Last week, Chattanooga parents’ anxieties over the traditional-but controversial-white lie about Santa that they tell their children every year were allayed.

It turns out-as recorded by scientific evidence-children typically solve the St. Nick mystery themselves and do not subsequently harbor any resentment.

The question of how Scenic City residents discovered the truth about Santa was also posed. The answers? Tales of playing it cool after an older sibling carelessly or mercilessly let the cat out of the bag, happening upon presents while playing with Mom’s heels and even a heartwarming plan to save Mom from the ultimate disappointment that Father Christmas wasn’t real.


David White
“I was in the fourth or fifth grade (yeah, old, right?!?) and was in the front yard of my neighbor’s house across the street where he, my brother and I were standing around talking. They started asking each other when they found out Santa wasn’t real. I just stood listening and acted completely natural, as if I had known all along. And then it all made sense ….”

Kaitlyn Cornett
“I found out about Santa one day when I was 7. I was rummaging through my mom’s closet trying on her high heels. I loved wearing her clothes and shoes. I found a huge box and saw something pink in the corner of it … turned out it was a huge Barbie house that Santa dropped off Christmas Day! Haha, it’s safe to say I wasn’t too surprised that Christmas.”

Phyllis Williams
“My brother told me on the way home from our grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve when we were little. Good brother, nice brother. I was just sure that Santa really could do all he was cracked up to do via helicopter.”

Eileen A. Card
“My older brother (then age 12) told me that there really wasn’t a Santa Claus. I immediately told him that he had better not tell our mother, as she would be very disappointed. She loved Santa Claus. She talked about him all the time and looked forward to his annual visit. I worried for a few days, as I figured out that if there really wasn’t a Santa Claus, then there wouldn’t be any presents under the tree on Christmas morning … I decided to make a plan with my brother.

“He must have felt a little guilty about telling me (at age 6) about Santa Claus, or he was afraid I would tell my mother that HE told me, as he readily went along with the plan. I told our trusted adult neighbor that there wasn’t really a Santa Claus and how disappointed my mother would be if she knew. I told her of my plan and asked if she had any red paint … She purchased the red paint (and white for trim) and two brushes at the local store and gave them to me the next day.

“My brother and I hid our sleds into the woods so that my mother wouldn’t see us painting them …We each added our name in bold letters down the center slat of the sled. Mine read, ‘EILEEN SLED.’ My brother was to put the ‘new’ sleds under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve after my mother and father went to bed.

“On Christmas morning, we started opening gifts when my mother noticed the sleds. She thought they were beautiful. She talked about how wonderful Santa Claus was to bring them, as our old sleds weren’t nearly as pretty as these. And red was her favorite color. It was a wonderful Christmas memory.”