Any parent who celebrates Christmas knows there will come a time to have that conversation — and when it does, you’ll have a great example to follow. Kristen Bell just revealed how she told the truth about Santa to her oldest daughter Lincoln and it’s kind of genius. The Frozen 2 star managed to maintain the magic of the holiday season while still being honest with her little girl.
For Bell, the dreaded “Is Santa real?” question came when daughter Lincoln was only three. It was then, Bell told Women’s Day for her upcoming cover, that her skeptical daughter approached her for some answers. “She said, ‘I’m just not buying this whole Santa Claus thing. There’s no way he would be able to make it to every single house. You said there’s billions of people on the planet,'” Bell recounted, admitting, “At that moment, my heart kind of sank.”
But instead of continuing with the big coverup, Bell decided to use it as teachable moment. “I pictured her in a more adult situation where she had a sinking feeling in her gut and wanted to ask the question. Was I going to pat her on the head and go ‘Stop thinking about that, I already told you, it’s fine, believe me’ Or would I want to produce the kind of person who goes, ‘I’m sorry, I really do need more information on this’?”
And so, Bell had a heart-to-heart with Lincoln about Santa’s real identity.
To be clear, since Lincoln was only three at the time, Bell did go in with kid gloves. She also had to think of her and Dax Shepard’s younger daughter, Delta, and how to minimize the chance the holiday magic might be ruined for her before she was ready. According to Bell, she did this by telling Lincoln that Santa is “an imaginary game we play because it’s really, really fun.” This way, the little girl understands that it’s not something you talk about so that you don’t ruin the fun for others.
Bell also recommends the book The Wonderful Truth About Santa Claus by B.K. Gendron. The message? St. Nick was real and did once walk the earth, and it was his generosity that inspired parents to start the tradition of giving presents in secret. The beauty of this angle, as Bell puts it, is that “anyone can be a Santa Claus,” which encourages kids to keep the secret and keep believing in good.
For right now, Santa’s secret is safe with Lincoln. Bell says her younger daughter Delta has “heard the rumors” about Santa being a game but, so far, still believes in the magic. “But when she says to me, ‘Is this person a real human being?’ says Bell, “I will have the same conversation with her as I did with Lincoln.”