A new Pew Research survey makes one thing clear: Santa is not just for children. A significant share of Americans will pretend that Santa Claus visits their home on Christmas Eve, even some who don’t have kids. Seven-in-ten parents (69%) with at least one child under age 18 say they plan to pretend that Old St. Nick visits their house on Christmas Eve this year.
But even among parents whose children don’t believe in Santa, or adults who are not parents, about one-in-five plan on a visit from him. About one-third of U.S. adults say Santa Claus will drop in on them Christmas Eve, including 23% of those ages 65 and older. Even 11% of people who say they do not celebrate Christmas say they plan to get a visit from Kris Kringle.
Some young adults who are not parents may go through the Santa routine for the benefit of siblings that still believe, and older adults may do so for grandchildren and other young family members. Holiday traditions and nostalgia are also possible reasons Santa remains a part of people’s Christmas routine. Among U.S. adults overall, 72% say they typically got a visit from Santa Claus on Christmas Eve when they were children.