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When Children Stop Believing in Father Christmas


This year marks the first year we’ve not talked about writing a list for Father Christmas; it’s implicit that the list is for my husband and I. It’s also the first time my children won’t be receiving personalised letters from the North Pole. It’s rather bittersweet.

What age do they stop believing in Father Christmas?

In honesty, I’m sure my youngest two at 11 didn’t believe last year, and questions were raised way before that. I think they were hedging their bets. It’s also years since we visited Father Christmas at a grotto. However, last Christmas I kept up the pretence (my eldest had long known the truth and was a helpful accomplice). There were lists for Santa and a tray of goodies were left out on Christmas Eve. Then on Christmas Day most of the presents were from Father Christmas! This year, it’s the official goodbye even though we haven’t specifically discussed it.

I’m glad they’ve come to their own conclusions. It would have been awkward if they still believed in Father Christmas now that they’re at secondary school. However, it is yet another reminder that they’re growing up fast 😭.

Does it ruin the magic?

It’s sad that we’ll no longer be watching Father Christmas’ progress on Santa Tracker. We won’t be leaving out carrots for Rudolph and I’ll never again utter the immortal words: “has he been?”. However, there’s still plenty to be excited about. I can see that the kids love and appreciate what the festive season means and offers. They’ve even said that presents are only part of it. They enjoy being with family and extended family, having time together, playing games and sharing special food.

The run up to Christmas minus Father Christmas

The start of advent is a very exciting time for all of us. I don’t let anyone play Christmas music in the house before December 1st. That means everyone’s ecstatic when they can finally unleash the festive tunes. Then of course there’s the advent calendars (old favourites and new)! Starting every day with chocolate; what’s not to enjoy about that!? We also love our annual advent candle.

Whilst we do have an Elf on the Shelf, I’ve never subscribed to the whole narrative. Neither have I spent hours I don’t have agonising over 24 creative ideas for him. Cheerfully, my twins enjoy setting up elf for the rest of us to enjoy. We’ve never done the whole North Pole breakfast thing on the first of December. However, I do dress the table festively and make special hot chocolates. This year I’ve even bought them personalised mugs.

The Christmas books come out with the advent calendars. We’ll still be reading Santa is coming to Surrey and Santa is coming to London alongside other favourites including Mog’s Christmas, which is one of my eldest’s favourites despite being a mature 14!

We might not be visiting Santa in his grotto. However, we always do something special. We’ve been to National Trust Christmas events, seen a production of The Nutcracker and done tours of the London lights. This year, we’re going to Christmas at Kew, which will be wonderful.

The kids want to make a gingerbread house, and we generally do a lot more baking in December. I’m going to attempt ricciarelli for the first time.

I no longer have to provide explanations/answer awkward questions. For the first time, I won’t have to do different wrapping and labelling for Santa presents and our presents. What a relief! My husband won’t have to avoid Santa traps at 2am, and can now have his whisky earlier! I’m happy that us hardworking parents now get all the credit! On that note, I’ve noticed that the girls are being more conservative with their lists. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty on there but there isn’t quite the wild abandon of previous years. Plus they all now get a lot of joy from giving presents too!

Embracing the Christmas spirit

The children are looking forward to plenty of family time, and passing on the magic of Father Christmas to their young cousin; and that’s what it’s all about.

It’s a wonderful time even without the big man in red.

PS love some of the ideas here: How to tell your children Santa isn’t real


About Author

I’m Fran: wife, mother-of-three and freelance publicist. My love for communicating and writing mirrors my passion for trying to be the best mum I can be. I love good food & wine, Italian culture and football and have a keen interest in personal finance. I also blog over on Epsom & Ewell Families and Habyts, and write sporadically for a number of other sites.

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