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Children / Humor / mother's day / Motherhood

Mom Memories: The Santa Reveal & End of an Imaginary Era

Mother’s Day is almost upon us and for the next couple of weeks, Mile High Mamas will be dedicated to all-things moms–from your favorite Mom Memories to some of your great stories about Becoming Mothers from last year.

I’ve always believed it’s important to instill magic in my kids’ childhood and my husband and I have played along with the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Santa et al. We’ve been careful to never put too much credence into them but my kids’ overactive imaginations have taken care of that.

For Christmas, we’ve kept the Santa presents to a minimum and he only brings them a couple of their requested gifts and stuffs their stockings. Mostly because I want the credit to go to me, not some plump dude sporting fur.

Months ago, my 8-year-old daughter started building a leprechaun trap and I had forgotten about it until I heard her setting it up the night before St. Patrick’s Day. My first thought: Crap, now I have to do something so made up a few mischievous leprechaun tricks.

Last year, my daughter’s second-grade teacher introduced Elf on the Shelf (likely to ensure they behaved) and the children were delighted when, each day, their elf dreamed up a new caper.

Last month, we were at the airport on Easter waiting for our flight home from Utah when my daughter, while eating her stash of candy she’d collected earlier that day, asked,

“Mom, are you the Easter Bunny?”
“What do you think?”
“I think you are. No, wait, I think he’s real. Oh, I don’t know.”
“Do you want to know?”
“Maybe, I’m not sure. OK, yes I want to know.”
My husband had previously agreed we wanted to tell her everything this summer so the timing was perfect.
“Mommy and Daddy are the Easter Bunny.”

Disappointment, then relief flooded her face. She grabbed another handful of candy as she contemplated this new revelation. After a minute, she handed me a Reese’s chocolate egg (sharing is something she never does) and asked:

“What about Santa?”
“Do you really want to know?”
“Yes, no, maybe not.”

Learning the truth about Santa was exponentially tougher because there’s a lot more build-up and excitement surrounding him. Ultimately, she confessed,

“Yes, I want to know.”
“It’s Mommy and Daddy.”

There was a flash of sadness but then an appreciative look as she reflected back upon all the gifts we’ve bought her that have been attributed to Kris Kringle.

She grabbed another stash of candy, shoved it in my hand and queried.

“So, the Tooth Fairy and leprechauns. Not real, either?”

By now, my mouth was busting with her bribery chocolate and I merely nodded.

Once she had digested the new information, she got a twinkle in her eye and started calling me out.

“So, when the Tooth Fairy came when we were evacuated for Hurricane Earl, that was you?”
“Yep, and it was really tough one because we didn’t have any cash and had to borrow from Grandma and Grandpa.”

“And when I leave out those cookies and milk for Santa?”
“Daddy devoured them.”

“What about all those pistachios Elphina ate?” (Elphina was her Elf on the Shelf and one morning, my daughter found her bent over in a drunken-like stupor surrounded by shells).
“Daddy and I ate them.”

“But what about when we found her in the kitchen with all those sugar cookie crumbs? WERE YOU AND DADDY RESPONSIBLE FOR EATING THEM ALL?”

Apparently, our imaginary friends have an eating problem we’ll need to come up with another scapegoat.

Do your kids believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny or did you never let them believe? How did they find out?

Amber Johnson
Author: Amber Johnson

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

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Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.


  1. I am a firm believer in believing. My kids believed until they were waaaaay older than most and I wouldn’t have it any other way. These were fond traditions and cherished childhood memories. Eventually, their friends told them but they came to me for the truth.

  2. Fun story. Here’s my advice: Really consider what your child wants when he asks for the truth. I learned this lesson the hard way when my son asked me to not lie to him and tell him the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the Tooth Fairy when he was 7 years old. I gingerly informed him that I did, in fact, put the money under his pillow. He immediately fell apart and began to wail so hard that it broke my heart. I immediately backtracked and explained that the Tooth Fairy probably exists but that she is so super-busy going to so many homes that parents often have to help out. He felt better and I learned a very important parenting lesson: Give your child what he needs at the time, not what he says he wants.

  3. Lana-There’s definitely a lot of talk at school about it in second and third grade. I was surprised she kept believing as long as she did.

  4. Karen–I would have done the same thing. Whoops!

  5. We only celebrated Santa and the Easter Bunny the same way we look at a costumed Shamu or Mickey Mouse. They have the fun aspects of the visiting them and we get the pics.

  6. Kayla–Great way to look at it. Every family is different!

  7. My kids also believed until they were really too old. They overheard me talking with a friend – which was the real “I’m busted” moment. However, this last year my 13 year old son – had a great time playing Santa for some other young kids. He told them Santa is real if you believe.

    The good news for me is I no longer have to steal cash out of their own piggy banks to pretend to be the tooth fairy as I NEVER have cash!

  8. Gretchen-I think we need to start a new series on parenting fails re: Santa, the Tooth Fairy, etc.

  9. I just ask “what do you think?” when they ask me and they talk themselves into believing again even when the kids at school were telling them otherwise. My oldest is onto us now, but maintains his support of the belief because little brother has a bazillion reasons why they all have to be real. I’m a bit worried about how he’ll take it once he convinces himself that his parents are the culprits, but at least I can say he talked himself into it over and over! 🙂

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