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How to respond to the question "is Santa Claus real?"

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The joy of Christmas is in the air, malls are filled with kiddos and parents excited about taking that infamous picture with Santa. Kids are ambitious, and waiting for Christmas Day can’t get here soon enough, as they wonder what gifts are under the tree. Yet during the interim before Christmas Day, many kids ask their parents, is Santa real. Does he really put the gifts under that tree?

Are you a parent whose child continues to ask, “Is Santa real?" Are you lost for words when your child asks this question? Some parents ponder with, should I be honest and tell the truth about Santa? Is my child ready to hear it? And, for many parents, this holiday season will also mark the first time that their kiddos ask about Santa Claus, which could be a difficult subject to tackle.

Below, Daddy Nickell has the scoop on what to do when your child asks whether Santa is real or not. His tips below should help you handle the situation with confidence and ease.

Take a step back and breathe: When your child comes to you questioning if Santa is real and asking you, the parent, to confirm – one way or the other – take a step back and a deep breath before responding. This will give you a moment to gather your thoughts and answer in the best way possible.

Ask what inspired the questions: Begin by asking your child why they’re asking this question in the first place. Did they hear something from another child at school? Or did they determine on their own that “Santa’s job” is seemingly impossible? If they’ve thought about it long enough and critically enough to determine on their own that Santa might not be real, then it might be time to explain to them that they are, in fact, correct. If, on the other hand, your child explains to you that another child from school just happened to claim loudly that Santa isn’t real, then your child still likely believes in Santa. If this is the case, let them know that not everyone believes in the same things, and that’s perfectly okay, but that if your child believes Santa exists then nobody can take that belief away from them.

Don’t forget to put a silver lining on it: Say something like "Santa is able to personify the spirit of Christmas; the joy, happiness, love, selfless giving, empathy and more that encompass the whole idea of Christmas." Let your child know that when you think about it that way, Santa is simply the face of Christmas.

Be understanding and sensitive: Tackling the “Is Santa Real” question is tricky and not the easiest subject to tiptoe around. Remember to be sensitive, understanding, and even creative in your response! If your child asks if he or she will still receive presents every year, reassure that presents will still magically appear under the Christmas tree every year.

Provide interesting information about the history of Santa Claus: If you are ready to confirm that Santa is not real, then find useful history about the Santa Claus tradition. Provide information on where the tradition originated, how Christmas is celebrated in different countries, etc.

Robert Nickell (a.k.a. Daddy Nickell), father of 7, offers his "5 cents" worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of DaddyScrubs.com, delivery room duds, gifts, and apparel for dads, and the Daddyscrubs.com blog, where he covers topics about parenting and the latest baby and kids gear, all from a Dad's perspective.

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