How old were Britons when they stopped believing in Father Christmas?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
December 21, 2023, 10:13 AM GMT+0

The median age is eight years old

In 2018, US president Donald Trump may have outed Santa as a festive fib to a child during a phone call, saying “Are you still a believer in Santa? Because at 7, it's marginal, right?”.

In reality, it is perhaps not as marginal as the former president believed. Here in Britain, among those who can recall how old they were when they stopped believing in Father Christmas, the median age given is 8 years old.

More specifically, the most common ages people give for the discovery of the true source of their presents were 10 years old (12%), 8 years old (10%), and 7 years old (9%).

One in three (37%) can’t recall how old they were when the veil was lifted, and 4% never bought into the deception in the first place.

When it comes to at what age the public think a child should stop believing in Father Christmas, the median answer is between 9 and 10 years old.

Donald Trump’s blunder is relatively uncommon, with only 4% of adults saying they have accidentally revealed to a child that Santa isn’t real.

In fact, people are just as likely to have purposefully broken that news (5%) – reasons why included worrying that their child was too old to still believe and would be teased by other children, answering honestly to their child’s query, siblings maliciously making the revelation, religious reasons, and worrying about the consequences of lying to their children.

See the full results here

Photo: Getty

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