Santa Clues: How Far Will You Go to Keep the Big Lie Alive?

Santa Clues is a decorative set slated for store shelves this autumn (sorry, no photo yet).

Intended for ages 3 and up, the set includes foot prints, torn coat fabric, glasses, a button, a sleigh bell and a “naughty and nice” list.

That’s right, it’s “everything parents need to convince their children (and themselves) that Santa really was in their home.”

Oh, but is it everything? As long as we’re going to extreme lengths to create the perfect deception, let’s put a little more thought into it…

  1. Leave ash boot prints on the carpet.
  2. Rather than drink the milk left for Santa, spill it and leave a note of apology.
  3. Bake peanut butter cookies with your kids and leave the cookies for Santa. On Christmas morning, let your children find a spent EpiPen and a note from Santa explaining that he’s allergic to peanuts.
  4. Climb onto your roof and stomp around while jingling bells.
  5. Plant lots of dog poop on the roof.
  6. Wake your kids in excitement, rushing them to the window to see the neighbor you paid to dress as Santa and hang out on his roof by his chimney. (The neighbor then goes down the opposing side of his house out-of-view.)

If you do the whole neighbor-as-Santa thing right, you’ll probably brainwash your kid well into his early teens.

Can you think of any more amusing or realistic ways to deceive your kids?

And on a serious note, considering the Santa Clues product, how far are you willing to go? At what point does stirring your child’s imagination switch over to weaving a complex lie?

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17 Responses to “Santa Clues: How Far Will You Go to Keep the Big Lie Alive?”

  1. Nathan says:

    We’ve been telling our daughter since she was 2 (she’s 3 now) that Santa Claus is pretend but not to tell the other kids. We tell her everyone pretending he is real is part of the game.

    Neither my wife nor I ever remember believing in Santa Claus, and dreaded having our daughter feel so betrayed when she figured it out.

    March 28th, 2008 at 6:55 am

  2. Summer says:

    We put out magical reindeer food this past year (a mixture of oatmeal and sparkles). We went outside before bedtime and sprinkled it over the lawn together with our daughter. In the morning when Santa came she said, “Wow I can’t believe the magical reindeer food worked!” We also did the milk and cookies and fake snow. Also we take some presents out of their boxes because Santa has a toy shop… he doesn’t package everything in boxes.

    On another note… I always feel bad knowing one day we will have to tell her the truth. When my brother was a kid and he found out that Santa was not real he got really upset and told my mom and dad, “Well if Santa’s not real then is Jesus not real either?” My parents felt so bad.

    I say its all in good fun … let kids be kids… don’t make them face reality till they grow up. My husband (Mr. Holiday) still believes in Santa and he turns 30 this year! Haha!

    March 28th, 2008 at 7:10 am

  3. Erica says:

    We’re doing the Santa thing, but if she ever asks us about it we’ll tell her the truth. We’ll do the milk and cookies, but we’re not putting out reindeer poo, “left behind” Santa stuff, or doing much else to make it more elaborate. For some reason we decided not to do the Easter Bunny, so we’ll have to tell her not to be a spoiler when she’s old enough to understand what the heck that is. We’ll still do the egg hunting and all that, but without magical bunnies sneaking around the yard. Part of the reason is what Summer said; we don’t want our kids to feel betrayed, or that everything we ever told her (Jesus included) is suspect. But we also don’t want to be one of those families with kids who feel totally bored on the holidays. Although we’re firm believers in Jesus and that’s what we’re celebrating at Christmas and Easter, I always felt sad for my friends whose parents wouldn’t let them do any of the fun holiday stuff that comes with those days “because that’s not what Christmas (or Easter) is about!”. Gosh darnit, let your kids have the same fun as the other kids, just with more meaning behind it! That’s what I think…

    March 28th, 2008 at 8:54 am

  4. Paul says:

    My daughter resolved this issue for us long ago, before we ever got around to thinking about out. Very early (before age 2) she started labeling pretend things as “not real”, for instance toys and bears and even live characters in suits (Big Bird, Elmo ChuckE Cheese, etc). It never seemed to interfere with her being a kid and enjoying pretend play. She loves pretend play and if I get caught up in how “real” she is treating them she corrects me (like if I tell her when she tucks a bear in with the blanket over its mouth) she says “it’s OK since it’s not real, but for a real bear I would only cover up to the neck”). I don’t get into the issue of why she is thinking about playing with a “real bear” though!!!! :-)

    Now at 3-1/2 I guess we need to address the issue of how she will interact with other children who don’t get the difference between real and fake. Maybe we can somehow tie it in with lessons about good manners which we have talking about a lot lately. I’m not looking forward to figuring out how to explain to her that it’s polite to keep her friends in the dark about things that she knows to be untrue, but we’ll need to find the right line to draw and somehow explain it. It’s true that it wouldn’t be polite to burst the bubble (especially rude to the other parents) but it might be a tough concept for our daughter when we start teaching examples of when to deliberately tell something that’s not true, without it being a game that both sides are in on.

    March 28th, 2008 at 8:55 am

  5. JMo says:

    LOL – I love the epipen idea!!!

    There is no Santa or Easter Bunny at our house, but gifts from Mom & Dad.

    Hmmmm, I hadn’t thought about this, but I suppose this extends to the tooth fairy as well?

    March 28th, 2008 at 10:20 am

  6. Cindi says:

    We did mostly traditional Santa ideas. We had the fake key for Santa, left out the cookies and milk
    and left carrots for the hungry reindeer! of course, Santa left a note of thanks for the refreshments. We also gave some presents from Mom and Dad, then others from Santa. My youngest son believed or wanted to believe for a very long time. His older brother never told him. Thanks,Cindi

    March 28th, 2008 at 10:28 am

  7. lisa says:

    My husband dresses up as Santa for the huge (70+people) family Christmas party, so the entire clan supports the Santa myth, and I suppose we’ll go along with it until my daughter (17 mo) catches on. It is a pretty big production, with secret hidden gifts from the parents, “magical” knowledge of the kid’s achievements from the past year (“I heard you had a really good T-Ball game…”) etc.

    I remember believing, then feeling very smart when I figured out it had been my parents and grandparents all along. On the other hand, my friend’s parents told her the truth when she was two, and she’s still angry about that. She feels like they took away a part of her childhood. I guess you can’t win either way.

    March 28th, 2008 at 11:54 am

  8. Ashley says:

    My two year old is terrified of Santa, so we will see if that holds true next year. I never felt betrayed when I found out Santa was make believe so I’m sure I will continue my childhood traditions with my children. As an older child, I knew that if I ever acknowledged that Santa was really my parents I wouldn’t get presents from him anymore. While Santa doesn’t give me presents anymore, I’ve never actually said to my parents that I know he isn’t “real.” Silly, but it seems like it would take away some of the magic from my childhood memories.

    March 28th, 2008 at 1:18 pm

  9. Alan says:

    Don’t make it a lie, make it a game. We explained to our daughter from the start that Santa was make-believe, and what fun we’ve had with it! It’s now gotten to the point where she doesn’t believe us–she thinks Santa’s real even thought we’ve told her that its make-believe. Our daughter (now almost 8) has turned out to be as whimsical and imaginative as can be, even though she’s past the age where most kids stop believing in Santa. We talk about the factual basis for Santa in St. Nicholas, and about the truth of the Christmas story, but Santa’s all fun and games.

    March 29th, 2008 at 8:22 am

  10. LiteralDan says:

    This idea has bothered me for a long time– I would never get this elaborate, because it’s too indefensible once the kid finds out.

    I like Nathan’s idea, but it’s too late for me now. I plan to explain to my son (about 4 now and very inquisitive/logical) that Santa IS real, but only metaphorically… or something.

    Oh man, I’m anxious about it all over again– gotta starting planning specifically!

    March 29th, 2008 at 11:24 am

  11. Sara says:

    I think that when kids are ready, they will stop believing, no matter how much “evidence” we give them. I remember when I was about 7 or 8 and I tricked my mom into admitting Santa wasn’t real. I didn’t feel cheated, I felt smart for figuring it out. I also remember my grandfather, who would come to visit every Christmas, really being the one to perpetuate the Santa myth. At some point on Christmas Eve, he would get really still and quiet and say “Did you hear that? Did you hear the sleigh bells?” Just wanting to hear them was enough to convince my brother and I that they were there. Well past the time we stopped believing in Santa, Grandpa would still try to convince us that there were sleigh bells out there, or that the reindeer on the roof woke him up.

    These are such wonderful warm memories for he, and I want my kids to have the same kind of memories from their childhood.

    March 31st, 2008 at 11:40 am

  12. Kelly says:

    Two Christmas’s ago my Dad dressed as Santa and went over to my brothers house to put presents under the tree. My brother woke his then 5 year old son to peek on Santa. Come this Christmas that boy not only was 100% sure there was a Santa he was completely afraid to not be in bed on Christmas Eve. My sister -in-law is pretty sure that will buy her at least a couple more Christmas’s

    The subject of weather or not there is a Santa\Easter Bunny came up with my nephew at Easter. Apparently the talk has started at school that they don’t exist. I looked him straight in the eye and said to him, “What do you think?” He said, “They’re real.” So I told him the only thing that matters is what he believes.

    April 1st, 2008 at 10:02 am

  13. Shari says:

    Its all in FUN! Its like a fun little joke. Where is your sense of humor and fun?? You see how long you can keep it going and kids try to figure it out at the same time not wanting to. My 5 yr old looks at the Santa thing very skeptically but plays along with her crazy parents anyway – grinning the whole time. I’ve never met anyone who is emotionally scarred by the Santa lie. In fact, as an adult, its a great source of stories and laughter at the lengths my parents went to. We also use it to teach her about the Spirit of Santa which is all about giving. In my house – if you not believe, you don’t receive. I still believe in the Spirit of Santa.

    December 19th, 2008 at 9:16 am

  14. Hyla says:

    We do footprints with magical North pole snow (baby powder)

    July 4th, 2009 at 3:07 pm

  15. shanti says:

    my mom tell me that ever chrimas eve santa clues is real and he do come in the nigh when we are sleeping and i all ways belive her

    December 17th, 2009 at 7:38 pm

  16. shanti says:

    she make me mad went she tell me that and santa cluse is not real am 12 now

    December 17th, 2009 at 7:41 pm

  17. Eddie says:

    My bedroom was at the end of the hallway from the stairway. Every night of the year, my mother would leave one of the hallway lights on in case I needed to use the bathroom or wanted water.

    Christmas Eve of my fifth year, I was as always having trouble sleeping and every little sound I heard I would wonder if that was Santa. I was worried that if he knew i was awake, I’d miss out on the presents. Suddenly a shadow appeared on the wall outside my door and I saw the familiar shape of Santa and his hat with the cotton ball at the end! I turned over and forced my self to pretend sleep, a little anxious about my gift situation. Had I closed my eyes in time?

    I did not share that story for many years, originally because I was fearful Santa might hear about it, if I spoke it out loud and then later I just forgot about the situation when I learned the truth.

    Sometime in my teens I remembered to relate the story to my family about how I imagined Santa’s shadow in the hallway and marveled at how creative a child’s imagination can be. My mother and my aunt began to crack up laughing. It turns out I DID really see a shadow, but it was of my heavyset Aunt coming down the hall to see if I was still awake so they can start placing the presents under the tree. The “cotton ball hat” shadow was actually her hair bun come partially done from her extra long hair and was bobbing as she moved.

    I hope you enjoyed my memory. Merry Christmas to you all!

    December 24th, 2009 at 8:17 pm