Momvo: When Your Kids Ask About Santa


Every year around Christmas the only thing my older kids want to talk about is Santa.  They want to talk about what they’ll ask Santa for, and mostly, they want to ask questions about him. Lots and lots of questions. And each time a question comes my way, I’m faced with figuring out how creative I wanna get with my answers to all the questions I get this time of year.  I hear everything from “If there’s a real Santa in the North Pole, how come there are fake Santas at the mall and at parties?” to “How will Santa fit down our chimney? If he gets stuck, will we hear him cry for help?” and everything in between.

The hardest part for me to deal with was a situation that came up when Stella was writing her Christmas list. Instead of writing down toys that she had seen on TV or in stores, she was inventing toys, like a remote control Barbie with wings that flies around the room like a remote control plane. When I told her that didn’t exist, she insisted that in Santa’s workshop the elves can create any toy a child dreams up. Try getting out of that one!

When I tried to explain that at night, when the toy stores are closed, the elves sneak in and get all the toys the kids ask for she stopped me… “Mom! That’s very bad! Elves sneak? That’s naughty of them. You tell us it’s bad if we sneak into the cupboard for cookies, so the elves are naughty if they sneak toys!” Stella is the literal one of the bunch!

This situation with Stella reminded me of my own days of writing letters to Santa, asking him for all of the items I coveted most. I recently found these letters, and thought I’d share them.  I loved looking through these – so cool to see how my little mind worked when I was young enough to be asking Santa for gifts.  However, I never did get that real live white Persian kitten… Gonna have to check in with Santa about that one. 




We also now have the famous Elf on the Shelf. Liam and Stella named ours Chippy. Although Stella now says she’s bummed and wish he was called ‘Princess Butterfly’. Chippy has an eye on the kids and “reports” back to Santa. He moves around our kitchen every night, and the kids love finding his new hiding spot each morning.  Well, one night Chippy “forgot” to move and when they ran to see him in the morning, he was still in the same spot from the previous day.  Liam gasped and turned to me furious. “MOM!”, he exclaimed with his fists by his side. Oh no! What had I… I mean Chippy done? Was the gig up? “Yeah Monkey?” I sheepishly said… Then he said, “You know what’s going on here???” Me: “No. What?” Then he pointed at Chippy and said, “This guy’s gotten LAZY!” Ahhhhhh! Yes! Lazy! Phew. Dodged a bullet on that one.

So at this age, they are definitely keeping me on my Christmas toes. I realize now I have to choose my words and actions carefully. In a few years I’ll probably have to start dealing with the dreaded questions from my kids asking if Santa is real or fake, but luckily I’m not there yet.

What kinds of questions do your little ones ask you about Santa, and how do you answer them? I wanna hear from all of you mamas, whether your kids are big or small!




Photo Credit: Flickr
  • Ashley Taylor

    It is a tricky one, right?! We ran into a serious problem this year when a neighbor decided to do the WORST Christmas decor display ever. Needless to say, this led to LOTS of conversations about Santa…and tears!

  • Erin Whaling

    UGH…we had the same issue with our elf, Skip Friddle. There have been morning that the kids are very disappointed that Skip hasn’t moved. My excuse, the found that spot very comfy..and after a all that traveling to Santa everynight, he wants to come back hom to a comfy spot.

  • Alexa B

    Luckily my kids are still young enough that I haven’t gotten the questions. Our Elf is also called Chippy and I forgot to move him last night….again! Luckily my son just thinks he likes to watch the TV. I laughed at your list… mine would have looked almost identical. And we had an Apple 2e – i used to play ms. Pacman on it!!! Thanks for the memories!

  • Susana

    My son is 12 and still believes in Santa, which I get so many strange looks from parents when I tell them my son’s age.I believe that this is due to keeping Santa alive in me. Every year since my son turned 7, I started to cut back on how many presents Santa gave. So Now being 12, he gets one special gift from Santa. Next year the gifts will be from my hubby and I as Santa has new kids to give to. Also turning into a teenager, which I stated to him, is Santa’s cut-off age for presents. He’s bummed about it but at least he will never think that Santa is fake and Santa’s legacy will live on.

  • Brandi Paustian

    One year my Will kept asking for a Lightning McQueen vent cover so ole Santa had to get creative. I’m still not even sure where he dreamed such a thing up but he loved what Santa delivered. I wish now I had gone into the custom vent design business LOL. He has an Elf on the Shelf that he named Zilch when he was about 4. Just keep doing the moving from spot to spot NEVER start him doing tricks! That’s where I messed up! Trying to think new things up for him to do every night sure does get hard on my not very creative mind. LOL

  • Susan I

    This observation didn’t come from one of my own girls, but one of their friends informed me that Jewish children don’t believe in Santa. I replied that they do believe in Santa, he just doesn’t necessarily come to their house with presents. My youngest is 7 and is a little bit scared about the idea that Santa comes into the house at night while we are sleeping so I just reassure her that Santa is a good guy so she has nothing to be scared of. I have also made sure to set the bar low for santas gifts by telling the girls that the letters of what they want he just uses as a guideline and he doesn’t get them everything on the list and he might deviate from it. Between a December and January birthday for my two girls, plus the fact that we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas I have to give myself a bit of leeway!

  • Jeanne Tutt

    awwwww! it is a tough thing to get around with all the movies saying one thing or another about it! I let my sister and other siblings in law explain it to their kids. :)

  • katie kennedy

    My kids are 10 & 7. They tell me that some kids at school say their parents are Santa. I said do you know why? Because those kids don’t believe in Santa so their parents have to leave them presents. If you don’t believe, he won’t come. My little guy said, I’m gonna believe in him forever.

  • Ann Crook

    OMG!!! That first letter is cracking me up because we are the same age and I can remember asking for the exact same things!!!!! Of course, the Cabbage Patch Doll was my biggest thing….I was soo sad on xmas morning when I didn’t have one under the tree, but was fortunate to receive one from my favorite aunt later that day. I still have her actually…well, my daughter has her and my others now…but I will never forget that first one…her name was Emeline Claire:) I did also get Twirly Curls Barbie, plus the Flashdance album. Oh, how I remember cutting out the necks and arms of my sweatshirts!!!
    We had an Intellivision, but didn’t have those particular games. I seem to recall us playing Donkey Kong and Pitfall on it a lot….

  • Kim Gifford

    Our elf’s name is Chippy too! We love him. Today we got to hold him for 15 minutes to say good bye. He doesn’t need as much magic since he will go home with Santa tonight!

  • Heather Hickey

    Ahhh I remember how excited my sister was when she got her cabbage patch doll. She also got the Cabbage Patch horse for the doll. There was an unfortunate mishap with the CPD so she is in CPD heaven.

    That is a tough question in regards to Jewish kids & Santa. We run into that here because there are a lot of Muslim kids at school.

  • desi

    Wow! Stella’s request for her own made up toys is something else! That would be hard to explain that Santa cannot make those. My children (who are grown now) could never understand how they would get toys since we did not have a chimney. I explained to them that I would wait up and let Santa in the front door. They were ok on that one for a while! I miss those days. The fun and excitement was something we looked forward to all year. Merry Christmas!!!

  • srigli

    So I also forgot to move our Elf on the Shelf “Christmas Magic” and just like you, I walked down the stairs and saw at the same time my daughter did, that I had not moved him and thought to myself oh —-, think quick. She said, “Mom he didnt move last night”. I said, “Well maybe he has a owie and he wasnt able to fly”. My daughter was very worried and checked him all over and saw a little hole in his hand (where the tags were when we bought him) and so we left out a band-aid and some boo-boo juice. The next morning, he had the band-aid on the owie that she had spotted and he had the boo-boo juice open. It was a big hit with my daughter, and I dodged that one!!

  • Darren Martin

    Reading these letters to Santa had my smiling from ear to ear. LOVE them! So adorable. Love how polite you were in thanking Santa for hte previous years gifts. Thanks for sharing those with us. I wish I had a copy of the letter I sent to Santa when I was 13 (I didn’t believe in Santa but wanted my parents to know what I wanted). I asked for a GameBoy, the 1992 Beverly Hills 90210 Calendar and the Donna Martin poster from that you could order through Teen Beat. I got all of them :D Also that year in my stocking my parents got me an issue of Teen Beat that had a pin-up of you holding pink roses in it. I still have that issue. Great memories.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours Tori. Thanks for being so awesome!


  • Susan Morris

    I love those Christmas lists, and thanking Santa for your gifts from the previous year-what a sweet kid you were!

  • Denice Donovan

    My kids are 7 and 3. My son found some Christmas gifts in the back of my car. He came into the house with one and I was shocked. It figured, the one time I forgot to lock my car. I asked him what else he saw and he told me princess barbies. I thought great, that is what Santa was giving Olivia (my 3 year old). So I told my son that I returned all the presents and got new ones. Santa will still bring the barbies, and I plan to be relieved that I brought back the barbies because Santa would have been angry if I got her the same gift as Santa. I am sure it will work. I only have one more year or so of Joey believing in Santa and will do whatever I can to postpone that inevitable conversation for as long as I can.

  • Vicki FLIPZLES

    I love that you took the time to do every other letter in Green and Red :) and that you asked for intellivision games! We used to get new ones every Christmas — my favorite was Burger Time.

    I tell my older kiddos that are hearing things from friends and asking if Santa does exist that — Santa IS real — but he may not live in the north pole ;) and I am pretty sure he doesn’t have a white beard (at least at our house)

  • Lori Miller

    My daughter and I were tracking Santa tonight on Norad and she said that doesn’t look real, the reindeer don’t look real. I said well, it might just be the way the video cameras record. Maybe it is a special camera because you can’t record santa on a regular camera and maybe all of his magic and the fact that it helps him move super fast makes him look that way on camera. It’s hard sometimes to think on your toes!

  • Keri Przebienda

    My husband and I were just recalling how our now 14 year old son figured out that Santa was not real a few years ago but he exclaimed ” I know there must be a Santa because there is NO WAY you would ever buy us ALL those presents”. I always tell them ” you must believe ( in the magic of Santa) if you want to receive. One of the sweetest moments was my boys wrapping a present for me and insisted Santa left me the gift for being the best Mom.
    It was challenging to keep the truth about Santa living in a multi-cultural neighborhood with many children not celebrating Christmas. When asked I told them that Jesus was happy to share his birthday celebration with us and Santa was helping Jesus spread the cheer noting that some children share different beliefs and holidays with their families. This seemed to work for them.

  • Sarah Masloch

    Dear, Tori… I’m new here at your site. And at first.., Sorry i’m from Germany, so excuse my english.
    I’ll do my very best..;0)
    I know you only a short time and i heard about you by chance.( when the press wrote about your 4th
    Pregnancy) i have 4 kids and a lot of animals too, so sometimes i see a few parallels in our life, or rather its nice to see, that there are other crazy moms outthere..;0)
    I just have to tell you so much things, but here is not the right place, i think..
    So happy to get to know you..!
    My Problem is that my oldest daughter is 9, and the second 8 so they go to school and here to much things, about Santas ( here in Germany Weihnachtsmann and Christkind) “realitiy.”
    My kids are clever and they don’t ask me directly. They tell me storys about kids in school , which said, that the parents do all the Santa-Things.
    My answer is, that everyone has to decide in what he is believing. We respect the believe in god, and we aren’t religious. So when there are other kids who don’t want to believe in Santa.. It their decision
    And it works until now! But its harder and harder everyone time, to explain it to so clever kids , also just because er are have a honest and open relationship..:0/
    My littlest daughter is 5 and she wanted to know, how Santa is coming in our house..without the classic fireplace… Damn.. wherefrom he has a key?? A little bit creepy, when you are afraid of burglars..Universal Key was the answer..
    My slogan is, not to explain too much, because kids have wonderful explanations by themselves. And i hope, we can save the miracle a bit..
    But my question is.. Why ask my kids ME everytime the questions of life…?sometimes i want to lean back.. But of course i’m very happy that they are asking.. and perhaps it a mom-job..;0)
    Merry x-mas!! A lot of presents, a good meal, happy faces and hearts!!

    We did it all yesterday!!;0)
    Greetings from Germany!!!


  • Jessica Brockman

    We do a Christmas present exchange with my cousin and their kids… we decided this year instead of exchanging presents (they have 6 kids and I’m a single mom with 3) we would go to church and pick a name off of the tree and buy presents for a family that is having a hard time. My son who is 5 1/2, asked me why we need to buy presents for the kids because Santa will come and bring them presents.

    Well, on the fly, I told him that Mommies and Daddies actually have to pay Santa, and that I sent money to the North Pole every two weeks out of my paycheck. The money doesn’t go to the toys, but we all have to help Santa pay for reindeer food and help to pay the elves for working so hard at their jobs of making toys all year.

    He thought for a while, and then seemed to buy it.

  • Lemon Meringue

    Cute the red and green letter (and love the fact someone cared enough to save all of them!). We don’t have Santa over here, but we celebrate Saint Nicholas. Same kind of thing though: dressed up elderly man in red and white with an enormous white beard, taking care of the naughty and nice, bring gifts to the latter ones, via chimneys. I dreaded THE question for years and both my husband and I did some very academical investagations to find out what would be the best way to tell our eldest one, without breaking his heart. We postponed it year after year, but then, when we were in France for the summer, he told his dad, after a dip in the ocean, while warming up in the mediterranean sun: ‘Dad, you don’t have to worry, I know’. His dad: ‘eeer… what do you know?’ He: ‘The secret’. ‘Sorry son, what secret?’ ‘The one about Saint Nicholas! I know you and Mum put the gifts in the bag and from now on I’ll help you with it!’ Leaving us flabbergasted and way more relaxed about any future conversations with his younger siblings. Apparently he found out through his peers.The middle one is on the verge of ‘knowing’ right now! She asked when my stepdad crossdressed as a Subsidiary Saint, visiting the local school: ‘Why is Saint Nicholas wearing granddad’s old glasses?’
    Good luck with your bright offspring!

  • shannon evans

    My daughter is 8 and our elf Tommy has been with us since ally was 2. I have always been really good about hiding him when Christmas is over and he goes back to the north pole. Well this year I put the decorations away while she was at a friends and I put Tommy in my stocking then put the stocking my Xmas box. I had the tubs stacked by the stairs for my husband to carry up. I was cooking dinner and ally came in upset holding Tommy. ( Tommy was suppose to have went back to the north pole). I’m thinking busted now what am I going to come up with. She said mom u suffacted him. He was stuck in your stocking and couldn’t get out. Santa is probally looking for him. I was so happy I thought I was busted. Tommy got to stay for dinner and we read a book to him and the next morning he was gone. He left us a mess though. He made snow angels in flour on the kitchen table. So my tradition wasn’t ruined. Thank God. Its so much fun and I enjoy doing it with her.