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Dad tells his 6-year-old daughter the truth about Santa, 'My wife thinks I should have lied.' AITA?

Dad tells his 6-year-old daughter the truth about Santa, 'My wife thinks I should have lied.' AITA?


"AITA for telling my 6 year old that Santa isn’t real?"

I (39M) was watching the movie Elf with my wife (32) and 6 year old daughter. We reach the scene where the elves are working on Santa’s sled to make it fly because not enough people believe in Santa.

My daughter latches on to this and just keeps asking,”Is Santa real?” Her mother said yes, but my daughter kept asking me as well. I said, “Santa is a great idea, and a lot of fun, but no he is not real.”

For some context, I love Christmas, but I didn’t get to celebrate Christmas until I had a family of my own. I was raised in a family whose religion prohibited Christmas. I couldn’t wait to get out and experience all the moments I missed. So we do Christmas as big as we can.

All the stereotypical traditions. And for the past five Christmases I’ve passively went along with the Santa idea with my daughter, even though I told my wife that I didn’t like lying to her, and I didn’t see the point in lying about something that would eventually come out no matter what. I also told my wife that I wouldn’t lie if I was ever asked. Well the moment finally came. She asked me and I said he wasn’t real.

At first my daughter was fine. My wife gave her some long explanation as to why she is lucky we get her presents. My daughter didn’t really like this explanation and was upset. We both told her that some parents work really hard to convince their kids that Santa exists, and that she shouldn’t try to convince kids otherwise.

My wife definitely felt like I should have lied. Eventually my wife asked my daughter if learning that Santa wasn’t real changed how she feels about Christmas, and my daughter said “kinda."

My wife thinks I should have lied; that kids believing in Santa is harmless, and that I can’t relate to Christmas from a child’s perspective because I didn’t have those experiences.

I think we played along with a tradition for as along as we could, but when my daughter directly asked me, the truth was the better option. I can’t really walk this one back, and we all will have a good holiday, but AITA?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

GrilledStuffedDragon said:

A very mild YTA. It isn't that you told your daughter too soon or something, it's that you decided to directly contradict your wife in front of your daughter. You could (read: should) have deflected answering directly, then had a conversation in your wife in private about when to broach the topic of Santa's existence to your daughter. Kind of a sh%tty thing to hear your wife tell your daughter "Yes he's real" and then you immediately go against that.

Huntsvegas97 said:

Absolutely this. YTA, you should’ve gone along with what your wife was telling her. Even if you had to redirect it by saying “didn’t you just ask mom?” or something like that. Also, the reason most people let their kids believe in Santa is because it’s one of the few innocent, magical things we get to believe in.

Kids only get to believe this for a short time in their lives and they should be allowed to enjoy that while they are still young enough to. The world robs people of being able to believe in whimsical, magical things. Children shouldn’t be robbed of that early.

Caspian4136 said:

YTA. There isn't any harm in believing in the magic of Santa as a kid. I don't know anyone who is upset they were lied to about it, including my own kids. Santa is a huge part of Christmas for those that believe and you just ruined that part of Christmas for your daughter.

When mine got old enough to really start questioning it (around age 10) I told them that he's not really real but the magic surrounding the belief in Christmas magic, the kindness, the giving, being with friends and family, the whole feeling a lot of us get around Christmas. That's what Santa is.

The big AH part is how you directly contradicted your wife in front of your daughter and told your daughter to lie to her friends. All you had to do was go along with it and have a discussion with your wife about it in private, not undermine her in front of your own kid.

Now your 6 year old has to listen to her friends getting excited about Santa, and even though you told her not to tell anyone (aka lie to them), she'll probably slip because she's so young. So while you were so worried about lying to her, you told her to lie to others. Do you see the issue with this?

Finnegan7921 said:

YTA. 6 years old is still young enough to believe. You kind of ruined it for her b/c I'm guessing some if not most of her friends who celebrate Christmas still believe in Santa. Your wife telling her "Yes" was a clear signal.

Philip_J_Fry3000 said:

Are you sure you will ALL have a good holiday? Based on how your daughter answered your wife's question I think it is a safe bet that at least one of you won't, possibly two. I somehow doubt you love Christmas as much as you claim if you were willing to take the chance that everyone was still going to have a good holiday after revealing this. YTA.

JimmyAutosXOD said:

You've been playing along with the Santa charade for five years, and when your daughter finally asks, you decide to drop the truth bomb in the middle of Elf? Smooth move.

Your wife has a point; you could've kept the magic alive a bit longer. Your rigid stance about not lying might be commendable, but it's Christmas, man! You could've handled it more tactfully, maybe discussed it with your wife beforehand. Now your daughter's Christmas spirit is "kinda" ruined, and it's on you.

My kids are still firm believers in Santa Claus. They're at that age where the excitement is contagious, and I'll be damned if I'm the one to tell them the truth. It's all about the magic of the season.

Yeah, you might have been technically honest, but you're also the guy who killed Santa for his 6-year-old. You're definitely the Grinch in this Christmas tale.

Everyone agreed unanimously here that this dad was in the wrong. What's your advice for this family? Does he still have a chance to save the magic of Christmas?

Sources: Reddit
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