There’s academic research on children learning the truth about Father Christmas



For a 1994 paper in the journal Child Psychiatry and Human Development, Carl Anderson and Norman Prentice, psychologists at the University of Texas at Austin, recruited 52 families with elementary school-aged children and interviewed both parents and kids about the family’s experience of Santa Claus. What they found was surprising: “Children reported predominantly positive reactions on learning the truth.

Parents, however, described themselves as predominantly sad in reaction to their child’s discovery…While children experience distressful reactions such as sadness, disappointment and anger, the degree of such reactions are generally minimal and short-lived.” In fact, they were so unperturbed that 58 percent said they pretended to believe in Santa after realizing the truth—so as not to disappoint their parents.

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