Christmas is a magical time of year, and few things are more magical than Santa. Every family is different, but if you choose to include Santa in your holiday traditions with your kids as they grow up, they will have countless memories of wonder, joy, and magic to treasure for years.
But let's face it: Santa is a lot of work (hahaha). As parents, we're sure you know it takes a lot of effort to make Santa believable and magical for your kids. Which is why we want to help you out a bit!
We brainstormed 11 easy tips on how to pull off Santa for your kids, and they are definitely worth a try. No photoshop, elaborate costumes, or dramatic setup required - just a few clever tricks to make Santa that much more exciting! Read about them below:
1. Leave Half-Eaten Carrots Outside
This trick is so simple and cute! Next time you go to the grocery store, grab a bag of carrots and tell your kids they'll be for Santa's reindeer on Christmas Eve night. The night-of, have your kids spread them around your backyard for the reindeer to find.
That night, break off the ends so they look half-eaten and place them back where your kids put them. Then, on Christmas morning, remind them to check outside! Your kids will be shocked to see that Santa's reindeer appreciated their treats;).
2. Change Up "Santa's" Handwriting
As your kids get older, they might have more questions (and suspicions) about Santa. In order to sustain their belief, try differentiating your handwriting from Santa's when your child gets a letter from "Santa." A great way to do this fast is to keep all of Santa's letters type-written. Mountains of Christmas is a great Christmas font on docs if you need festive ideas!
Another option is keeping your letter hand-written, but intentionally changing your style. Write in all caps, or spice it up with a curlier form of cursive than you usually use. As long as your child can't recognize Santa's handwriting as yours, you're good.
3. Assemble Toys Beforehand
We know, we know - this tip isn't the most exciting or fun in the bunch. Assembling toys beforehand is a major pain, and wrapping the already assembled toys is even more annoying.
Just view it like this: once assembled, you won't have to worry about constructing complicated toys on Christmas morning! You'll be able to be present in the moment with your kids, playing and making memories together. And having gifts already assembled is far more Santa-like than keeping them in the box.
4. Sprinkle Glitter on Your Front Porch or Fireplace
This one is super easy, and it takes less than five minutes. Grab some red or green glitter from your local craft store (something like this). After your kids go to bed on Christmas Eve, sprinkle a bit on your front lawn, backyard, or porch.
Want to be even more convincing? Add a few sparkles to your fireplace (as long as you don't mind the cleanup). You can even grab a boot print stencil if you want the glitter to look like Santa's footprints. Little touches like this make Christmas morning so magical!
5. Disguise Your Christmas Shopping As Date Night
You need to get your Christmas shopping done somehow. Schedule a babysitter, plan a fun (and productive) date night, and tell your kids you and daddy and just going on a date. Then hit all those stores with big holiday sales for major savings!
If you're more of an online Christmas shopper, try picking a night you and your husband can go through all the online sales together after the kids go to bed. Just make sure your kids have no idea you're the one who's ordering them - which means you'll have to be a little sneaky;).
6. Follow the NORAD Santa Tracker
Maybe you've heard of NORAD, the hidden military base in the mountains of Colorado Springs. But we bet you didn't know they track Santa every Christmas season! In reality, hundreds of volunteers help with "tracking Santa", posting updates on the North Pole leading all the way up to Christmas. But as far as your kids know, our government's best resources are being used to track St. Nick - and that's pretty awesome.
You can check out NORAD'S Santa Tracker here. Share it with your kids and let them explore the site! They usually operate from December 1st until Christmas, so you'll have plenty of time before Christmas to peep in on the North Pole!
7. Use Different Wrapping Paper
If you plan on giving your kids gifts from Santa and yourself, make sure you use different wrapping paper! It doesn't take a lot of deduction to figure out it's a little fishy mom and dad have the same wrapping paper as Santa.
You can even try using the same wrapping paper for Santa's gifts every year. Instead of using whatever patterns they have at Target, try using simple brown Kraft paper with baker's twine for a more rustic look. If you need more ideas, check out our article from last year, Cute, Creative Ways to Wrap Gifts!
8. Be Excited With Your Kids
If you're not as excited about Santa as your kids are, your kids might start asking questions. If Santa is real, you should be over the moon about him, right? You don't have to be ridiculous, but adding some enthusiasm never helped;).
Act surprised when they open their gift and it's exactly what they wanted! Show them you're just as shocked to find half-eaten carrots on the front lawn, glitter footprints next to the fireplace, and the cookies devoured. Participate in the excitement, and you'll find it gets a lot more fun for you, too.
9. Never Outright Lie
If you're a Santa family, we know it's not your goal to deceive your kids! You simply want them to have precious Christmas memories full of magic and wonder - and if that's your goal there's no harm in teaching Santa.
However, the Santa ruse won't last forever. Some kids start asking questions earlier, some later. When they ask if Santa is real, be truthful. Be honest, graceful, and loving when that conversation comes - because as much as you wish it wasn't true, your kids won't stay little and clueless forever. And preparing for that moment is also "Santa's" job.
10. Prepare for When Your Kids Learn the Truth About Santa
That conversation will come, and as important as it is to tell the truth, it's equally as important to be prepared. I recently read this article on how to navigate your child asking questions about Santa, and I absolutely loved it. It has some well-thought, practical tips on how to love your kids best through that transition from believing in Santa to learning the truth.
Your child learning the truth about Santa doesn't have to be sad! Make sure to point out the positive side as your kids learn the truth, give them new Christmas traditions to look forward to, and remind them it's okay to feel bittersweet about growing up.
11. Focus on the True Reason for the Season
Some families choose to celebrate Santa on Christmas, some choose to focus on Jesus's birth, and others celebrate both! Whatever you choose to celebrate on Christmas, you know what's best for your family and your kids.
If you believe in both Santa and the Bible, it's important keep your main focus on the true reason for the season. Don't focus so much on Santa that your kids forget why we celebrate Christmas to begin with. Take time to read the Christmas story with them, and discuss why we give gifts to one another on that day specifically. Christmas is a great opportunity to open more discussion about Jesus with your kids!
Whether you go all-out with footprints, carrots, costumes, and glitter or you simple eat those cookies on Christmas Eve night, your kids will have a magical Christmas regardless. You're doing a great job parents - being Santa is hard!
Good luck and happy holidays!
Check out our Christmas bestsellers below (hint: they make for great Christmas gifts from Santa;)
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