magical man to visit everyone on Christmas Eve and leave them presents. And after all, my parents had told me that was what happened – why shouldn’t I believe them?

    And I think that, even though I now know it was really my parents doing the Santa-ing, the emotional resonance of the experience is just as strong today as the feelings of joy and love were when I was a thrilled six-year-old opening my eyes on Christmas morning.

    Santa is real – just not in the physical way we imagine him to be as children. He symbolises positive human qualities in a negative world: the act of giving; the wonder of possibility; the capacity to hope, and dream.

    Long live Santa! πŸ™‚


    • Emily Tilton says:

      Oh, Penny. I couldn’t agree more. That’s the way I feel about all of the good abstractions people believe in. It’s a magic that’s even better than fantasy magic, because we get to do it, for real, for one another.


  63. Sheila says:

    I believed in Santa. Now it’s more the good feelings and actions he embodies that I believe in. I love that a local newspaper runs “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” on Christmas each year. I love reading that letter. It always brings a tear to my eye.


  64. Katie says:

    Hi Dinah, πŸ™‚ I really enjoyed the post! πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚

    I did believe in Santa as a child. Looking back, I think my mom always did such a great job. She took extra care to make the presentation just so. As a mom who has been there, I can appreciate the time and effort that she spent making Christmas morning so pretty and magical really. Not like we had tons and tons of things, but everything was wrapped and laid out so neatly. She was wonderful about it all- even through our college years she made an effort to do stockings and a few gifts. My younger sister and I, home from college would wait until she was done putting stuff out and then go around and check it all out. We’d shake boxes and guess what was in them. That is a favorite memory. Sadly, my sister passed away a few years ago of cancer, but I especially think of her each Christmas eve, shaking packages and laughing. That makes me smile. πŸ™‚

    Our four kids definitely had the Santa thing going. It was such a neat thing to believe in as a kid, that we carried that on for ours. There is nothing more wonderful than seeing the excitement in the eyes of the kids when they come down on Christmas morning. Now that they are teens and young adults, they still have some of that but mostly I miss those days. I am a huge movie and photo taker. I have pics and movies for every year. There is always the stair photo before the kids come down. They still allow me the pleasure of taking one. πŸ™‚

    I remember when our oldest was eleven, and in 6th grade, he still believed in Santa. After that Christmas we decided to break the news to him because we were afraid that he would get teased if he continued on. So we presented it to him and told him that he could help us to make things special for his other three siblings. He took the news well in that way. LOL!
    Whenever any of the kids would question Santa through the years, I would say, “I believe in the spirit of Christmas.” They all bought that line and kept on believing for some time. It was a truthful way of getting around the question. Mostly, it worked! πŸ˜€

    Not a memory that I have, but my parents tell the story of when I was probably around three, and we were in the city and there was a Santa on every corner. I was terrified of guys with beards. So it was always an adventure to take me out during the Christmas season. I survived, and even married a guy with a beard. Hey, I LOVE Rob’s beard! It is HOT when he kisses… just sayin’!!! Fun to think about! Thanks! Many hugs,

    ❀ Katie


  65. Dinah McLeod says:

    Lots of fun stuff in this post!! LOL. The beard thing is too funny. And I am truly sorry about your mother, Katie. I’m glad you have such wonderful memories. ❀


  66. Regan Nicole says:

    I believed in Santa as a child. However, I was a very inquisitive child and asked my mom many questions which she had great answers to…

    “Mom how does Santa get in the house if we don’t have a fireplace?”

    And my mom would describe how Santa had a master key to get in all apartments across the world.

    “Mom this Santa (at the mall) looks different from the other Santa last year.”

    And my mom would tell me how Santa hires men to impersonate him because he had too much to do and the other Santas would report back to him.

    I think my mom ran out of ideas and finally told me. lol I have no children yet…but when I do I plan to have them believe in Santa until they figure it out eventually.


  67. Michelle Palmer says:

    What a lovely post! I think I still believe in Santa… at least, if not the actual person, the spirit that Santa embodies. My girls believed all the way until way after their friends …and certainly way past when it was cool! The year I thought they might figure it out, I bought an elf hat and we left it hanging on a bush. It was unusually icy that year so when the girls discovered the hat, late in the day, it was easy to blame it on a slippery landing!!


  68. Roz says:

    I love this post Dinah, it made me smile and brought back some lovely memories. I love that you a keeping santa ‘alive’ for your children. Christmas certainly changed for me once I stopped believing.

    I’m not sure I ever truly believed … but I wanted to believe πŸ™‚ Our santa presents were delivered in a pillow case in our bedroom’s and I remember waking up super excited at the crack of dawn, quietly opening my pillow case, munching on some of the goodies inside and opening the presents santa had left. They were always ‘quiet’ presents … my parents were smart! Afterwards I would doze off again contented until I heard my brother’s stirring in their room and would then go and annoy them to see what santa had brought them. Delivering the presents in our rooms allowed my parents to sleep in until about 7am LoL

    It was my dear brother’s who busted the santa myth for me. Eventually they told me it wasn’t true. I remember running straight to Mum and ‘telling on them’ and asking her if it was true. Unfortunately she said it was 😦 I guess she must have decided I was old enough by then!



  69. Kitty says:

    well for me i still believe in santa claus. yes even at age 50 we can still believe. when i was a kid one year i was so naughty i got a switch and coals. it’s a good thing my mom didn’t know what they ment. lol


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