Believing in Santa Clause is a sensitive topic.
Even today, when I posted this question to our momming group, “What age were your kids when they stopped believing in Santa?”, I was scolded very heavily by some parents for ruining the magic for them. They never stopped believing and I should probably stop being a tattle tale.
Others scolded me for encouraging the Santa lie. How dare I. Christmas is about more than that after all.
However, I’m not here to debate how people should celebrate the holidays or whether or not Santa Claus is moral. I’m simply trying to get to the bottom of what is the average age children stop believing in Santa.
So, when parents out there are wondering how many years of magic are left, or perhaps how many more years of putting on this fool charade are left, they can look and find out.
Spoiler Alert: If you just want the answer of what age the average kid stops believing in Santa, but don’t feel like reading through the individual responses, skip to the end for our official summary.
Parents Answer What Age Their Kids Were When They Stopped Believing In Santa Claus
1. “I never told them. I think they still believe because they think I do. They’re 12 and 16 . . . My oldest kind of questioned at 9. My youngest never did.”
2. “My oldest was 10 when she discussed not believing, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t believe before that. BUT with her 3 younger siblings we say if you don’t believe, you only get underwear for Christmas.”
3. “My son is 7 years old and still believes in Santa. He thinks all of the Santas at the malls and stuff are just fake Santas filling in for the real Santa, since he is so busy. lol. One time I made the mistake of whispering to my 10-year-old niece (at the time) that my son still thinks Santa is real. And she said, “what?” with a shocked look and said, “Santa is real.” And I said, “Oh, yeah, he is.””
4. “7 . . . and my youngest 3 never did. We never encouraged it.”
5. “My oldest will be 11 next month and she knows and helps do the stuff for her brother who will be 8 next month.”
6. “I’m 42 and I believe in Santa!”
7. “He was 5. Just randomly came up to me and said, ‘Mommy, is Santa actually real?’ And I told him the truth and also said he’s not allowed to talk about it to other kids.”
I love this. Definitely make sure to help your kids understand the importance of not spilling the secret to other kids. This is true when your kids find out on their own and if you personally choose not to ever do Santa.
8. “I never told them he was real. They still like Santa without having to lie to them.”
9. “If you don’t believe, you don’t receive!”
Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about this one. I mean, if it’s lighthearted I think it’s fun. But if you’re scaring your kids into pretending to believe so that they can continue receiving presents, it seems a bit much. Christmas is still tons of fun even after Santa is spoiled. After reading tons of comments like this, I feel like there are lighthearted parents saying this for fun and some that are making it more serious.
10. “IDK. We never made Santa any different than Elsa or Elmo. Just a character that we love and celebrate and let ourselves get imaginative about. … There was never a ‘stop believing’ moment.
“She’s 6 now and all of her presents are still from Santa. Same as all my presents from my mom are labeled from Santa. It’s just a fun tradition thing. Nothing more.”
11. “6 year old still believes. 3rd grader semi believes . . . haha I was like 11-12.”
Not me madly trying to calculate what age a third grader is. It’s like when one parent tells me their kid is 36 months old and another says three.
12. “My son at 5 years old, my daughter at 8 years old stopped believing. But my adult daughter still loves Christmas.”
13. “I’m pretty sure my boy doesn’t believe anymore. He’s 11 soon . . . But I told him that when you stop believing he stops coming.”
14. “My 6 year old still believes, but for years he’s asked. He’s very logical and it doesn’t always add up. But, he’s also very sensitive and creative so I go with it because it’s fun. But I do say, “The magic of … is real.” I plan on doing something like, when we talk for real, that now he can help give the magic of Santa, Tooth Fairy, etc. He’s in Kindergarten, so I have a feeling it’s soon.”
15. “My son is 8.5 and earlier this summer he asked me if Santa was real. I told him the truth, but I also said we can still believe in him if he wanted to.”
Love this approach! What a great answer to give.
16. “My son still has never told me there’s no Santa. He’s 22. I told them, when they were teens, whoever stops believing and or says there’s no Santa will probably not get anything from Santa. Guess it worked. We never had a talk. My kids have never said a word. They’re 18, 20, and 22.”
17. “I’m 35 and Santa still brings me presents. He suspiciously uses the same wrapping paper as my mom, but I don’t ask too many questions.”
18. “Never did Santa. Most of their friends do, and they love being in on the secret and helping them believe.”
19. “With a big 12 year gap in kids, they never discussed not believing. He brought stocking every Christmas morning packed with undies, socks, favorite candy, life save books, and a few small toys. Christmas Eve gifts passed around from family.”
There is a 17 year age gap between me and my youngest sibling. Santa was always an interesting discussion because the older siblings wanted to talk candidly and make crude Santa jokes, but then we also wanted to keep the magic alive for the little ones.
20. “Newborn. We never did the Santa thing.”
This one made me laugh because I’m just imagining parents seriously telling their newborn in the hospital that there is no such thing in Santa. Like man, poor baby gets to face the harsh reality of being born and face the truth that there’s no Santa all in one day? Harsh, man.
21. “About six I think. Same with Tooth Fairy, etc. And parents shouldn’t be dragging it out with this don’t believe, don’t receive nonsense. You either believe or don’t.”
Yes! Maybe you and I are both grinches, but I feel this way as well.
22. “My daughter is VERY skeptical this year. She just turned 5. She sat in two Santa’s laps last Christmas and knew they were two different people. So she keeps saying, “Um, why is Santa different every time I see him?”
Uh, oh. Those extra observant kids are pretty hard to fool, aren’t they. Maybe you could try telling her that Santa has friends who help him out because he’s a very busy guy.
23. “Around 8. But I made my oldest son pretend while his brother was younger. He was always a good spirit about it.”
24. “I remember my brother saying Santa Claus wasn’t real. I told him to be quiet or we wouldn’t get anymore gifts.”
Ah, yes. The secret sibling pack at work. Things get serious when presents are at stake.
25. “Mine are 9 & 7 and, well, they still believe. I think my 9-year-old is skeptical. I hear convos between them all the time about Tooth Fairy, Easter bunny, Santa, etc. ‘Tooth Fairy is Mom. Tell me how $ wasn’t here this morning, but we came home from school and it is.’
“I suck and fall asleep before them. And they’re up before me. Sooo, I do it during the day.”
I mean, day Tooth Fairy seems a lot less stressful that night Tooth Fairy trying to walk quietly across a messy room and reaching my giant hand subtly underneath the pillow without waking any little ones in the process.
26. “When my kids started questioning Santa, I always said, ‘Good. When you don’t believe in Santa, he no longer visits.”
Hmm . . . I just . . . It doesn’t sound like Christmas spirit to me.
27. “3. When I told her.”
I’m just staring at my 3-year-old who barely even comprehends believing right now, wondering how this conversations would go. I think I’d just confuse her more right now.
28. “6. Some other child told him. I was devastated.”
Another case of children outside of our control ruining everything. Perhaps we believers should start locking all of our kids up after Thanksgiving, or maybe even after Halloween if you’re surrounded by early decorators, so that no other child and ruin the magic for them.
29. “12 and still going. My older kids, IDK. They act like they still believe. Must be that they don’t want coal!”
30. “About 10. Kids at school broke the news!”
Me calling my child’s principal, “Hi, I’m pulling my child out of school for a month on account of not wanting another child to ruin Santa for them. Thanks.”
31. “I tell my 12 year old, what’s the point in not believing?! Only believers get a gift from Santa.”
32. “My oldest is trying to hold onto the magic, but I’m sure he’s got it figured out. He’s 10. The questioning started around 8-10.”
33. “My kids are 8 1/2 and 7, and they still believe.”
34. “11 is when we talked about it, but I believe it was around 10.”
35. “It ranges from 3-6. Like, as long as you don’t spoil it for the rest.”
36. “My 11 yr old still believes.”
37. “My son’s 8 and still believes so far.”
38. “About to be 9 and he still believes . . . never even questioned whether or not he’s real.”
39. “Still do 11 and 9 . . . it’s the magic you make.”
40. “Since ages 5 and 6 I’ve told my kid the truth. My daughter (almost 10) acted like I confirmed her suspicions and has said he isn’t real since. My son (almost 11) still believes in him.”
41. “I never told them there was a Santa. They just assumed because that’s what other kids said and I told them the truth and they were fine with it. That way they believe what their parents tell them because I don’t sit and lie to them. I remember growing up, when I found out all the truths of all the fake holiday stuff, and I got really disappointed and I never wanted to do that to my own children. We teach them to always be truthful.”
42. “About 10, but they so desperately want to believe that they keep second guessing themselves and won’t completely rule out the possibility at almost 12 . . .”
A kid after my own heart. I even held on to a thread of hope after catching my mom in the act. But, I mean, she said she was just peeking because she was excited to see what he brought.
43. “Grade 5. Seems like the second they’re in 5th grade the kids start talking and then it’s done.”
Ah, I see. So I can safely send my kids to school until they hit 5th grade. Good to know.
44. “My kids never believed in Santa. But, at about 3yo, my daughter told us that she wanted to pretend Santa was real. So they had the same experiences as any other (first world country) child, just they never had to believe a lie.”
So, I know that there’s kind of a big debate going on right now about whether these fun holiday lies are detrimental to our children. However, I feel that there are more innocent ways to do this and less innocent ways to do this. Like forcefully telling your kids that if they don’t believe they won’t get presents seems aggressive. Partaking in the fun and naturally letting your kids find out around ages 8 or so like most kids, seems fine to me.
I do feel a little bit bad for kids who keeping believing until later. A friend of mine still believed until around 12 years old or so I believe, and her parents had to have a talk with her because they were getting concerned. And she told me that she felt devastated and embarrassed because she’d talked to her friends seriously about it who already knew he didn’t exist. I haven’t really heard similar stories from my friends who all found out earlier.
45. “Kid’s too small, but I was like 11-12 years old.”
46. “My 11 year old still does.”
47. “My kids are 5 and 8 and still believe. Thank goodness. I stopped believing around 10-12 years old and I was devastated.”
48. “3 or 4. I knew how to read and there wasn’t one present under the tree from Santa. And I was good.”
Oh, man. Sounds like slacker Santa may have forgotten your house that year. Or, maybe this was your parent’s clever way of letting you figure it out because they didn’t want to keep doing it.”
49. “Mine are 11 and 7, they still believe in Santa and I’ll never ruin it.”
50. “MY 9-year-old throws stuff out there, but desperately hold on.”
51. “10-year-old is questions it this year, but she’s got younger sibling and I said non-believers don’t get a presents. She’s hush about it. lol”
52. “Honestly, despite all my honesty about who Santa really wasn’t and such, my 9-year-old still is a believer.”
53. “Mine technically still do. Even at age 13.
“I told my kids when they got to a certain age that Santa stopped coming to them because they got older and he needed to go to all the other new kids and babies. Doing this made them know I brought the gifts, but still kept the magic alive when they see Santa around or speak about Santa with friends. To this day my 13 year old still goes nuts when they see Santa (in a comical elf movie kind of way). Neither have questions his authenticity and it helps with my 8-year-old who I’m telling this year that he’s not coming any more. I do drop the odd gift amongst the pile, saying it’s from him too. Honestly, best decision I made. Plus, I get to use the, ‘You better behave because it ain’t Santa buying for you, remember?’ card.”
54. “My son is 14 and my daughter 12. As far as I know, they both still believe.”
55. “Santa stopped believing in my kids.”
Wait, what? I feel like there’s a lot to unpack here.
56. “When they found their presents in the closet, it became a yearly hunt for them.”
Same. Oh, man. We loved hunting for our presents. My mom couldn’t wrap presents early either because we all became experts in carefully tearing the tape off and re-wrapping the presents.
57. “My 9-year-old told me that kids in school don’t believe, that they think it’s babyish and silly. I say that’s up to them. You can believe if you want too, and it you don’t want to, that’s okay too. But I do and always will.”
58. “I think 50 years ago, things were different then now. Kids get information about everything in life so much earlier. I think kids back then believed a lot longer than they do these days. My son still believed in Santa at 10, maybe longer. I can’t imagine a 10 or 11 year old in 2022 still believing?”
Very valid points. But, you’ll be happy to learn that there seem to be quite a few kids who believe past age ten and elven according to these responses.
59. “My kids 10 and 11 just tried to corner me about the Tooth Fairy.
“My response to them asking about it is always, ‘What do you believe?’ And then they tell me and I say something to the effect of, ‘Whatever you believe is totally possible. Some people don’t believe and some people do and that’s okay. I support you no matter what you believe.’
“I have been using Santa and the Tooth Fairy and such to help my kids understand the validity of belief since they were tiny. The most I have ever gone out of my way to provide the evidence for them to believe is putting money under their pillow. We buy stocking stuff together. I do a good portion of our Christmas shopping when they are around. I never said Santa is real or Santa is this or that, I always just left it up to them.
“Anyways, my 10-year-old is pretty sure the Tooth Fairy isn’t real and my 11-year-old is skeptical. My 10-year-old made the connection . . . if you have to be asleep for the Tooth Fairy to come and asleep for Santa to come, is Santa real? I heard her talking to her borate about it (he’s 11). He still believes in Santa. Cracked me up when he responded to her, ‘I know Santa is real. Do you really think they just have a random debit card with over a thousand dollars on it to buy all those presents we get?’
“Kiddo, if only you knew how spoiled your butt really is.”
60. “My oldest stopped believing around 8. My son will be 11 and still believes and my 4-year-old as well. We have a few more years.”
61. “My daughter was 9 before a family member told her the truth. I was so disappointed.”
Uh, oh. So, now I’ll have to protect my kids from school and family if I want to keep the magic alive. This is a tall order.
62. “My daughter is 7 and I’m pretty sure she knows but she hasn’t said anything yet. I think so that her little sister doesn’t find out.”
Aw, I love that she’s still playing along to keep the magic alive for her younger sister. That’s so sweet.
63. “My oldest was 6 and it’s because he asked me so I told him the truth. My Youngest who just turned 7 still believes. He keeps asking, is Santa real? And I ask him what he thinks. I should have done that with my oldest.”
I love this method of letting your child ultimately decide for themselves what and how much they’d like to believe in.
64. “My brother ruined it for me when I was about 8. He opened my mom’s bedside drawer to show me all the pictures and letters I drew and wrote to Santa.”
Ouch. That one probably hurt right in the feels. But also, now that you’re older, I hope you can appreciate the sentiment of your mom holding on to your letters. My mom tossed all of mine straight into the trash.
65. “My daughter was like 10/11 when she found out. And my son is 7 and already asking questions. It doesn’t bother me when they find out, because they we can have the questions of what do you actually need/want for Christmas instead of me guessing. Since my daughter is so much older though, she is sworn to secrecy until he figures it out.”
66. “My son is 10 (11 in January) and he is extremely skeptical, but hasn’t let on that he doesn’t believe. But I know this may be our last Christmas as he is going in to middle school and kids will ruin it.”
67. “Mine are 5 and 7 and still believe. Though, I think they’d be better behaved if they knew it was me buying the gifts.”
Don’t worry, just a couple more years and you can have your moment. They won’t dare to misbehave then. Probably. Ah, probably not if I’m being honest.
68. “My daughter is almost 7 and I’ve told her he doesn’t exist and she insists he’s real. At least when she finds out he’s not real I can tell her that I tried to inform her, but she insisted.”
I love this kids who still are determined to believe after being told the truth. It’s super cute to me. You do you, kids.
69. “My 13-year-old still sees to believe, but he’s autistic. My 9-year-old still seems to believe, mostly bc my oldest does. They’ve come home with questions over the years, but they keep it together for their 3-year-old sister.”
70. “My oldest was 8 when he busted me at 1am bringing in all the presents from the car and said, ‘It’s okay mum, I know Santa isn’t real. I won’t say anything to brother.’
“The next day he asked me about the Easter bunny and the Tooth Fairy. The look on my face said it all. Then he told me, ‘Geez, Mum. You sure are busy aren’t you.’
“Now waiting on the youngest (8yo) who still believes, but has his doubts and should he question again, I’m seriously considering being honest. Doesn’t mean he will get any less, just the facade can stop and Santa won’t be the lucky bastard who gets all the praise.”
I feel this. Like, common kid. You really think some magical old guy who sees your for 30 seconds each year picked out this present for you? Sorry, darling. This is the work of your mother who has known you every second of your life.
71. “In our house, Santa is the spirit of anonymous giving, so we never really stop believing. I have 5 children and 2 grandchildren. My older child is 25. My youngest is 4. As the children get older and realize that Santa isn’t a fat man coming down the chimney, they become part of being Santa and help with the late night setup. If anyone asks me or anyone in our family if Santa is real, we reply with an emphatic YES!”
72. “My son asked last year when he was 8, almost 9. I told him the truth and now I have some serious mom guilt. I know it’s inevitable that they find out, but he was super sad when he learned the truth and I just feel back like some of the magic is gone now.”
I’m sorry, Momma. Mom guilt is real and such a hard thing to deal with sometimes. But I’m sure that your son will still feel the Christmas magic you’re creating even if he knows the truth about Santa.
73. “My son is 8 and still believes. We’ve had talks because other kids have been told different things or celebrate differently. So, I ask when he thinks. I also say it’s magic and fun.”
74. “Pretty old. She was 20 and I was moving before I ever showed her where I hide her presents. She never caught me one time and the look of surprise and disappointment that the rouse was over I’ve never forgotten.”
Wow. I think this momma wins for the longest time their child was believing. At least on this thread.
75. “My daughter is 13 and I think she still believes in Santa.”
76. “My 8-year-old still believes. I was about 10 when my mum told me. I hope my daughter still has 2 magical years left.”
77. “When my son was 9, he said he didn’t believe in Santa and that he knew we were Santa. I told him Santa is about giving and not expecting anything in return and when he was ready he could become Santa to his little sister.”
Nailed it. I love this response and I love how you included him in helping make the spirit of Christmas for his little sister as well and teaching him the joy of giving.
78. “I was around 9 when I figured it out and 12 when my mom told me. My older is 9 and I think he still believes.”
79. “My youngest is 9 and still believes. My oldest figures it out about this age. I hope they believe in the magic of Christmas forever, though.”
I’m sure they will! And maybe someday you’ll have grandchildren who will love believing in the magic of Christmas too!
80. “My eldest worked it out when she was around 6. She them proceeded to inform her entire class at school that Santa wasn’t real. My youngest is 6 and still believes.”
Ah, so your child is the one we need to be watching out for. In all seriousness though, I totally understand the drive that leads kids to want to share information with their peers and can’t really fault them for that. I’m sure they believe that they’re being helpful.
81. “I had a kid in kindergarten that shared at circle time. I was 5 and heartbroken.”
82. “My son was talking to his friend this evening and said he just made his Christmas list and that it goes to Santa. And his friend said, ‘you know that Santa isn’t real, right?’ Not very nice.”
83. “We alway treated Santa like Mickey Mouse; a fun character that people like to cosplay as around X-mas.”
84. “My oldest was probably in 5th grade and my youngest was probably 7th grade. But I think she already knew and just didn’t want to know. I know her cousins knew long before that, but she’s the baby of the family and everyone just kind of goes along with whatever she believes.”
85. “Never taught them to believe in Santa. He doesn’t being gifts and when parents can’t afford to perpetrate the lie, how does that make them feel?”
I do always think about this when it comes to Christmas time. I truly am heartbroken for the kids who don’t get to celebrate Santa. I do like to participate heavily in gift donations and such around Christmas time, but I know there are some families who don’t ask for help and some kids who fall through the cracks.
My heart breaks thinking that there might be a kid out there who thinks Santa didn’t bring them a gift because they were too “naughty” or not as good or worthwhile as another child. I hate that much of Santa bringing gifts is tied to a child’s behavior and therefore could be interpreted as their worth.
86. “Mine are 9 and 12 and still believe. I hope it lasts a long time.”
87. “My sister told my son there was no such thing when he was 5. I was not impressed.”
88. “I have a 12-year-old grandson who was diagnosed with a processing disorder and when his mother told him that Santa wasn’t real, he turned to her and said are God and Jesus just made up as well.”
Alright, I’m not touching this one.
89. “My kids were 8 and 10 when they started questioning it. I told them, ‘It’s up to you to decide if you want to believe in the Christmas magic or not.’ and left it at that. They are 10 and 12 not and we very much indulge in the MAGIC of Christmas and probably always will.”
90. “Eight. Broke my heart. But Eleven when the Tooth Fairy went!”
I can’t believe that the Tooth Fairy won out over Santa. I bet that doesn’t happen too often.
91. My daughter is going to be 12 this month and still believes. Or at least pretends to still believe.”
92. “My son was 5 when he figured it out, but 7 before he told me he knew. My daughters were 8 when they figured it out.”
93. “My daughter will be 10 next month. She’s on the fence, but she didn’t ask and I told her it’s whatever she believes. “She has a friend tell her he wasn’t real and it didn’t make her happy.”
94. “They are 14 and 11 and still haven’t said anything. We told them if they stop believing, they get underwear for Christmas.”
Okay, there have been a lot of parents threatening their kids with underwear. What ever happen to good ol’ lumps of coal?
95. “Mine is 5.5 and believes. And we are going to foster that until someone ruins the magic for her. At which time we will reinforce that Christmas is as much about giving and it is receiving and Santa embodies the spirit of the season.”
96. “Mine still believe and they are 12.I am not going to say anything to them either. I’m going to let them believe for as long as they want.”
97. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a Santa who’s supporting their education.
98. “Now? We told them the truth, but they still talk about Santa coming even though they know it’s mommy and daddy. (5yo, 3yo, 1yo).”
99. “My son was 11 when he stopped.”
100. “As far as I’m concerned, my 24 yo still believes in Santa.”
101. “My oldest was 11. He is 12 now.”
102. “So far, just my oldest at 12.”
103. “12 ad 10.”
104. “9. Someone else ruined it for her.”
Okay, wow. I need to know how this parent was able to keep the magic alive so long. And yet, they keep their lips sealed shut.
119. “10. 8 year old still believes.”
120. “8 or 9ish.”
121. “5 and 6.”
122. “About 7/8.”
Honestly, not sure why someone was so shocked by this. I think 8 might be the most common age that I’m seeing. Or, at least the age when they become skeptical even if they still kind of believe for a couple more years.
123. “Eldest was 10.”
And I’d say 10 is the end of the common age. Between about 8-10 I’m guessing most kids are too clever for us and discover the big Santa secret.
124. “My older son was 11.”
125. “Just before 12.”
This is another time where I wish there was more about the circumstances surrounding this late believing. But I guess the parent’s who are best at being Santa don’t want to share their secrets with just anyone.
128. “So far, 6 years old.”
Uh, oh. Do you think it was a family member or a kid at school who ruined the surprised.
130. “3 and 6.”
Hmm … I feel like there’s a story here.
143. “They still believe! 55/52/39!”
Hmm… how does one break it to a parent that their 50-year-old child is probably just pretending now. I’m sorry I’m such a Scrooge.
144. “6 years old.”
145. “I think 9 or 10.”
146. “8 years old.”
147. “So far 9/7/4 and only the 7-year-old is catching on.”
148. “Santa isn’t a big deal here. He brings one educational gift or board game. I’m not glamorizing that crap.”
“Mine is 11 and still believes!”
149. “Mine is 7.5 and loves Santa.”
150. “Well, I was 10.”
So, What’s the Final Answer for How Long Kids Usually Believe in Santa?
Well, 8 to 10 is the most common time frame for when kids stop believing in Santa. Often times, kids will start feeling skeptical around 7/8, but still hold on to some belief until they are a little bit older, around 10 or 11.
However, it still seems pretty common for kids to believe in Santa for as long as 11 or 12, although we didn’t see very many answers about this age.
On the younger end, young sleuths seemed to discover the truth about Santa as young as ages 5 or 6. Although, it does sound as though many of theses younger kids were also the victims of being told early by a friend, older sibling, or other family member.
So if you’re out there trying to calculate how many years you have left, here’s your answer!
Do you think Santa is a fun thing to do? Or do you feel like lying to your kids about Santa has negative effects? Share with us in the comments below!
And, in whatever way you choose to celebrate . . .