Is santa real the truth

What should I tell my kids about Santa?


What should I tell my kids about Santa?

(Image credit: Alamy)

By Sophie Heizer, Commissioning Editor, Education, The Conversation14th December 2018

Four out of five experts surveyed said it's a poor idea to keep the theatre of Santa going this holiday.


This article originally appeared on The Conversation Australia, and is republished under a Creative Commons licence.

Ah yes, December. Christmas trees and decorations are popping up in shop windows, the weather is warming up, and the school holiday period looms. This may be exciting or distressing, depending on your relationship with your family.

Not everyone celebrates Christmas. But, for those who do, you may find yourself lying to your children during the holidays about jolly old Saint Nick. But is there real harm in lying to your children to prop up a popular myth? And don’t you deserve the credit for buying all the presents?

As adults we know Santa Claus isn’t real, but many of us remember the disappointing day we discovered this was the case. We asked five experts from various fields if you should lie to your children about Santa.

Four out of five experts said no

YES: Kelly Allen, Educational and Developmental Psychologist, Lecturer, University of Melbourne

People who engage in rituals around Santa and Christmas are literally memory-making with their children. They're marking distinct occasions in time to be remembered in the future in a way that helps aid trans-generational family traditions and shared social experiences. Christmas rituals offer an opportunity for social belonging, which builds our social support networks and may even make us feel less lonely.

Santa mythology for children may be important for executive functions like attention skills which provides good evidence for parents not be discouraged from stimulating their children's imagination.

Parents are required to make age-appropriate judgements about what information they share with their children all the time. Lying to your child about Santa at three is very different from lying to your child about Santa at thirty. There is an onus for parents to support their children to come to their own natural conclusions about Santa within their own time.

"Lying to your child about Santa at three is very different from lying to your child about Santa at thirty," says psychologist Kelly Allen (Credit: Alamy)

NO: Ameneh Shahaeian, Research Fellow in Developmental and Educational Psychology, Australian Catholic University

Adults should not lie to children about Santa. When a child asks the question as to whether Santa is real or not, they're already at a developmental stage to distinguish between reality and fictional characters. When children reach this developmental stage, it's not helpful if we lie to them about a fictional character such as Santa. Of course, we don’t need to sit down and discuss this with every child and at any age, but if the discussion comes up or if the child asks the question, then the correct answer is the best.

NO: Rebecca English, Lecturer in Education, Queensland University of Technology

You shouldn't lie about Santa because you are encouraging your children, usually with made-up proof, to believe a morally ambiguous lie. I'm not alone in being devastated learning of my parents' elaborate deceit about Santa, leaving me to wonder what other lies they had told.

Santa supposedly encourages imagination but, as noted in this article, and others, you’re really asking children to suspend criticality and believe a fiction. As this piece suggests, fantasy and imagination work because we choose to believe what we know isn't true. Far from promoting wonder, the Santa story encourages children to be consumers of others' ideas.

Finally, and there are so many other points I wish I had space to raise, it's used as a stick to foster obedience. Why defer your authority to an omniscient North-Poler, an interloping elf and colour changing baubles? You bought those presents; you should take the kudos!

NO: Peter Ellerton, Lecturer in Critical Thinking, Curriculum Director–UQ Critical Thinking Project, The University of Queensland

It's not ok to lie about Santa. We lie to our children about many things, often to cover unpleasantness: Rover has gone to doggy heaven, Mummy and Daddy weren't really fighting, I'm sure someone just took your toy by accident. Other times to perpetuate cultural myths: boys don't cry, sportspeople are good role models, anyone can succeed if they work hard. Most people treat Santa as one of these pleasing myths.

But consider what must follow from the Santa story. If only good children get presents, what does that say about poor families? What value judgments are being formed? What if children themselves are poor? How does this narrative impact their sense of self-worth? Children are far more alert to these implications that we give them credit for. Maybe it's ok to lie about some things, but give it up for Santa.

"Studies suggest children with rich fantasy lives may actually be better at identifying the boundaries between fantasy and reality," says educator David Zyngier (Credit: Alamy)

NO: David Zyngier, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education, Monash University

Research suggests it's bad practice to lie to children. Dr Justin Coulson, one of Australia's leading parenting experts, states – "If you want to do Santa that's fine, but let the kids know Santa was based on a historical figure who may or may not have done the things that we think he did".

On the other hand, research suggests children are able to differentiate fact from fiction from early childhood. Studies suggest children with rich fantasy lives may actually be better at identifying the boundaries between fantasy and reality.

But if parents want to, by all means they're entitled to do so. Any benefit from believing in Santa vanishes when children stop believing in him. Dr Coulson concludes – "The Santa myth is a wonderful lie, but the more we tell lies, the more our kids are going to find out we are deceitful".

Sophie Heizer is the commissioning editor for education at The Conversation Australia.

To comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Capital, please head over to our Facebook  page or message us on Twitter.

Is Santa Real? What to Tell Kids About Santa Claus

From decking the halls to trimming the tree, a lot of work goes into making your home feel magical for the holidays... and chances are, you don't receive any help from the North Pole with your gift shopping and other Christmas responsibilities. If you have little ones in your home, then you know that making all that Christmas magic look effortless can be a challenge. Inevitably, your children will start to question, "Is Santa real?" and when that time comes, you'll want to make sure both you and your kids are prepared for the answer.

"The discussion on Santa does not completely depend on a certain age or level of maturity of a child," Neha Navsaria, Ph.D., child psychologist and associate professor of psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine, tells Woman's Day. "It depends more on how a parent responds to their child's reaction — by acknowledging, accepting, and respecting their child’s feelings. " According to her, a child who feels heard is far more likely to feel emotionally safe and willing to learn. That said, the answer to whether or not Santa Claus is real may be more complicated than either of you realize.

So, is Santa Claus real?

Santa Claus is real, of course. The New York Sun even reported it back in 1897! Not to mention, Santa has his own hotline and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) even tracks his sleigh on Christmas Eve. But the current Santa Claus isn’t from the North Pole. According to an article published in the Washington Post, a man from Long Island legally changed his name to Santa Claus in 2012. After spending years playing the role of Santa at Macy's in New York City, Claus now continues to appear as Santa at community and private events. He told the Washington Post that legally changing his name made the experience a bit more enchanting. When a child asks if he's really Santa, he has the documentation to back it up.

Long before this Santa Claus, though, there was Saint Nicholas. According to historical records, Saint Nicholas was a monk born in the third century in a village called Patara, now part of modern-day Turkey. He was known for his kindness and good deeds, and he eventually became to be known as the protector of children and sailors. After his death, the legend and the magic of Saint Nicholas continued to spread throughout Europe. Eventually, Dutch, Swiss, and German immigrants moved to America and the tradition of Saint Nicholas evolved into the jolly, red-suited Santa Claus we know today.

How to answer questions about Santa Claus

If your kids are starting to ask questions about Santa, it’s time to think about how you address the topic

skynesher//Getty Images

Santa Claus is real in a sense, but if your kids are starting to ask questions about their Elf on the Shelf and the presents under the tree, then it might be time to address the topic head-on. The first step: Put yourself in their shoes. "Children may feel sad, confused, disappointed, or angry," Navsaria says. But no matter how they're feeling, Navsaria notes that you should acknowledge these emotions and let your child know that it is okay to feel that way. This probably won't be the last time your children will experience disillusionment, after all, so think of this conversation as an opportunity.

Navsaria suggests that you begin the conversation by asking your kids why they're beginning to think that Santa might not exist and what that means for them. "They may wonder how one moves forward in celebrating Christmas without a certain sense of magic," explains Navsaria. "However, once a parent has validated their child's emotion, they can show them how to continue the magic in new and different ways." Consider sharing your own experience of finding out about Santa Claus in order to connect with your child so they feel less alone in their sense of grief and loss.

      You can also use this conversation as an opportunity to think about what the story and tradition of Santa means to your family, as well as how you can all keep good feelings associated with him alive in the future.

      The (Wonderful) Truth About Santa by B. K. Gendron and Jessica Jansen

      The (Wonderful) Truth About Santa by B. K. Gendron and Jessica Jansen

      $13 at Books-a-Million

      For example, actress Kristen Bell spoke to Woman's Day in 2019 about how she broached the topic of Santa with her daughter. When her daughter started asking questions about Santa, Bell offered to speak honestly with her, then read her daughter a book called The (Wonderful) Truth About Santa, which teaches kids that anyone can be a Santa Claus by being kind and generous with others, especially during the holiday season.

      Keep in mind that, for young children, there can be a blurry line between magic and reality. As Navsaria points out, "the work of a young child is defined by make-believe and fantasy play." According to her, the story of Santa allows parents "to enter their little one's world in a developmentally appropriate way and teach children to exercise their skills in imagination." So if your kids want to keep on believing, let them. Christmas magic only lasts so long, and they should enjoy it while they can!

        And for older kids who are ready to face the truth, you can still focus on ways to keep the spirit of Santa going during your family holiday celebrations, like being generous with your time and money and spending time reflecting on your faith — because the magic of Christmastime is still very much real if you believe.

        Related Stories
        • So, How Old Is Santa Claus Exactly?
        • How to Track Santa Claus With Your Kids
        • Here's How to Call Santa Claus With Your Kids

        Jamie Ballard

        Contributing Writer

        Jamie Ballard (she/her) is a freelance writer and editor who covers news, lifestyle, and entertainment topics, including sex and relationships, TV, movies, books, health, pets, food and drinks, pop culture, shopping, and personal finance. She regularly contributes to Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, and YouGov, among other publications. When she’s not working, you can find her running, traveling, or scrolling TikTok. Follow her on Twitter.

        Corinne Sullivan

        Contributing Writer

        Corinne Sullivan is a digital writer and editor who covers a variety of beats, including lifestyle, entertainment, relationships, holidays and more. She is also the author of the 2018 novel Indecent.

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        Santa Flavia. Real Sicily.

        Santa Flavia is a small cozy town not far from Palermo. There is very little information about him on the Internet, and few people choose him as a place of rest. And this is the first plus of this place.

        I recommend my article "How to plan a holiday in Sicily"

        Life in Santa Flavia flows slowly and slowly

        Santa Flavia - real Sicily, the way it is. Life here is unhurried, it goes on as usual, there is no fuss and haste, that sometimes it seems that life here just stopped many, many years ago. Clothes are also dried on the streets here, the doors to the houses are not closed, you can easily look behind the curtain and see how they live - on the ground floor, right outside the door, there is a dining room - with a large table, a refrigerator and a couple of cabinets. At about 7-8 pm, a large Italian family gathers at the table for dinner. nine0003 At about 6 pm, the men of Sicily gather outside to play cards, chat, discuss the latest news

        A little earlier, before dinner, at 6 o'clock, all the men gather somewhere in the square and play cards, and the kids, mostly boys riding bicycles. Very often you can see cars with open windows, it is not clear what this is connected with. Either there is no crime at all, or the cars are so old that no one needs them. Or maybe the mafia is just watching everything? By the way, it is not customary to talk about the mafia in Sicily, it is believed that it has not existed for a long time . .. And the Sicilians are also offended when Sicily is associated only with the mafia, because this is not the only thing that makes Sicily - Sicily. nine0003

        From Palermo to Santa Flavia

        Getting from Palermo to Santa Flavia is easiest and cheapest by train. Trains run every hour (on weekends - once every two hours), a ticket costs 2.5 euros. Drive about 20-25 minutes. You need to get off at the S. Flavia-Solunto-Porticello station of the same name. Also, it is possible to get to Santa Flavia from the airport by an individual transfer, it is especially convenient if you, for example, are with children or a large company.

        Porticello Port

        Where to stay in Santa Flavia

        Since Santa Flavia is not the most touristy place in Sicily, the choice of accommodation here is small, and is represented mainly by guest houses and B&Bs, for example, B&B Sicilio, where we stayed and were completely satisfied. When we left for Catania for one night and settled there in a hotel that cost an order of magnitude more expensive, we could not wait to return to our B&B Sicilio. I will not describe in detail all the advantages of this place of residence, if someone is interested, you can write your question in the comments, I will be happy to answer. nine0003 Classic Sicilian "street"

        The price of accommodation in Santa Flavia starts from 38 euros per night for a double room. Most likely, for this price, breakfast will be included in the price, as well as free cancellation.

        In Santa Flavia there is only one hotel Domina Coral Bay Sicilia Zagarella 4 *, costing from 113 euros per night with breakfast. The disadvantage of this hotel is that it is geographically removed from the same Porticello embankment, where the main restaurants are located.

        Restaurants in Santa Flavia

        The choice of restaurants in Santa Flavia is basically normal - from cafes to expensive fish restaurants on the waterfront. Restaurants on the embankment are perhaps more oriented towards tourists, but locals, because. Almost no one knows English (yes, by the way, get together in Santa Flavia, learn Italian, or take a phrase book with you). Restaurants and cafes in the city are mostly visited only by locals. Let me tell you about some of the places we visited.

        I Piscaturi - a fish restaurant on the Porticello seafront. For some reason, we wanted to get into this restaurant after reading rave reviews on the Internet. One thing turned out to be true - the restaurant is expensive. But the food there was so tasteless! Edible, yes (although not everyone, it seemed that some stale fish marinated in oil and lemon was put in the salad to beat off this staleness), but tasteless! It was one of several places where they tried to deceive us. Namely: the price of beer in the bill was 2 times higher than stated in the menu. Minimal knowledge of Italian helped - we did not pay anything extra, but an unpleasant aftertaste and disappointment remained. nine0003 Seafood pasta at Gamberro Rosso

        Next door to this restaurant is another one, Gambero Rosso, a slightly cheaper restaurant. It also cheats (the first time we ordered a set menu, we were not informed of one or two dishes included in the price, the second time they tried to include a second salad in the bill), but the food here is very tasty, especially mussels, in any their manifestation is mussel soup, mussel salad, pasta with mussels and other seafood. It felt like the seafood was all fresh. But the service suffers - the waiters are rude, in general, customer focus is not their forte. nine0003

        Al Panfilo - an ordinary cafe for locals, the food is average, it's quite normal for a snack. The service also suffers, they didn’t get the change in the impudent. I didn’t want to swear, so I just left a bad review about them on tripadvisor.

        There is a separate article about Sicilian cuisine, read it, you will like it :)

        Pasta at Pub Babilonia tastes like homemade. Very tasty!

        And finally, Pub Babilonia in Santa Flavia, right next to the railway crossing. We came here for the first time by chance, after having traveled from Etna for 12 hours, and just took a few paninis after 11 pm. The manager talked to us, then we realized that most likely he was the chef there, because on our next visits we learned that he has his own vegetable farm, that he sells them on the market in Palermo, they are also used to prepare products in this establishment. Cheese and other products are also brought from his friend's farm. What surprised us the first time was that no one even tried to cheat us. nine0003 Different types of bruschetta: with tomatoes, with fish, and prosciutto. Babilonia Pub

        Naturally, the next day we went there for dinner. There was no item on the menu, offered a replacement not from the menu. The food was very tasty, made as if at home, and not in a restaurant. In addition, antipasti was brought to us for testing, and, surprisingly, they were not included in the bill. Of course, they were all rewarded for this.

        We dined with them for the third time, also tasted real farm ricotta, tried various bruschettas, and received a melon dessert as a compliment. In general, this institution is number one for us in Santa Flavia. I sincerely recommend it. nine0003

        How to get to Catania.

        Getting to Catania is basically possible. The first option is from Palermo. To do this, you need to get to Palermo by train for 2. 5 euros, and from Palermo either by bus or by train. The train goes about 3 hours. Ticket price from 13.5 euros. But you need to check the schedule. Especially not to stay in Palermo on the way back at night, when the trains to Santa Flavia no longer run. The second option is from Santa Flavia by train with a change in Termini Imerese. If the train is not late, the journey will also take about 3 hours, but if there is a delay, then get ready to spend several hours in Termini waiting for the next train, especially on weekends. Ticket price from 12.8 euros. nine0003

        I have already written about the prices in Sicily.

        Things to do in Santa Flavia.

        Kafara - the most beautiful beach in Santa Flavia County

        First, beaches . The beaches there are all public, wild, a lot of people gather on weekends. Of all the beaches, I recommend Kafara beach, or Spiaggia Mongerbino. It offers stunning views, but it's a long walk from the center of Santa Flavia. A little closer there is Sant'Elia beach, but it is quite small, and mostly suitable for kids, because. the sea is very shallow, and in order to swim normally, you need to swim away. Another beach we visited was on the way to Il Castello di Solanto, it's wild, it's not very easy to find it, and to be honest, I don't even remember what it's called and how to get to it))

        The S.Elia beach is crowded at the weekend

        Secondly, it is convenient to drive from Santa Flavia to Palermo , 25 minutes and you are in a major tourist city, with all the ensuing consequences - both positive and negative.

        Thirdly, you can order excursions, the guide will pick you up in Palermo, or by agreement in Santa Flavia.

        Fourth, from Santa Flavia you can visit the ruins of Solunt, they are located high on the mountain and represent the ruins of the Greco-Roman era. And from there you have a breathtaking view of the entire coast. More information about this and other attractions of the island can be found in the article "Attractions". nine0003 The ruins of the ancient city of Solunta

        Villa Palagoni - one of the most famous villas in Sicily

        Fifthly, from Santa Flavia you can walk to the large city of Bagheria, just walk along the streets, or visit the Villa Palagonia, which turns out to be very famous. It is also called the villa of monsters, and was built at the beginning of the 18th century. Since we did not go there, unfortunately, there is nothing to tell and show you to me.

        On this, perhaps, my story is over. I wish you bright travels! And if you have any questions, welcome benvenuti in the comments!) And, of course, subscribe to updates! nine0003

        And finally, a few more photos of Santa Flavia

        There are many farms and plantations in the Santa Flavia area, especially lemon ones. »Walking near the port of Porticello, you can see how a boat is being builtStreets of Santa FlaviaMany houses on the coast are well maintained and with lots of flowers

        "Secret Santa" from hate to love

        The closer the New Year, the more appropriate film premieres on the big screens of Khabarovsk. And this week, the South Koreans' long-standing desire to take revenge on Japanese war criminals for what they did during the Second World War, espionage passions and the love of a nurse for a disabled guy are pouring into the cinema this week. Everything in order in the traditional review of new cinema on Thursdays from the Khabarovsk Territory Today news agency.

        "Secret Santa", 12+, duration - 80 minutes. nine0092

        Comedy, Russia, dir.: Alexander Babaev.

        The approach of the New Year is reminded not only by already decorated Christmas trees near shopping centers and preparations in city squares, but also by large screens. A week ago, the show of the next part of "Yolok" started. This Thursday, the premiere of the cute domestic comedy "Secret Santa" with the star of "Real Boys" Zoya Berber in the title role. She plays Svetlana, who has been working for Maxim's company for many years. However, there is real hatred between them, and the boss cannot fire Svetlana. She is a very valuable employee. Meanwhile, Sveta still intends to arrange her personal life. She organizes a romantic celebration of the New Year for two to her colleague Stas, who is not indifferent to her. To get the invitation to the right place, she persuades the organizer of the Secret Santa game. But something goes wrong, and it’s not Stas who arrives for a romantic evening in a country estate, but the boss Maxim, hated by Svetlana ... nine0003

        "On the exhale", 16+, duration - 102 min.

        Drama, Russia, dir.: Rinat Makhmudov.

        This is the debut work of VGIK graduate Rinat Makhmudov. And, as critics who visited the pre-premiere show note, this first pancake did not come out lumpy. It turned out to be a very sincere picture, saturated with love for the characters. What is it about? The main character Sasha, who graduated from the orphanage, has difficulty social adaptation, she perceives the world as a hostile environment. Since childhood, the girl is used to defending her right to life and solving problems through fights - she spends all her free time in the basement in the ring for fights without rules. Despite the fighting character and hobbies, in the depths of his soul Sasha dreams of exactly the opposite: not to cripple people, but to heal them. But there is no money for studying in medical school, and they don’t take you to the hospital without education. Fate brings her to a disabled teenager, Kolya, whose mother is torn between her son, work at a fish factory and a police boyfriend and is trying to find a nurse for her son. This meeting radically changes the lives of all the heroes. nine0003

        "Shadow. Take Gordey”, 12+, duration – 90 min.

        Thriller, Russia, dir.: Ilya Kulikov, Anya Mirokhina.

        And another domestic premiere this week. He is an elusive spy who goes through the reports like "Gordey". He is a real shadow, a man with many faces that no one has ever seen. Catching the traitor Gordey is the main goal of Russian counterintelligence, because this mysterious man is elusive and steals state secrets. When information appears that Gordey is operating in Moscow right now and the national security of the country is under threat, a young counterintelligence officer Vadim comes on his trail. The stakes in the spy game are increasing every day, the main one is to catch Gordey before it's too late, or die... nine0003

        The trailer for the movie can be seen here link.

        "Remember", 18+, duration - 128 min.

        Drama, South Korea, dir.: Lee Il-hyun.

        Names are tattooed on the fingers of an 80-year-old man with Alzheimer's disease. These are the names of people whom he considers guilty of the death of his family during the Japanese occupation. Together with a young partner, he goes on a journey, the purpose of which is to kill the guilty one by one. nine0131

        "Big Gold Bar", 16+, duration - 132 min.

        Comedy, USA, dir.: Brian Pitsos.

        Samuel Liston is the protagonist of the black comedy film Big Gold Bar. He is an aspiring writer. One day, he receives an offer from forty-year-old Floyd Devereux, who is a very mysterious person and the father of two children. He wants Liston to act as the author of his future biography. Samuel decides to take the job, but writing the book soon turns into chaos... nine0003

        Movie trailer available here link.

        Learn more