Hey, kids under 8 years old, thanks for reading The New York Times. But this time, please don’t. Maybe go play Minecraft or something instead.
… O.K., are they gone now? Cool. Here’s what President Trump said to a child about Santa Claus on Monday.
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) December 25, 2018
Sadly, we do not know how the 7-year-old, named Coleman, responded to the president of the United States’ suggestion that his parents had been lying to him all his life and that he would probably get wise to it soon. The president made the comments from the White House while he and the first lady, Melania Trump, fielded calls from a hotline for children wondering where Santa was.
Mr. Trump’s faux pas was roundly mocked on social media, where he was criticized for breaking the covenant in which we have all agreed to deceive our children.
But in case you’re wondering: The president was right. It is, indeed, marginal at 7.
Most children stop believing in Santa somewhere between 5 and 8 years old, according to several studies. That range has been largely consistent for decades; a 1978 study said that 85 percent of 5-year-olds believed, while just 25 percent of 8-year-olds kept the faith.
One 2015 study from Australia found that children are catching on earlier, perhaps because the internet is full of spoilers.
It appeared the Trumps were enjoying the occasion, which is part of the annual Santa-tracking program run by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, known as Norad. Mr. Trump let out an ear-to-ear smile during his discussion with Coleman, while Ms. Trump called it “one of my favorite traditions.”
And Coleman, who was probably going to figure it out eventually anyway, will now have a story to tell for the rest of his life. Merry Christmas to all.