“There’s always going to be one kid who was taught not to believe, he’ll say ‘There is no Santa, my parents say there’s no Santa.”

St. Nick believers may then start to say to themselves, “That doesn’t make sense. It actually makes more sense that it could be mom,” he said.

At that point, parents may decide the jig is up and tell children that Santa isn’t real, but more often they simply stop putting up a pretense and let the children put two and two together, Rosengren said.

Both methods are perfectly fine for the children, as long as you don’t make them feel stupid for their belief, Durtschi said.