Is telling your kids Santa exists a mortal sin?

Just thinking about this. In a few years I’ll start telling my daughter that a fat man in a red suit came in our house on Christmas Eve and left all the presents that are under the tree.

  1. This will obviously be a blatant lie

  2. I will be telling this like knowingly (even premeditatively)

  3. I will go to great lengths (long explanations and cookie eating) to maintain this lie.

  4. I will never feel any remorse or regret for telling this lie

  5. I will be telling this lie specifically because it will make me happy to do so.

Now if this was anything other than Santa Clause, I would say this seems like a mortal sin, and one I couldn’t even receive absolution for, because I wouldn’t be penitent in the slightest way. The church doesn’t consider innocent lies to children mortal sins does it?


The old Ask an Apologist section dealt directly with this question. I believe it was Michelle Arnold. If you do a search on the main Catholic Answers page you may be able to find it, but in case you can’t the general idea was that no, it’s not a sin. Santa is a legend (though obviously based on a great saint) devised for the entertainment of children, not a lie meant to deceive them.


You might suffer from scuples. I´d advice you to take this question and other worries you might have to the attention of your pastor. He probably knows your situation better than any of us here online.


I have also worried about this. My concern is when my daughter finds out that Santa doesn’t exist what will she think of the more important things I tell her, about God, will she think they are just tall stories too? She has already asked me once “is Jesus just pretend?”


When your 3 year old asks you to give a bite of cookie to the stuffed bear, and you play along, is that a lie? Play pretend fantasy with kids is not a lie, if you insist to your 9 year old that Santa brings presents, that would be lying.

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What? Are you saying that Santa isn’t real? Thanks for the spoiler alert!


It’s called a folk tale.
Every culture has its folk tales.
Be at peace




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WE always knew it wasn’t Sant that it was our parents who gave the gifts but it was still a lot of fun being surprised and getting to open gifts and all. They were always kept hidden and it was a really anticipated thing to open them. I’m glad we didn’t do the Santa thing. I steered as far from the Santa thing as I could with our boys. Just didn’t seem the thing to do.

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Santa is overated. The primary focus is the presents so as long as those are there, I don’t see how anyone could care about whether Santa did it or not. Chances are that some kid will spoil it for her anyways at school or something.

We celebrated Saint Nicholas Day. I always knew it was my parents filling up the shoes. :blush:

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no because St.Nicholas is real and Santa clause is probably from a kid mispronouncing saint Nicholas

We never taught our son (age 12) that Santa Claus exists as a real person who lives at the North Pole and brings presents on Christmas. We follow the Polish custom of St Nicholas (Święty Mikołaj) and taught him that he is a “real” saint in heaven. He also knows the legend of Ded Moroz (Дед Мороз — Grandfather Frost) from a figurine that we set out at Christmas. Our son has never been told any lies, venial though they might be, about Santa Claus.

We also have an “Elf on the Shelf” that my son hides around the house and exclaims “how did he get there?”, and we put up a Hanukkah menorah. Both of those are far more a “thing” in our house than Santa Claus.

So you are not going to introduce the real Saint Nicholas the Bishop of Myra (feast day December 6) that gave money for sisters without enough money for a dowry so they could get married? Saint Nicholas was present at the Council of Nicaea.

Santa Clause is actually an anglicized form of the Dutch for Saint Nicholas.

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