Once they found out did they accuse you of lying to them, which is my friends fear?
Oh, MsMarjorie, you and your friends have not been lying to your kids. Santa does exist. Santa is the love people (parents mainly, but many other people too) have for children. The guy in the red suit just is a Representative of that love. He's quite real, in our minds and souls. To deny him is to deny love.
On the other hand, that flying around the world and dropping down chimneys part? Well kids your age are old enough to figure out that the logistics . . . well, you know.
That's the imaginary part of Santa, but part of the fun for "the little kids".
Okay, it's not perfect, but my kids bought it.