Mark Kennedy: My older son is 8 years old, and he still seems to be firmly in the I-believe-in-Santa camp. I've begun to wonder if it's time to take him aside and have the talk. We have a 3-year-old who is just beginning to recognize Santa Claus, so I don't want to create any debates between siblings on the topic. I guess I shouldn't worry. Maybe I'll just let things take their course. Any thoughts, Karen?
Karen Nazor Hill: I've never told my children there is no Santa Claus. My children are 36, 32, 30 and 27. My granddaughter is 2. So, I'm going to go with your last thought that you shouldn't worry, and just let things take their course. I've never known anyone who has had to go into therapy when they made a Santa discovery, is in fact...I'll leave it at that.
Mark Kennedy: Last year we started the Elf on a Shelf tradition, which really energized our older son about Santa. (If you don't know, the Elf on a Shelf is a stuffed Santa's helper that "mysteriously" moves around the house and reports back to Old Saint Nick.) Our elf is named Nikki and his comings and goings were watched intently by the boys. If you have preschoolers or early-grade children, I'd suggest you give it a try.
Karen: Thanks to a column you wrote last year about "Elf on a Shelf," I recently purchased the book and elf for my granddaughter. We will begin the new tradition the day after Thanksgiving. My family has a number of Christmas traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation. My parents, especially my (late) father, was the epitome of Santa. He passed it on to me. And, by the way, I found out about Santa when I was in the third grade. I got up a little too early one Christmas morning and saw "Santa" putting the gifts under the tree. I was surprised, but thrilled to see that he looked exactly like my dad.