If you’ve been trying to keep your child’s belief in Santa Claus intact, you know how difficult it can be! With technology pointing out that Ssanta doesn’t exist, or an older friend or sibling just dying to spoil it, your child is bound to start asking questions soon enough. At some point, you may have to throw in the towel but there are some parents who will go to great lengths to keep Santa alive. You might recognize a few of these…

The Mall Visit

One rite of passage that seems to happen every single year is the mall visit to take a picture with Santa. Whether the child is eight years or eight weeks old, parents will wait for hours to capture this moment, even if their kids are scared and/or crying.

Tip: If this ritual is part of your plan, bring snacks and hit the potty before queuing up. Most of all, bring your excitement because if you seem bored or annoyed while waiting to meet this “magical” person, your kid will definitely get suspicious.

The Sneaky Shopper

You’ve had your child make a list, you’ve checked it twice—and now you’ve got to go shopping! Of course, you probably can’t buy everything they’ve asked for but one major way to keep Santa alive is to at least *seem* like he’s made good on his promises.

Tip: Definitely don’t buy the “Santa” gifts when your children are with you because, if they see it, you’re done! Hide the gifts and then use a very different wrapping paper from the kind you’re using to wrap gifts that are coming from you. You can even write a little note using your non-dominant hand!

The Educated Historian

Kids love to ask about Santa Claus and their questions will only get tougher as they get older. If you’ve got any hope of keeping Santa alive, you better become an expert. Not only do you need to know his whole origin story but being prepared with sources and references will give you some much-needed credibility.

Tip: Why is Santa able to be in multiple places at the same time and how does he move around so quickly? Don’t be stumped when you have to explain these mysteries. Grab a book like The Truth About Santa and let author Gregory Mone do the dirty work for you.

The Flight Tracker

Today’s modern kids know that people get updates on everything from Amazon to pizza deliveries. Parents who really want to go that extra mile can preserve the magic by introducing their kids to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) site where they can track Santa’s movements.

Tip: If you’ll be away from home over the holidays and your child is worried that Santa will somehow miss them, use the Reroute Santa site to give him the forwarding the address. That way, it will make sense that jolly Old St. Nick knows how to find them at their relative’s house or a hotel!

The Reindeer Watcher

Despite the recent concerns some parents have expressed over the classic Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer cartoon, kids love Santa’s reindeers. After all, he wouldn’t be able to deliver all of those presents if his sleigh wasn’t pulled by his hard-working team! Incredibly, there’s a site that offers a live feed of the farm where Rudolph and the gang are gearing up for the big day. Check out the Reindeer Cam for all the action—Santa even makes appearances from time to time!

Tip: For bonus points, add your child’s name to the Nice List and help them find it when you’re on the site together!

The Photoshopper
Take your efforts to the next level by using the Catch A Character app to create images that prove Santa is real (on other occasions, you can do the same thing for the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy).

Tip: Get a good picture of your tree with “Santa’s” gifts at the front and then use that to make a truly customized image. It will look just like he was actually in your house!

The Traditionalist
While there are plenty of modern and even high-tech ways you can work to keep Santa alive, you may just want to go the traditional route. Toss some carrot stems in the front yard for the reindeer and leave out milk and cookies for Santa.

Tip: If you plan to go this route, make sure someone actually drinks the milk and eats the cookies. Leave a few crumbs of course, but you’ll have extra explaining to do if they look untouched.

Keep It Real, But Magical
In the end, while you might be tempted to do everything you can to keep Santa alive, consider focusing on something more meaningful than getting gifts from a big man in a red suit.

Whether you highlight the importance of giving, the infectious holiday spirit, or the story of Jesus, placing emphasis on the true magic of the season will add a joy to Christmastime that will last for many years, even after they’ve discovered the truth about Santa.