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When Santa Stops Being Real

When your child starts guessing the truth about St. Nick.

Carrying on the Christmas Spirit

Elliott and Egger agree that the key issue is not so much when to break the news to your child -- his peers will probably take care of that -- but how to convert the belief in Santa into other expressions of the holiday spirit.

"Tell your child that the rituals associated with Santa are just one way of expressing the joy of giving and your love for them," says Egger. "If you have younger kids, let the older ones be responsible for stuffing stockings and being Santa's helper."

This year, my son Justin still wants to put out cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, but he also wants to be the one to put the jingle bells in the fireplace for his six-year-old brother, Drew. He wants to play Santa himself, too, and donate some toys to a day care center for homeless children. I think a part of him will always believe in Santa, but he's also finding more mature ways to express the Christmas spirit.

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