Image by Savvy Nana Travel

I’m not sure how everyone feels about Santa Claus.  I know that there are two schools of thought, those that love the magic of this beloved Christmas tradition, and those that refuse to perpetuate the myth.

The Santa debate briefly raged in our house a few years ago just before my youngest daughter’s wedding.  Her fiance, tho not entrenched in the non-believer camp, put forth the argument that children should not be encouraged to believe in a mythical man. My daughter declared this to be a deal breaker; if their future offspring could not be raised believing in St. Nick the wedding was off.  They are happily married and the doting parents of a precocious 4 year old who will be celebrating Christmas this year complete with an annual photo and breakfast with Santa.  The skeptical man is now fully invested in Santa; he even takes the family dogs for photos with the jolly old elf!  We surely made a believer out of him!

Our family definitely falls in the believer camp.  We do everything we can to keep Santa real for the children in our family.  My then 12 year old grandson wavered in his belief one year, but with a little help from technology we were able to keep Santa real for him at least another year.  (He’s now 15, unfortunately there is nothing we can do to persuade him that Santa is real.  But he keeps up the front for his younger brother and cousins!)

I know some will disapprove, but in my opinion kids grow up to soon in our fast pace world.  I see no harm in encouraging them to believe, reality will come crashing down on them soon enough.

Eventually when they discover the truth they might be disappointed, but if you’ve focused the what the holidays mean to you – family, friends,, faith, and sharing – then the magic of Christmas, and Santa will remain with your children forever.

Here are some tips and activities on how to keep Santa real for your kids this year.

Breakfast, Lunch, or Tea with Santa

We have been going to Breakfast or Lunch with Santa ever since my kids were small.  It’s a tradition we keep up with the grandchildren.

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Image from Package from Santa

Letters from Santa

Watch your kid’s eyes light up in wonder when he receives a letter or package from Santa.  This brought a sparkle to my 5 year old grandson’s eyes and even impressed his doubting 12 year old brother that year.

You can order personalized letter and packages starting at $14.95.  Click here to begin!

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Image from itunes

Phone calls from Santa

Download this App for $1.99 and use it every year.  Santa will call and speak to your child, you can even request a “naughty” message.

Click here to purchase!

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Image from itunes

Emails from Santa

Kid’s can email Santa on this App and a few hours later he will respond.

Get this App for .99 Cents here!

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You’ve Been Jingled!

Play the neighborhood game You’ve Been Jingled!  Have older kids help out Santa boy delivering anonymous gifts to the neighbors, they can be one of Santa’s elves for a day.  This game helps teach   kids that Christmas is just about getting gifts, it’s more about giving and sharing.

 Click here for free printable!  [spacer height=”-20px”]

 

Track Santa as he delivers gifts on Christmas Eve!

Track Santa’s progress around the world on Christmas Eve, we certainly do!  Norad has been tracking Santa since 1955.  These days they have an awesome website complete with maps, videos, and a peek at Santa’s Village.  Click here for the officila Norad website. 

Read a “Santa” book with your children during the holidays.

We always read Clement C. Moore’s classic “Twas the Night Before Christmas” poem before bed on Christmas Eve.  We have several illustrated copies in our home library. [spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

 

Santa Snacks!

Help your kids set up cookies for Santa.  You can learn how to make this simple Santa plate set hereor use what ever plates and cups you already have.

The most important things is to remember to consume the milk and cookies before the kids wake up Christmas morning![spacer height=”-20px”]

Found on smartschoolhouse.com

Don’t forget Rudolph and his pals.

Be sure to leave out reindeer food, you can have kids make some, learn how here!  Or leave out some carrots.

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Give Santa Access

If you don’t have a chimney and fireplace help children make a Santa Key to your place and leave it out on Christmas Eve to make it easy for Santa to visit.  Click here for instructions and  a free printable from Nellie Bellie.
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Embrace the Elf!

Buy and Elf on a Shelf, share the concept of the Elf with the children, and have a great time devising and keeping up with the Elf’s antics![spacer height=”-20px”]

Found on scontent-b-iad.xx.fbcdn.net

Leave Santa evidence.

Just follow the directions here![spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Santa” Gift tips:

1.  Make “Santa” gifts fun and unexpected.

Kids will surely know it’s not from Santa when they open a “Santa” gift that’s a pair of socks or mittens.  You don’t have to buy anything very expensive nor does the gift have to be something on a potentially long wish list.  Just make sure it’s fun and not something you would normally gift your child.

2.  Shop for Santa gifts without the kids.

No matter what you say if the kids see the gift in your Walmart shopping cart they will KNOW it’s not from Santa.

3.  Hide Santa gifts where the kid’s can’t see them.

Keep them hidden until the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve.

4.  Use special “Santa Gift Wrap”.

Don’t use the same wrap you use for all the other presents.  Keep the Santa wrap hidden as well.

5.  Make sure Santa’s handwriting doesn’t look like your handwriting.  This is a first give away, specially for older kids who are familiar with your handwriting.

Other tips:

1.  When kids ask questions about Santa it’s best deflect the question with your own questions “What do you think?” and ask them why they think that.
2.  If you do have to make up an answer keep it simple so you can remember it and reply with the same answer the next time you are asked.  You may not remember your answer, but trust me the kids will and will call you on it!
3.  Watch what you say when kids are around.  It really is true that “Litter pitchers have big ears”.
4.  If you have friends and families who don’t encourage the belief in Santa, respect their opinions and ask that they respect yours.  Meaning they should tell their children to refrain from sharing their non-belief with your children.
5.  Sooner or later school age children will come home from school to say that one of their friends or classmates has challenged his belief in Santa Claus.  It’s a good time to teach children to respect other people’s point of view.  You can start out by asking your child what he thinks and why.  Keep your discussion positive and simple.  You can tell your child that there will always be people with differing opinions and that we should respect those opinions even if we don’t always agree with them.
Here’s a printable Christmas Eve checklist from iMom.com to help you play Santa this year.  Be sure to keep it away from kids’ eyes!
Found on imom.com