Idiot’s Guide to Bullshitting Your Kids About Santa at Christmas

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Ho! Ho! Ho! ‘Tis the season to be full of shit…

The joy of Christmas when you are a parent is that you are completely free to gleefully bullshit your way through the entire thing. It’s one of the rare instances where adults are actually rewarded for NOT telling the truth, and are instead encouraged to deceive our sweet, trusting babies in the most ridiculous and outlandish ways.

When our kids are young this poses no challenge whatsoever, but as they get older you will need to start bringing your bullshit A-game. Successfully lying about Santa will require an intimate working knowledge of quantum physics, theology, aeronautical engineering, animal husbandry, mass production, warehousing and supply chain logistics.

It’s not for the faint-hearted. Here are some of the questions you will need to prepare yourself for:

Q: How does Santa make all those presents?

This is a tough one because you will need to pre-empt several curly follow-up questions from any particularly precocious children:

  • Where does he source his raw materials?
  • Are they Fair Trade Certified?
  • Who handles production-line assembly?
  • Where does he store his inventory?
  • Are the elves required to have current forklift licenses?

And so on.

Accordingly, you will need to speak fluent bullshit in mass production, warehousing and supply chain logistics. Unless you have extensive on-the-job experience or tertiary qualifications in the relevant disciplines you are strongly encouraged to say “It’s magic”. “Magic” is the magic-bullet that will shut down even the most astute lines of questioning. Because magic.

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Q: How can Santa deliver presents to the whole world in one night?

The brightest young minds will poke holes in this flimsy excuse for a Santa myth without even breaking a sweat. They know 17 billion presents can’t fit on one tiny sleigh and that 24 hours is a totally bullshit time frame. They will interrogate you about entry points (particularly if your house is not in possession of a chimney) and frankly, they know you are taking the piss with that crap about the flying reindeers.

This one will require a complicated tapestry of utter bullshit that takes in aeronautical engineering, quantum physics and the theoretical existence of cosmic wormholes as they relate to time travel. It’s a tough ask, and it’s convenient to remember the universal fallback position if you start to detect any disbelief: “Something something, magic reindeers. Something something, magic sleigh”.

If all else fails, an impromptu karaoke version of “Jingle Bells” should do the trick as you hand out the rest of the Advent calendar chocolate in one hit. “Hey kids – SUGAR BINGE!”

Q: Is Santa Claus actually Jesus Christ?

The only people who get this question are parents like me, who have monumentally failed to equip their children with even a basic understanding of the Judeo-Christian spirituality that informs a significant number of our cultural institutions. It is shameful and embarrassing – do not be that person.

This one is easy to answer at least: “No, son. Santa and Jesus Christ are NOT the same person. And your mother is an IDIOT”.

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Q: How does Santa know if I have been “naughty” or “nice”?

You have three options when answering this question, and they are all kind of creepy:

OPTION 1: Santa has elf informants everywhere

You know those ubiquitous “Elf on the Shelf” photos that saturate your social media in December? Whilst they may be incredibly irritating, they can also be unexpectedly helpful. If your kids start questioning the “Naughty or Nice” principle, you can tell them that squillions of tiny elves are watching them around the clock and reporting their every movement back to Santa. It’s the perfect lie, because you can show them your Facebook feed if they don’t believe you. Nothing like a bit of tinfoil hat paranoia to make things more festive. 

OPTION 2: Santa relies on from regular intel from Mummy and Daddy  

Sorry kids, Mummy and Daddy are rat-faced traitors who will sell you out for three blissful weeks of good behaviour in the lead up to Christmas. I mean sure, the fragile trust that your children have in you will be totally shattered forever, but it’s the only time of year when one perfectly-timed threat will ensure 100% compliance.

“Do you want anything from SANTA this year!?”


“DO YOU!?”

Because really, what else do you have left when you finally break down and lose your shit in the middle of the Lego aisle at Target? It’s certainly not your dignity.

OPTION 3: Santa is omniscient and sees everything 

If you go down this path you’ll need to know that your kids might get Santa confused with God, like my theologically-challenged five year old. This is a Level 5 Difficulty answer, because you need to convince your children that there is not just one – but two – totally omniscient yet entirely invisible forces that humankind is powerless to explain. “Errr, and by the way one of them wears a red suit and has flying reindeer. It’s totes legit”.

You may also look like the worst parent ever when your kid starts Scripture and they try to convince the teacher that “Santa is the boss of the world” (I may or may not be using a direct quote from my actual child here). 

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Q: Are shopping mall Santas the REAL Santa? 

This is a common question. There are a plethora of suitable responses, such as “Mall Santas are Real Santa’s friends who are just helping out”; OR you can distract them while screaming “HEY! Look at that SHINY POINTLESS THING over there!” and forcibly dragging them across the mall by the scruff of their overly-curious little necks.

Those of you who prefer to inject regular doses of gritty reality into their parenting might like to try this one:

“No, son. That’s not the real Santa. That’s just a whiskey-drunk ex-felon who wants to make some extra pocket money at Christmas. How do I know this? Because he has the dead eyes of a serial killer. The real Santa has smiling eyes. You’ll understand when you’re older, son”.

I mean, it’s not a such bad strategy because – quite franky – most mall Santas are UTTERLY TERRIFYING, and no kid wants to think that THAT’S the guy who will be creeping down their chimney in the dead of night.

Ho! Ho! Ho! I like to eat the souls of small children…

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And so concludes The Idiot’s Guide to Bullshitting Your Kids About Santa at Christmas.

Now, be gone with you! I have presents to wrap, and young minds to warp.


85 thoughts on “Idiot’s Guide to Bullshitting Your Kids About Santa at Christmas

  1. The whole charade strikes me as completely bizarre when I look at it objectively. I spend most of the year being all ‘I’m an ethical shopper’ and ‘we’re going to live more simply’ and then we fill the house with plastic crap in the name of ‘not spoiling the magic’. And how I long for simpler times when you really could put a lump of coal in the naughty child’s stocking without anyone calling social services 😉

  2. My 4 year old is already asking questions I’m struggling to answer. I don’t see the Santa Myth lasting long in our house! But I’ll try my best to make sure she’s not ‘that kid’ who spoils it for everyone else 😉

  3. This is hilare. However, I think the trick is to win lotto and go to Lapland to meet the “real” Santa because wherever your tour group go, the SAME “real” Santa pops up everywhere. How cool is that? Did you know there’s an app thing where you can super impose picture of Santa anywhere – I got a snap last year of old mate Santa having a power nap on the sofa but I couldn’t pull the red hat over hubster’s eyes!

  4. I very much needed this. It’s my first time having to lie as a parent about Santa. I did NOT grow up believing in Santa- which I’ve thought would make a good post, and after reading this blog I think maybe I will write it.
    Christmas was still magical, I’ll just never know how great it really could have been. Haha.
    I do hate that Santa gets a lot of the credit for our hard earned and well researched toy ideas! Don’t you?

  5. All the Santas are totally safe and nice cos they all have Working With Children Checks. This means that a) Mall Santa is genuinely nice or b) Mall Santa is a really smart criminal who has not yet been caught. #grittyparenting

  6. Thanks! Totes needed a kick in the pants to up my bullshitting game. I was caught out with the “Is this dodgy shopping mall Santa the real Santa?” and fumbled for a bit before I said something about donuts and then we moved on to fattier, deep fried sugary topics… But I forgot about magic- brilliant! “Because magic.”

  7. As the Wise Old Elf says in Ben and Holly – “Magic always leads to trouble.” I’m choosing not to listen and am sticking with my “because it’s magic” line. Works nicely for the tooth fairy and Easter bunny too. The promise of magic is what got my kids off to bed tonight, along with the promise that I’d eat their advent calendar chocolate tomorrow if they didn’t quieten down and go to sleep. It’s all fun and games now but I’m going to be so sad when they get older and stop believing. I’ll cling on as long as I can!

  8. This is great. When I was young I basically just asked “But mom, is Santa REAL?” Over and over until she admitted that she wasn’t.

    I already can’t trick my 9 month old, so this is going to be pretty difficult.

    Slightly related, I saw an interesting thing about giving simple gifts from Santa and bigger gifts from you. Since less fortunate families can’t explain why Santa got their friend an iPad and got them some mittens and a toy truck. Which I didn’t think of until now because I can’t even remember thinking that Santa was real, and if I had, I’m sure I would have been confused.

    • Yes – I read something like that recently and it actually made quite a bit of sense. It made me feel awful to think that children who aren’t so well off financially might think that Santa thinks they are jerks because Little Johnny got an iPad and a trampoline and they didn’t. It’s actually an interesting way to think about it…

      • It is, it had never even occurred to me for the little kids who believe in Santa longer than others. Hopefully the idea will catch on and more people will think about it from other kids perspective. I sure didn’t before now.

  9. “Because really, what else do you have left when you finally break down and lose your shit in the middle of the Lego aisle at Target? It’s certainly not your dignity.” – This wins Christmas. I lol’d so hard hahaha

  10. Brilliant!!! It really is an art form – bullshitting to your kids about Santa. There has been a couple of times lately when I think Miss Five has seen through the lies. She’s a clever little clogs that one and things just aren’t adding up to her. We’ve had the Santa and Jesus confusion here too, plus my three year old thought Jesus was called Cheesus. Yep, kicking goals all over the place here.

  11. LOL too funny. I’ve always adopted the approach that if you believe he will come. So far it is working. My girls are now 14, 16 & 17. They like that santa gift a little too much to let on. 😉

  12. Haha oh man I will prob end up with the Jesus question as we are ill prepared for religion in this house. It never gets a goer but our neighbours (and good friends) go to church every Sunday so “God” had come up. So far I have done I better than say “Ahhhhhhh” for long enough until the child loses interest when I get the “What’s God” question. The 5yr old next door jumped in with a better answer than I would ever have come up with. Thankfully the neighbours don’t actually talk about it all that often (ahem and I’m grateful about that for more reasons than this) so I don’t have to go there.

  13. Pleased to say the Santa lie ends this year in our house. I am NOT a good liar it would seem, as the kids say “I know” when we finally sit them down for the big chat. All that hard work, the footprints the snow, all to be humored 😦

  14. Magic, magic and more magic is my approach. Oh and Santa text’s me. I show my five year old who can’t read them but totally believes. Reports about behaviour go back and forth. Works a treat, even when 12 year old rolls her eyes and threatens to tell her little brother.

  15. According to some crappy toy I saw in Kmart, science is also magic, so I don’t know if the “it’s magic” excuse will cut it if we’re suspending reality to say that science is magic…or vice versa. Fuck. Now I’m confused.

  16. We are all just bunch of big liers aren’t we! We go with the magic everything for any questions we get, but I think I’ll need to brush up on some aeronautical engineering reading as Miss 6 is getting more and more curious. Not sure how long the ‘magic’ answer is going to work for. Xx

  17. I was once in an eternal queue at Target and the kid behind me was losing it. His mum was pulling the ‘ok I’m going to call Santa now,’ card over and over again. He whined, she picked up the phone, he cried, she stopped. Rinse and repeat. After about the fifteenth time (I’m not even exaggerating), I was so tempted to turn around and tell both of them I was one of Santa’s secret agents and neither of them were getting anything unless they both were quiet. Obviously I didn’t, and instead stood there huffing and puffing all passive -aggressive like. My point is that story is this: you can always just point to some random stranger on the phone and say that is one of Santa’s spies and they are talking to him right now. It might also curb any inherent desire to talk to strangers ever! Winning! 😉

    • HAHAHHAHAHHAHA! Yes, but I have to admit, the skeptic in me wonders if the fact she needed to do it upwards of 15 times may in fact indicated that it is totally ineffective as a behaviour management strategy. Mmmm….

  18. So far Punky has accepted the Santa Myth unquestioningly. But being the smarty-pants child that she is, it’s only a matter of time before the questions start in earnest. By which time Zee will be speaking well enough that I won’t be able to pretend that I don’t understand her and they will start tag-teaming me with the never-ending quest for Santa Truth. I think I need to bookmark this post for next year!

  19. I believe that line about magic is currently being used in Parliament. “…but how will we deal with such a massive budget deficit?” “Magic son, magic. You just have to believe”.
    It was Con the Fruiterer that was my undoing in the Santa stakes as a kid. I found a Con the Fruiterer doll hidden in the spare room (note to my parents- when you say DON’T GO INTO THAT ROOM, of course I’m going to go into that room) and then on Christmas morning, Santa happened to have left me the exact same doll! Don’t ask why a 7 year old was desperate for a Con the Fruiterer doll…..
    Top bullshitting tips love. I’d expect nothing less from your witty self. 😛 x

  20. Because my bastard parents didn’t do Christmas I’ve overcompensated to the point where ours have become ridiculously complicated steaming mounds of epic bullshittery with freakin’ elves delivering nightly chocolates instead of advent calendar and other parental stupidly that it never occurred to me I would one day need to explain. Now Raffles has started intense interrogations re; the red-suited dude. My latest desperate attempt to deter the questioning was “I think Santa only delivers pressies to kids who believe in him and I don’t blame him… If you stopped believing in me I wouldn’t get you anything either, you dirty ingrate!!” Note: The “dirty ingrate” bit was more implied than stated. For now, he’s accepting my bullshit but I half expect him to hook me up to a lie-detector or start pulling out my fingernails with pliers demanding “answers”. Until then I will remain the Queen of Bullshit. x

    • Aaah, yes. I know a few over-compensators – go you good thing!! Heh heh heh, I hate to say it but your kids seem like they are gonna be the super-switched on type and they will be all over this Santa bullshit. Good luck with that 😉

  21. I try and lie as little as possible and just tell them that it’s magic and if they don’t believe they don’t get. I also talk about the international date line. I figure by the time they are able to poke holes in my theories the show will be over anyway!

  22. Lol…as someone who did not grow up with this custom of Santa, I still find it hard that kids believe this bullshit. 😛 How can one man go across the globe in one night? How does he know who celebrates Christmas and who doesn’t? If Hollywood is to be believed, Santa only visits North America. Loved your post as always! Have a great Christmas Hugzy!

    • HAHHAHAHAHHA! It’s one of those things that is too good to be true – but so awesome that you don’t want to think it’s not real! It’s a very bizarre form of cognitive dissonance. LOL!

  23. What do you recommend telling a kid who is told Santa doesn’t bring X-Boxes because they’re too expensive to give to everyone but then some little prick at school says he totally got an X-Box for Christmas? Because seriously, are some parent just trying to make it hard for everyone else?

    Also, when we were preparing shoeboxes of gifts for kids overseas who I explained might be receiving the first present ever in their lives, my children wanted to know how come Santa didn’t visit those kids, too. I started down some path about how parents actually have to contribute funds to Santa and some families don’t have enough money to do that and as the words were falling out of my stupid, stupid mouth, I knew that I was talking myself into the most epic fuck-up of all time. Thankfully, the children had lost interest by this stage and wandered off to pull the wings off flies so crisis averted.

    Which leads me to believe that kids are shallow enough to accept the ‘magic’ explanation, preferring not to think too deeply about how or why they get too much shit on Christmas Day lest that particular gravy train dries up.

    • Yep – it’s an absolute BLOODY minefield. And then it becomes a landslide of bullshit upon an already dodgy foundation of bullshit and we’re all drowning in it. I do not remember being in any way prepared to question any of this when I was a kid. Either I was too stupid, or too cunning to risk the same. As a parent, I’m finding it impossible to keep a straight face. Maybe I should keep a box of emergency flies on hand… LOL.

  24. Pretty sure my daughter is going to sus it out early since she’s 3 and already asking in depth questions about how and why the fekking elf gets back and forth. Her poor innocent twin brother would probably believe until he was 14 if it weren’t for her lol.

  25. Oh man, mine is only two. I pretty much don’t even have to hide her presents! Literally, they’re sitting in half opened bags in my bedroom. I am going to have to UP MY GAME in coming years!

    • Oh I LOVED it when they were that age. I could totally load up the trolley with all their gifts while they were right there. Now I have to do all the Secret Squirrel stuff. So much more complicated!

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