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New Tradition For Kids Who Stop Believing In Santa

Updated on August 23, 2017

Santa's Not Real?

I remember the day that I stopped believing in Santa. I had crept into the garage only to find a box full of toys. I was 7, and I remember being mad at my parents for hiding all of these cool presents. I was a good girl though and did not touch them. On Christmas morning, I opened my first gift. It was then I made the connection, and a new tradition in our household was born.

Santa Door Decoration at
Santa Door Decoration at

Christmas Is Almost Here!

My mom would get so excited each year when Christmas arrived. She did tons of baking and tried her best to keep the traditions of Christmas alive. We would eat a hefty Christmas Eve meal, read 'twas The Night Before Christmas, and set out the cookies for Santa. It seemed that new things were added each year. At one point, we started leaving carrots for the reindeer! I think she got her love of Christmas from her dad. She would tell me stories of how Papa Ray had once made hoof prints on the roof and on the ground for the kids. I'm not sure about climbing on the roof in the middle of winter, but he went all out. Mom was no different. My dad had to eat the cookie, drink the milk, and take the obligatory bite out of the carrot each year.

Santa Sack at
Santa Sack at

In On The Santa Secret

Well on Christmas morning, I did my best not to give away that I knew. I had not figured out the whole carrot and cookie part of it just yet, but I knew that my parents had bought the presents! I do not recall being disappointed or anything. I just put two and two together. I didn't think to tell my parents that I knew, so I don't think they had any idea I had peeked at the presents. It was a good year though. I think that was the time I receive an Atari. I only remember seeing the stuffed unicorn that was in the garage. I didn't let my sister in on the secret either. I kind of kept things to myself as a kid.

Enjoy The Story 'twas The Night Before Christmas

The Christmas Frenzy

Every year, my mother would get so excited about Christmas. I mean the woman would just have herself all worked up over the holiday. She would furiously bake and decorate. I can remember listening to Bing Crosby's White Christmas and Andy Williams singing Sleigh Ride on the old turn table. Those records always take me back to Christmases in the 80's. Wow, it's been that long? Now that I'm older, I simply slip in the CD of ol' Bing and I'm 8 years old again. My parents always made sure we had plenty of presents. Mom would practically come out of her chair when it was time to open them. Imagine what she's like with grandchildren!!! Multiply her hyperactivity by ten!

A Disappointing Christmas

I think my mom went into a funk when she found out that my sister and I no longer believed in Santa. I think the fun of it all was gone. I truly think she was depressed at the fact that her kids no longer got into the Christmas thing like they used to. I was about 10 or so around that time. I had to lay low because my little sister still believed in Santa a few years after I had it all figured out. I think Mom finally decided to make it fun again. She devised a plan to make the day last instead of ripping presents open and be done with it. The very next year things changed.

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A Tradition Begins

So just what do you do with tweens and teens who no longer believe in Santa. I mean they sit around and roll their eyes sometimes when you mention Santa coming down the chimney. Well, you can do what my mother did and start The Great Present Hunt. Just what is The Great Present Hunt? Well, I will tell you how we did it in my house. On our very first present hunt, Mom sent us to the bedroom to wait on Christmas morning. She then called me out and handed me a slip of paper. It was a clue to where the present was. Now when we were younger, my mother made it easier on us. I think she wrote one like "cookies are baking, the present I'm taking to the place where Mom cooks." Well, they rhymed much better than how I wrote it anyway. So, off I would go to the kitchen. I would find the present, and then place it under the tree. It would then be my sister's turn. This would go on until all the presents were found and placed under the tree.

Holiday Movies To Get You In The Christmas Spirit

Did You Know?

The song White Christmas was featured in both the movie of the same name and Holiday Inn, but that the song was not the one that won Bing Crosby an award? No, it was Count Your Blessings!

The Great Present Hunt Adventures

Yes, well Mom did not keep the game simple. As we got older, she and dad became craftier. I remember one year the simple clue "it's where you lay your head, your present is underneath your bed". Well, I looked under my bed. It was most definitely NOT under my bed. They kept insisting that it was and chuckled the whole time. Shame on you parents for getting a thrill out of watching me squirm!! It took over an hour and a few clues for me to figure out that I had to crawl under the house! Luckily, we lived in the South and there was not 10 inches of snow on the ground. I had to belly crawl under the house to find my present! I cannot recall just what it was. Then, there was the year that my present was outside. We had a rare snow that year, and dummy me went out barefoot. I thought it would be a quick jaunt to the garage, but my sister locked me out of the house!! Mom and Dad had no idea what she had done until I pounded on the window. Ugh! My feet were freezing!

Andy Williams singing Sleigh Ride

Passing Our Christmas Tradition On

So, you see even older children can have a great time opening presents even if they do not believe in Santa. We plan on passing on this new tradition in our family. I know when my kids get older I will feel the same as Mom. The magic just seems to die when they stop believing, but with The Great Present Hunt I can continue the fun and extend the time spent together. You just cannot get those moments in time back.

What do you think of our Great Present Hunt?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is great. We did this to our kids with their Easter Baskets, every year.( Hide baskets with the rhyming clues) They looked forward to Easter almost as much as Chritmas. Great tradition...

    • chas65 profile image


      6 years ago

      Good idea to keep the fun of Christmas for the older kids.

    • amkatee profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @MaggiePowell: My parents used very simple rhyming clues. It does not have to be anything elaborate. We waited in the bedroom until a clue was brought to us.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      love the treasure hunt idea... We follow the German tradition, so Santa comes to our house on Christmas Eve. I'm thinking a treasure hunt might be a fun way to extend our fun.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Present hunts sound like great fun for the kids, and for the adults. Very good advice for the kids that stop believing in Santa. :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I found out really early too. Luckily, I had a nephew when I was 8. I got to participate in the "magic" for him. This is a great idea and a wonderful story.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I like this idea, my eldest is 7 and already starting to ask questions, and I feel like an idiot for outright lying to him about Santa! Though my husband assures me it's fine, lol.

    • amkatee profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @yourselfempowered: Thank you. My mom is loving the grandkids, but the Great Present Hunt will continue when they are older.

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 

      7 years ago from Gloucester

      What a fabulous idea! And what a fabulous lens! I really enjoyed reading it! Heartily blessed! :)

    • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image


      7 years ago from McLaughlin

      Thanks for sharing your Christmas traditions! Squid Angel Blessed!

    • smithlights profile image


      7 years ago

      What a great tradition! Thanks for sharing! I've done scavenger hunts for my brother for a few years now.

    • Rhidawn profile image


      7 years ago

      It's sounds exciting! I mean it takes no time at all to rip open presents under the tree...a present hunt sounds like a fun way to make the excitement last! Loved the lens

    • Paul Ward profile image


      7 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Great idea :)


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