What to tell my daughter


Last Christmastime, we were doing very good financially and the kids got pretty much everything that they really wanted from “Santa” and Mom and Dad.

This year, our financial situation is not good at all, and the quantity of presents will be a lot less. I’ve tried to prepare my 7 yo daughter for this, by keeping her list smaller and no items over a certain amount of money, but she keeps saying, “Santa can do it, he doesn’t need money.” My son is not a problem. It was like pulling teeth just to get one thing that he wanted, and thank heavens, I can afford it.

What do I say??

Thank you for any suggestions!!! :slight_smile:

God bless,



Its time to tell her there is no santa.

Or, if you insist on the belief, find a pretend Santa, explain the situation and have Santa say that he can’t get her expensive things becuase he has to give to poor children in the world.


I would emphasize to her that Christmas is not about getting everything on our list and that’s not what Santa wants to do for her.

Then use what ever money you have to buy a lot of inexpensive things so she won’t notice a difference. Cheap things like art supplies, books etc. go a long way. Kids that age don’t notice that it’s a “cheap” gift and they still have a nice “pile” to open on christmas morning.

I’m in your same boat this year and that’s what I plan on doing. But luckily for me, the older two know who “santa” really is.


I had thought briefly of telling her the truth, but she’s so sensitive, and I don’t want to put her through it just yet.

I have been using Advent this year as a way of emphasizing true Christmas spirit and what the season is really about, so that may help.

Just yesterday, I was at the dollar store getting a couple of little gifts for a donation drive at her school and she was showing me quite a few things she wanted (a little doll with eyes that shut, stickers, etc.) So, you’re right, maybe just a little more inexpensive gifts and she’ll be just as happy.

I don’t want to make my daughter out to be some greedy little child, because the opposite is true, and she has so enjoyed the Giving Tree at Church and the donation drives at school. It’s really my fault. We went a little overboard last year, because it really was the first Christmas that we had more money than usual to spend on presents. So that is what is in her mind. I’m sure that I’m just worrying too much and she’ll be just as happy this Christmas as any other. Being with our families is always the best part for the kids, anyway, cause they don’t see our families much during the year.

Anyway, I thank you for the reassurance and ideas!

A very Merry Christmas to you!!

God bless,



LOL, I’m guilty of that too! DH and I have gone waaaaaaay overboard with past Christmas’. DH gets bonuses at the end of the year that made it possible and Christmas is the only time of the year our kids get anything. So, it’s very easy to go overboard. But this year, we have a big mortgage and other bills that we haven’t had in the past so we have to tone things down. My biggest fear is for the kids to be disappointed on Christmas day. They’re not greedy kids, but I can see how they would be disappointed. My biggest Christmas gift (DH and I don’t buy for eachother so I really don’t get much myself) has always been watching them in their excitement on Christmas morning.


I really like the idea of telling her that Santa is going to have to give her less so he can give more to the poorer kids in the world.:thumbsup: (I think I’ll use that when ds is old enough to know who Santa is.) I think this will work especially well since she seems to be so generous with church and school drives for others.

Merry Christmas!


We have been in your exact situation and I didn’t want to have to tell my younger kids about “Santa” either… so, I told them that Santa has new rules becuase right now so many kids in the world need gifts and his elves can only work so hard that we can’t ask for more than we really need because it’s not fair, so, that worked one year and after that I told them that even though Santa brings the gift mommy and daddy have to send the money for the elves to make the gift and that it is not free becuase everything in this world… even at the North Pole cost money and mommy and daddy can only afford so much this year and Santa wants them to be understanding about that and to know that he still loves them very much and is proud of them for understanding that mommy and daddy can’t afford expensive gifts… this worked well and we did this until they figured things out on their own… now we just have the youngest who doesn’t know that Santa is not real and we are very clearly telling him that Sants ONLY brings the stockings gifts and whatever fits in the sock is it… and the older kids just wink at me and say “yep, thats right”

I know it’s not easy but if it comes down to it the truth is better than a child being hurt and upset on Christmas day when they don’t get what they want… either way your going to have a upset kid, my son that is 8 has known for two years that Santa is not real and he is actually more happy and much more understanding of what mom and dad can afford, we as parents have got to remind our kids that it is not about the toys etc. it is about our Savior being born and it’s never too early to start.:slight_smile:


That was a thought I had also. Usually “Santa” gives about half of the presents and Mom and Dad give the one or two things that were at the very top of the list. This year, “Santa” is going to stuff the stocking and one of the presents and the rest will be from Mom and Dad. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise and will be a way to “phase Santa out” and replace him with the more wonderful parts of Christmas.

Now here’s another question: the thing that she wanted most was an MP3 player (I know she seems young, but she absolutely loves music and really wants to listen to “her” music in the car). At first, knowing how expensive they are, we considered that an impossibility. Then I ended up being able to get one for next to nothing in a package deal with my son’s present (who doesn’t like music much - he’s autistic). Is it okay to let her assume that it was still pretty expensive and therefore one of the reasons why there’s less??? I know, I know, I’m really overthinking all of this. I just adore my children beyond belief and as was said earlier, their enjoyment is my Christmas present.

Thank you all again for the ideas and encouragement. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who’s been in this boat.

God bless,



Yes… you have got a great idea!! :thumbsup:


I personally don’t really like this ‘santa’ thingy. This year, the parish that my mum goes to, had an event where ‘Santa’ will be visiting the houses and bringing ‘gift’ on 10th December. I discouraged my mum to register for my younger sister. I don’t know whether she registered or not.

I do feel that my mum shouldn’t spend a lot of money buying unnecessary stuff (read: toys) for my sister, why? Because looking back now, I wasted thousands of dollars buying toys, which I kinda regret now. It’s all because mum and dad were too busy working, so I was left alone most of the time. So learning from experience, I try to spend more time with my sister when I go back home during holidays and teach her to be more thankful to God for all the blessing that she receives. :slight_smile:


I don’t have any advice to offer, but I want to thank you for this thread. Because you have shown me the consequences of going “overboard”, I will try very hard to not ever do that with my daughter. This is her first Christmas, and hubby and I are already struggling with not buying her too much!

I want to emphasize to her from day one that Christmas is about Jesus, and everything else is just icing. But I also want her to have fun and experience the “magic” of Santa. I guess I have a few years to decide how to do that.

Just wanted to mention too that, as a kid, we only got ONE gift from Santa every year. If my parents were doing well finacially, they got us lots. If they weren’t, we had the santa gift and one or two small things from them. I think that helped to cut down on any disappointment because we didn’t ever think that santa had unlimited resources, lol.



The plan on there only being one present per year for my dd from Santa. Granted, she’s 2, so there isn’t any disappointment to worry about. Also, until she’s older, I don’t give her anything b/c everyone else does. Same with her birthday, I make her a cake and her dad and I throw the party, we don’t give her presents b/c others do.


With our son, we did debunk the myth of Santa by explaining the story of Saint Nicholas and that he is buried in southern Italy. I also stated that Xmas is about the birth of Jesus and that the presents come from him.
The next step was to explain that Jesus is Love and that baby Jesus does not show up at our door with presents. The way we receive the gifts is through the mystery of Love. My son is 10 years old and he accepts that answer just because he understand his religion quite well.
He is the one that a few weeks ago told me that I was the tooth fairy because the Church teachings are quite clear about non human beings.
He also learned from listening to the homilies that we always have to ask for what we want and to expect that we will be given what we need. When he makes a Xmas list I simply remind him that.


Let me tell you, had I known a few years ago that Santa would cause such consternation in my life, I would have thought twice about starting it all up. And as a lot of people who have given me advice here have shown, it’s maybe not such a bad idea for the presents to not be too many and for the love and true meaning of Christmas to be the most important part.

We got away with that for awhile, too. My daughter is the youngest in the family right now, so in her very early years, she was doted on pretty good by her aunts and uncles. It’s slacked off in the last couple of years, mostly due to the same financial strains it seems so many of us have.

That’s a beautiful way to explain everything to your children; I really liked it. You have a very intelligent little boy! :slight_smile:

God bless,



I never taught my three year old about Santa but all of a sudden she started talking about Santa bringing her gifts. We don’t have a tv so I guess she heard it from her grandparents or someone else. I really have no idea!! Anyway, I have told her that Santa is actually Saint Nick and then my husband told her the story of how Saint Nicholas helped all of the poor people. I think this would be great to tell your daughter.


I think that’s terrific. I have thought that telling a child that there’s a Santa Claus is a lie and how can the kids believe anything you say of a spiritual nature if you start out lying to them.
That’s just wrong in my opinion.


I think that’s terrific. I have thought that telling a child that there’s a Santa Claus is a lie and how can the kids believe anything you say of a spiritual nature if you start out lying to them.
That’s just wrong in my opinion

I really think what makes it so difficult is the culture around us. I never ever told my daughter that Santa brings her presents but she knew! Well, she just found out a few weeks ago. It was kind of funny cause we were in Wal Mart about 2 months ago and she saw Santa and did not know who he was. She said, " Look mommy, it’s my friend Snow White!" Ok, I know it is awful that she knows who Snow White is but not Santa!! Oh well. Anyway, I think anytime we can tie the spiritual in…actually not tie it is but make it dominate…it will benefit our children even more. We celebrated Saint Nicholas day for the first time by opening stockings and talking about Saint Nicholas. She loved it and we plan to do this every year.

That could be one way to break this to your daughter!! Celebrate Saint Nicholas day late! Explain at that time that Santa was named after him…or something to that affect.


Mine are all teens now, but this is how we handled it. Santa only ever filled stockings. All wrapped gifts came from people.
There were years that all they got from us were a stack of books from Salvation Army store. That’s reality. Some years we were the poor famil others helped out with Angel Tree, etc.

A humbling but important experience and fact of life. In some ways it is easier to give than receive…easier to be and see ourselves as the one in the place of abundance, but it is a good lesson in life to learn to be a graceful receiver, and the one who’s wants are not automatically filled.

It’s ok for even OUR kids to learn, I mean really learn, that Christmas in not all about receiving, not just by buying gifts for the “less fortunate” but by having some times when they have to accept being the “less fortunate”…at least materially. In those years…we come to understand how very fortunate we are in many, many ways, and come to learn that Christmas is more than Santa, more than gifts.

This may be a Christmas miracle in disguise. Stay open to it.



I’d like to thank everyone again for your wonderful suggestions and support. I’ve begun to incorporate a lot of it already.

I think I just might have hit a low yesterday, cause I do feel a lot better today. There’s not a doubt in my mind that once it’s Christmas morning, the list will be the farthest thing from her mind as she just enjoys the wonderful day.

Thank you!! :slight_smile:

God bless,


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