When I told Cody my plans on breaking it to Addie that Santa isn’t real, he grew three inches taller and said “Don’t you dare.”

It turned into quite the discussion with valid arguments on both sides. In the end he made me promise I wouldn’t tell her the truth and if she did have questions I was to send her to him.

With a heavy sigh of defeat, I agreed.

After reading the few comments on the post about breaking the news to Addie and thinking about Cody’s side of the discussion — I was wrong. I still very much want her to believe in Santa, but (maybe you can understand this) I don’t want her to get made fun of. Maybe she has figured it out but won’t say anything because she too wants to hold on to her belief. Vivi on the other hand is all revved up about Jesus’ birthday, Christmas, and Santa. Trying to keep her enthusiasm under control has only been manageable because I have my precious little Addie who makes sure her little sister understands everything there is to know about how we do Christmas.

Cody said this may be the only year we get where they both truly believe.

He also said it’s one of the few remaining parts of childhood she has left.

One of the comments from my last post was from Jill, “…I genuinely hope that he never tells me that he doesn’t believe and that I’m still wrapping presents from Santa when he’s twenty-seven years old. I know…this is my issue and not his, but it’s the one place I just don’t want to see him grow up.”

That’s EXACTLY how I feel, but I figured if someone had to break the news to her it should be me, right?

Addie turns ten in less than two weeks and it’s such an overwhelming transition for everyone. Double digits. I’m more than halfway done raising her to legal adulthood. It’s gone by so fast, when I think I was only 19 when I got married my brain shuts down. She’s still so little in so many ways: she loves to snuggle, she still loves to play with toys, play pretend and play dress-up. But she’s so big, her feet are two sizes smaller than mine, she’s on a 9th grade reading level and is doing 6th grade math. She asks grown-up questions and is capable of telling jokes and puns that are actually funny.  The other day she when she was reunited with Vivi after school she took to caring for and playing with Vivi the way I used to watch grown-up girls play with her when she was a baby.

When I started this blog 8 years ago vs. today:




  1. My oldest daughter was 18 before i finally told her. I know that she knew but she let me believe that she didn’t. Since then she has totally take over Santa duties. She loves watching her younger sisters on Christmas morning. My youngest just found out last Christmas, but she asked me about it.

    Casey Reply:

    @Melissa, Oh good, so maybe I’ll never have to tell her? I like that plan.

  2. Please, please don’t tell her.
    I have a 13 year old who I know, in my heart-of-hearts, stopped believing a year or two ago. He never said anything to me though. Just a few weeks ago we were in the car together & I made a comment about “the truth”. My sweet kid burst into tears. I was shocked and caught off guard & said “wait….you knew this, right??” He answered “yes, but I never asked you and I never wanted you to tell me”. I cried all the way home along with him. He knew….but it was my job to keep the magic alive as long as he needed me to. And I blew it. I know we’ll both get over it, but that was definitely not one of my best parenting moments.

    Keep the magic alive. ??

    Casey Reply:

    @Kira, I won’t be telling her. That had to have been ROUGH on you.

    Frustrated Parent Reply:

    @Kira, I think it is ridiculous that parents LIE to their children about Santa to the point where their child will be in tears to learn the truth. I mean seriously. It’s a lie. I would not feed my kids that nonsense. There will be no Santa for my kids. Some children are really devastated to learn the truth. Why do that to them all for the parents enjoyment and to make them be good by saying “Santa won’t bring you anything”. SMH

  3. Please, please don’t tell her.
    I have a 13 year old who I know, in my heart-of-hearts, stopped believing a year or two ago. He never said anything to me though. Just a few weeks ago we were in the car together & I made a comment about “the truth”. My sweet kid burst into tears. I was shocked and caught off guard & said “wait….you knew this, right??” He answered “yes, but I never asked you and I never wanted you to tell me”. I cried all the way home along with him. He knew….but it was my job to keep the magic alive as long as he needed me to. And I blew it. I know we’ll both get over it, but that was definitely not one of my best parenting moments.

    Keep the magic alive. ??

  4. oh, I’m so glad you changed your mind on that. My oldest is nine and teetering on the edge. I totally understand what you mean about not wanting her to get made fun of. The other kids at school have been super awesome about it actually. I know some of them know but no one has breathed a word. I’d love one more magical Christmas.

    Casey Reply:

    @KateB, Maybe every kid wants to secretly believe, I know I still do.

  5. you probably won’t read this, and I’m totally not in the demographic that has any real knowledge on this (I’m 25) but I’ve been a follower since I was 18 maybe? But… I think you should saver this one last Christmas where she believes, even if she semi believes in her heart. Then when she start asking questions tell her. I remember when I figured it out and I was the oldest of 3. I still kept the Santa thing alive for my siblings.

    Casey Reply:

    @Emily, Hey, if you’re a human you have real knowledge. I’m thankful for comments like these that I didn’t/couldn’t think about past my own selfish worries and fears for her.

  6. My kids are 21, 16 and 12 in a couple of weeks (I think his birthday is right around A’s.) They have never told me they don’t believe, and they all still get a Santa gift. When my oldest was about 9 or 10 she announced Santa wasn’t real. My Mother-in-law quickly took her aside and discussed the spirit of Santa and mentioned that when you stopped believing, he stopped coming. When the next one asked if I thought Santa was real, I told her some people thought he was real, and some people just believed in the spirit of Santa, and she got to choose for herself (in a lot more words…lol). The baby has never said a word, but I have a feeling his sisters have talked to him about it,

    You are right that it’s fun to watch the older ones help with the Santa things, but not the Santa gifts. They enjoy seeing what Santa brings all three of them, not just themselves. I think helping to shop for Santa gifts might just make the holiday a bit less exciting for them.

    Casey Reply:

    @mamalang, The more I think about it, my dad still gives us Santa gifts, he even gives my step-mom Santa gifts every year. I always knew it was in his handwriting but I never really cared.

  7. Angie Rogers-Howell says:

    I’m with you on this. My 10 year old step son still believes and I want to tell him. He’s already saying some kids at school are telling him there is no Santa and he tells them they are wrong there is a Santa! I just don’t want him to get made fun of. But my husband and older kids call me a scrooge for wanting to tell him. So I’m letting him believe. Hopefully he’ll figure it out on his own soon. I’m not sure I really want a teenager who truly believes. That’s just asking to get stuffed in a locker when he goes to Jr. High 🙂

    Casey Reply:

    @Angie Rogers-Howell, Right? I mean, every kid is going to have their little embarrassing things, but hopefully they can own them and acknowledge they are what make them unique.

  8. I have a 9 and a half year old and I think this is her last year of believing. Her siblings (17,13) have been good about helping to keep the magic alive . Its so hard but I want it to last as long as possible.

    Casey Reply:

    @Jasmine, I get that now, after talking to Cody. I’m glad he had such a strong stance on it.

    Jasmine Reply:


    I hope you don’t think my comment was directed at you negatively, I didnot mean it that way at all. I was just commiserating with how hard it is to know what is the right thing. But my youngest is so determined to hang on to believing that Im all for it. I love reading your blog!

    Casey Reply:

    @Jasmine, Not at all! Cody and I were just raised so differently and it becomes very apparent when things like this come up. I’m thankful for the opinions and views of others so I can step outside of “what I (think I) know” and look at things from the perspective of our little girls.

  9. I’m glad you wrote this. Funny enough I agreed with your points on the last post. I contemplated spilling the beans for my 10 year old. However the thought made me sad and well…this post made me realize, it will never come from me. She’ll learn it, as will her brother, just as my oldest once did, but it never needs to come from me. Magic is okay in my world for as long as they want me to pretend.

    Casey Reply:

    @Issa, I think that’s part of the reason going into Christmas was so hard for me this year, because I knew THE conversation was going to happen at some point, now that I’m going to just keep going along like I have for the last 10 years? I feel so much better.

    Issa Reply:

    @Casey, I’m with you. I feel better just leaving it. My oldest flat out asked at six and really? It was sad to be forced to tell her. She plays along though.

    I realized yesterday that my father still sends me gifts labeled: from Santa.

  10. It’s very likely that she already knows and just plays along for your benefit. My just-turned-ten year old does that, for me. He likes the magic just like I do, and I love that he’s beginning to want to BE Santa instead of just believing. Christmas is magic on both sides.

    Casey Reply:

    @Kristen, If she is doing that for me, I love her even more than I even thought possible.

  11. My boys are 4 and 2. The oldest one is finally getting old enough to be excited about Santa. He’s been telling us about how much he wants to SEE Santa…see him when he comes to our house, and see him do magic. (Fun sleepless Christmas night ahead for us, no?) In the car I think I said something to him like ‘part of the fun of magic is that we believe in it even if we don’t get to see it.’ He then asked if Santa actually does magic, or if he only does it in our imagination. Oof. I wasn’t prepared for that from a 4 year old. I asked what he thinks, and he said ‘probably only in our imagination.’ I figured I’d leave it there and let him believe what he wants to believe for now. I got gifts from ‘Santa’ under the tree probably into my college years. I have no idea how I’ll handle it when it’s time, but just hope that I’ll know when that time comes and I’ll let him lead. You’re doing an awesome job–both with parenting and with Christmas–and I love hearing about the thought behind decisions like this 🙂

    Casey Reply:

    @sarah, Oh man, I’ve been knocked flat by a lot of questions from my kids and that one is deep. This is a fun age to do Christmas, they kind of get it, but they’re still a little flighty on the whole thing so you can pretty much tell them anything and they’ll believe you (see current post on freezer mail, because I’m really proud of it.)

  12. When my girls ask (they are 10 and 7) I just ask them if they believe. I was probably still getting gifts from Santa as a grown adult at my Mom’s house until I got married. I just always want them to have the joy, spirit, and excitement of Christmas…and to remember the true meaning of Christmas. My husband and I have always enjoyed sharing Christmas together, even before we had kids. I like the idea from another comment about the Spirit of Santa and how he doesn’t come if you don’t believe. My oldest struggles between growing up and being a kid. She got really upset and told me she didn’t want the Tooth Fairy to stop coming. I promised her that she wouldn’t and that is the plan. The Tooth Fairy will visit until her last tooth is out. I know she probably has or will start putting it all together. But I’m not sure if she’ll ask because I don’t know if she wants to know or not. Until then, we’ll both just keep on with traditions (and probably after that also). It’s hard, but I really do enjoy seeing them so excited about it all! Merry Christmas!!

    Casey Reply:

    @AmandaVW, This is such a perfect comment that sums up how I feel and how Addie feels as well (what is it about 10? Getting all grown up…stop it.) I let the excitement and magic slip for myself which is when things became way less enjoyable, I’m glad I got the sparkle back. 🙂

    AmandaVW Reply:

    @Casey, I think it helps to have a younger one around also. They are so excited about it, which keeps everyone in the spirit! Enjoy your holidays!

  13. Oh, Casey…I know this doesn’t matter one bit to you, but I’m so proud of you! There is so much bitter and ugly in the world. Encouraging (or even just allowing) our children to believe in magic and wonder and the spirit of something so much bigger than themselves is one of the great joys of parenthood (I think, anyway). Good on you, Mommy.

  14. Frustrated Parent says:

    I think it’s a stupid tradition. How can we expect our kids to be honest with us, when we lie to them? I want to tell my stepson but I leave it alone. My husband doesn’t do the Santa stuff either, we’d rather them trust us to tell the truth.


  1. […] I decided to go headfirst into this whole Santa thing, and you know what? I’m SO GLAD I DID. Last year Hallmark sent me a pack of Northpole Magic Mail but I didn’t do it for whatever overwhelming reason. Tonight I pulled it out as a test, I gave the wish list to Addie and asked her to fill it out for the entire family. […]