The Day I Killed Both The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus

Declan is nine. He will be 10 in September, and I am certain he has been on this earth at least a few times before. He just gets things without me having to tell him, and I am not the only one who notices.

So, I was surprised that Santa was still big last Christmas. There had been questions since around age six, and I started turning them around – like we were in a court of law and I was avoiding a death sentence.

“Is Santa real?”

“Um, what do you think?”

He would always be steadfast in his belief. Yes. Totally. Santa is real. Well, okay, then. Santa stays, he gets cookies – and Guinness. Because Santa loves Guinness, right? He always has in our house, at least.

I felt uncomfortable with the deception, because we are so straight-forward with Declan about everything. On the other hand, who am I to deprive him of the magic of Santa?

So I let it slide. I dodged his questions. I never directly lied to him over the past few years, but I also never really answered with the truth either.

Then came Easter 2012.

Bryan had purchased a bunch of candy, and toys, and office supplies for the holiday. Bryan loves toys and Declan loves office supplies. They were hidden in his car, ready to spring out with the Easter Bunny on Sunday morning.

The only problem was… well, Easter Bunny’s “helper” went to a big party the night before, had one too many drinks and took a cab home, so early Sunday morning the Easter Bunny’s “wife” had nothing to put out.

I could see Declan prancing around the kitchen from our bed, peeking in to see if we are awake, following all those rules about not going out and looking at his loot without us.

Before you are too hard on Bryan, I was actually relieved.

Here we go.

Let’s end this pretense.

I grabbed Declan by the hand and led him out to the couch and we plopped down together.

“Declan, tell me what you think about the Easter Bunny.”

After a long pause, and a sly smile, he answered, “I think he is you guys.”

The huge rush of relief that washed over me was better than if we actually had the candy there for him, rather than melting in the hot sun of a parking lot several miles away.

I smiled, he smiled, we exchanged the discerning looks of people who were knowledgeable about the world.

“Then, you know that Santa Claus is not real either, right?”

The look I got. THE LOOK. He gave me a look of such desperate magnitude… you would think I just shot our dog. In front of him. And laughed.

His eyes filled with tears, and a very wobbly voice whispered, “What do you mean, Santa is not real?”

He’s kidding, right? He has GOT to be kidding me.

I did NOT just kill Santa.

If there was any time in my entire life that I could use one of those ridiculous reverse 30-seconds of time contraptions they use in the movies, THIS WOULD BE IT.

“Didn’t you ever wonder why Santa likes Guinness?”

Those little eyes widened, and then his brow scrunched, then his eyes widened again – like everything came tumbling into place, one by one.

And he started crying in earnest.

“Do you wish I hadn’t told you?”

There was a mumbled yes through all the crying and burying of his head in the couch.

I let out a deep sigh and dug in. We talked about a lot of things for almost an hour. About faith, and magic, and even Jesus, although we are agnostic. I told him that he has the choice to learn about the world and decide what he wants to believe in. I explained that his dad and I have great faith even though we are not religious. That he can now continue the tradition of telling Santa’s story for the younger children in our lives, and to help protect that magic for them. That magic is very important, and many things in this world cannot be explained.

By this time, Bryan had joined us and lent a second voice to what I was telling Declan.

Our darling, sensitive boy finally turned to my magical husband and said, “Daddy – do you believe in Santa Claus?”

“Yes, Dex. I absolutely do.”

“Me, too.”


Now the big question is this: What do I do the next time he loses a tooth?

This article has 22 comments

  1. Sunny Hunt

    I’m screwed. My 8yo is asking questions about the Easter Bunny (rather, making accusations that my mother is actually the Easter Bunny) and now the tooth fairy

    He’s a little sensitive as well. I hope the Santa conversation goes a little better but I loved the way you positioned it as “saving the magic”.

  2. Schmutzie

    Oof. That must have killed you for a moment there.

  3. Kristen

    Oh my… I am at that time too. Jacob is 10… I am almost positive he thinks these things are not real, but he isn’t about to admit that. (Which I guess is good because I don’t want him to accidentally ruin it for his sisters!)

  4. Camels & Chocolate

    Awwwwww. This is both funny and bittersweet at the same time! Poor Dex (and mama).

  5. Camels & Chocolate

    Awwwwww. This is both funny and bittersweet at the same time! Poor Dex (and mama).

  6. Camels & Chocolate

    Awwwwww. This is both funny and bittersweet at the same time! Poor Dex (and mama).

  7. Chez Us - denise

    Ahh, what a sweet and sad story. Loved it.

  8. Magpie

    I got caught slipping a quarter under the pillow; that was it for the tooth fairy. I almost lost the easter bunny – I slipped in a conversation on the phone, while she was sitting at the end of the bed. I patched that one up somehow, but not before big snotty tears. Santa is still sacrosanct, at least I think he is.

    It’s hard, this stuff.

  9. Sizzle

    On Easter my not-yet-6-years-old nephew went to the neighbor’s house to play in the backyard. The kids are older than him -probably 8-14. While he was over there they told him that the Easter Bunny and Santa are not real. Oh man! It about broke our hearts when he came over and told us what he’d found out. We told him that we believed in Santa and here’s hoping he can still have that childlike wonder for a few more years.

  10. Paul Merrill

    Let the Tooth Fairy be real for one more go-round. 🙂

  11. Anna

    I know my day is coming…but I don’t want it to. My daughter will be 10 in May. She never asks, never hints; I know there are kids in her class with older siblings who “know”. Oh boy so not looking forward to this one!

  12. JoAnn

    Oh, Aimee, I’m sorry. All three mythical creatures (Jolly, Hoppy, Toothy) fell like dominoes in December, because I guess when you knock off Santa, the rest go tumbling after. (It goes to reason he’d be the biggest domino of them all, huh?) Claire had just turned 6, and my inlaws are not as diligent as we are about certain things, and she figured it out.

    No amount of backpedaling could save us. Like you, I refuse to lie directly to her, but the misinformation and redirection tactics of the past failed me.

    The math was too powerful at that point, and she figured them all out.

    Like Declan, she still WANTED Santa to be real…and my heart broke into a thousand pieces, because I could see the wheels turning, and there was no going back.

    Now that it’s been awhile, she’s awesome. She’s “in the know,” and loves keeping the magic alive for her friends who are still believers.

  13. Anonymous

    This is so wonderful Aimee. -m

  14. D. Marie

    Oy yoy! Declan and my oldest are roughly the same age. (She’ll be 11 this year.) She is just as super sensitive, still believes in Santa, still believes in the Tooth Fairy (although my husband and I have been busted a few times). We never introduced the Easter Bunny, so we got a pass there. But, oh boy. Santa?! I’d better not mess with Santa. Your conversation with Declan sounds almost identical to the one in our house. It’s tough. I think every other bubble can be popped BUT Santa.

  15. Amira Lewis (Real Estate)

    I know how you feel. I don’t like feeling like I’m deceiving my children. I LOVE the way you handled this but I feel bad his poor little heart was crushed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I could rewind time to spare my babies feelings.

    Hopefully he wont lose any teeth anytime soon. 🙂

  16. ZDub

    That’s ROUGH.

  17. monstergirlee

    This post really hit me hard, poor Aimee, poor Declan. Oof.

    I kind of think my boy knows but he’s keeping that to himself to keep the magic alive for his sister. He really is a sweet boy like that.

  18. Maricris @ SittingAround

    Oh, I feel sorry for Declan and you, Aimee. I know it’s hard for you too. I’m lucky it wasn’t that difficult for my eldest when I told her Santa is not real.

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  21. Lilly

    Santa always had beer and lebkuchen in our home.
    Very sweet story… I can’t remember finding out and can only imagine he will. At the very least you will never forget.

  22. elspeth

    For us, we turn the “finding out” of Santa into including the children into the magic making. They now get to decide on what Santa brings to those who still believe. “We” are Santa, and we certainly believe in us!

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