With under two months till December 25, my kids are planning what they want for Christmas. My kids are 12 and 8 so when it comes to Santa, I still need to play the part for my little girl, though my son has joined in on the helping play Santa for his little sister and I told him there will be no gifts if he ruins that. He has even been known to give me and my wife little tips to do to keep her believing.
If your family celebrates Christmas, and you have the responsibility of being Old St. Nick, I have outlined some little tips of my own that have worked for me. If you do it well, your kids’ imaginations will have plenty of magical moments to feast on. If you blow it, your kids may become prematurely jaded about Christmas.
Being Santa is no easy task; kids today are a savvy bunch, and the truth about Mr. Claus is only a Google search away. The following are ways to preserve the Christmas magic and keep your kids believing in St. Nick for as long as possible.
How to Be Santa Claus for Your Kids
Hide the gifts. The most common Santa slayer for kids is finding their gifts, the same gifts supposedly being made in Santa’s workshop, sitting in their parents’ closet. Around age 6 or 7 kids start getting suspicious about the Santa story and will commence a thorough search of the house to find their Christmas gifts. Kids are professional hide-n-seekers, so don’t fool yourself; they know every nook and cranny in the house. If you don’t have a super-secret spot (mine is the attic which has a pull down stair case so I know my little one cant reach) available in your house, your safest bet is to stash the presents at an offsite location. If you have space at your office, keep the presents there. If that’s not an option, see if you can stash the gifts at a good friend’s house who 1) has no kids, 2) has infants, or 3) has older kids who are in on the Santa jig.
Track Santa on radar. Even little tykes are pretty technologically savvy these days, and look to modern gadgets for affirmation of what is real. Every year NORAD radar realistically “tracks” Santa’s journey around the globe on Christmas Eve. You can show this to your kids as proof that Santa is indeed on the move. Check your mobile store for apps you can use on your mobile devices. I use Where Is Santa for my iPhone. It is only $0.99.
Get the kids to bed. Read the kids A Night Before Christmas and then tuck them into bed. But they’re going to have a tough time getting to sleep; kids are wired on Christmas Eve night, excitedly thinking about all the cool stuff that they’re going to get in the morning. To make sure they actually doze off so you, your wife (and any older kids if you have them) can get to work, tell them that Santa Claus has a sleep detector and will only come to homes that have sleeping children.
Place the presents under the tree and fill the stockings. If possible, wrap all the presents before Christmas Eve so all you have to do that night is put them under the tree. While you’re bringing out the gifts, have your wife stuff the stockings with goodies. Pro tip: In the run up to Christmas, remember to hide the stocking goodies as well as you hide the big presents.
As you put out the presents, be on watch for the children. Kids will invariably climb out of bed to either try to sneak a peek at Santa Claus himself or to see if he’s left their toys under the tree yet. If at all possible, try to catch your kids before they make it near the living room where the tree and gifts are waiting. Threaten them with a lump of coal if they don’t get back to bed. If you can’t stop your kid in time and he catches you in the act, you can lie and maintain their faith in Santa. If you get caught, tell your kid that you and mommy were just putting out each others gifts and that Santa had already come. Swiftly get them back to bed so you can finish the job.
Leave evidence. Unlike most men who sneak into houses late at night, you want to make sure Santa leaves plenty of evidence behind. Eat the milk and cookies, leaving some half-eaten cookies on the plate. If the kids set out carrots for the reindeer, eat some them too, carrots are good for the eyes so it will help you spot the little ones if they try to sneak into the living room. Maybe place a cool gold button near the Christmas tree too, and tell your kids that it must have fallen off Santa’s suit.
Get to bed. You won’t get much sleep tonight, but try to get as much shuteye as you can. You’re going to need all the energy you can get on Christmas Day.
If you have some of your own tips for keeping the magic alive, feel free to leave them down in the comments below.