Why Do Parents Lie About Santa? (7 Reasons Why)

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Isabelle O'Gallagher

Isabelle O'Gallagher is a personal development and relationship expert who has consulted for some of the biggest companies in America.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — or at least it should be! The run-up to Christmas can be fraught with tension and strain as family members struggle to find ways to show they care.

Parenting is a tricky balancing act as it is. That balancing act becomes even more challenging at Christmastime. That’s where Santa comes in. Here are seven reasons parents might feel compelled to tell a few fibs about old St Nick.

Why Do Parents Lie About Santa?

1. Too Young

Kids are too young to understand the reality of gift-giving, and it’s not always easy to articulate the concept of Santa Claus to a child.

Many children under five might not understand that parents can’t provide every single toy they ask for. They might also think that Santa will bring them an Xbox One or even an iPhone if they behave themselves.

Some parents lie about Santa to avoid the complexities of gift-giving.

2. Cultural

Parents lie about Santa because it’s a tradition that we expect and enjoy. We want to preserve our children’s innocence for as long as possible, and this is what helps create the magic of Christmas for kids.

We don’t want them to know about the commercialization and stress of the holidays (they are already aware at such a young age), so we do our best to keep them in the dark.

This feels like a natural extension of parenting, but some parents have done it to such an extreme that they feel compelled to go all out with the illusion.

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They may even feel guilty about their deceit, but it’s too late. The story has been retold so often that parents can’t go back on what they said without feeling like they have done something wrong. So parents continue with the fibs and hope for the best!

3. Critical Thinking Skills

One of the reasons why parents might feel forced into telling lies about Santa is that it helps children develop critical thinking skills. Children need to be able to question things and not take everything at face value.

With the proliferation of fake news on social media, it’s more important than ever that kids learn this skill early on. So if a child asks whether Santa is real, you can tell them he’s totally real — just not in the way they think he is.

This also helps children realize that their parents are honest, which allows them to become more centered as they grow up and question their beliefs.

The prospect of once-in-a-lifetime memories is too good to resist. Parents have their kids asking questions about Santa from an early age, and it’s a joyous occasion for parents to share in the magic with their children.

Many kids (and parents) enjoy the thrill of ‘Santa’s on his way!’ but it doesn’t last forever. Kids grow up and become cynical adults who want to know the truth behind that big white beard.

4. Prolong The Magic

Prolong The Magic

Kids believe in Santa for a short time. For some parents, this is the only time they can play make-believe with their children. It might not be as fun when your kids are older, but it’s still important now.

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While you’ll never be able to recreate the same magic of believing in Santa, prolonging that belief can go a long way towards providing that experience.

In fact, some kids might even feel tremendous disappointment if they found out Santa wasn’t real, as they would have had more time to believe.

So while it is hard to lie about Santa, delaying the truth can lead to happiness and excitement for your child.

5. Keep Up Appearances

We all want our kids to be happy, but sometimes that means telling a few fibs about Santa. There’s the idea that if we can keep the kids on the ‘nice’ list, we’ll end up with less fighting and more peace and joy.

Then there are the appearances of how Santa brings magic into kids’ lives. No doubt it’s difficult for parents to explain how Santa makes his way around the globe every year, delivering presents to millions of children in one night.

So that’s why we say he comes down the chimney or flies in through a window when it’s dark outside. To a kid, magic is just part of life.

6. Goodness Sake

Santa’s tale also teaches kids to be good. Children have to strive for goodness and rank well on Santa’s Naughty and Nice List; otherwise, there will be no presents come Christmas morning.

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It gives them an opportunity for selfless giving. When you convince your child to believe in Santa, they’ll have a desire not only to receive presents but to give them to other people, too.

This teaches children early on the importance of giving back, which will serve them well throughout life.

Doing so will help reinforce family values like generosity and gratitude. Santa may not be real, but he does have some redeeming qualities!

7. Christmas Is A Milestone

For many adults, Christmas is just a time for them to have fun. But for kids, it’s a hugely significant milestone.

Kids process so much of the world around them in their early years, and Christmas is the perfect time to escape into a world of make-believe and fun. Thus, it’s a milestone for children that Santa makes even better.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why parents think they know everything, why parents are so entitled, and why your mom is so strict.


Many parents choose to include Santa in their children’s lives for various reasons — there’s no right or wrong answer. How you celebrate Christmas is unique to you and your family.

So enjoy the time you have with your loved ones. Whether that includes Santa is entirely up to you!


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