kids: "If Santa isn't real, then how did our presents get into our stockings?"
mom: "Well, do you think maybe mommy and daddy put them in there?"
kids: "Oh mommy! Of course not. You and daddy would be asleep at night!"
Ditto for the tooth fairy. At least we tried.
(This reminds me of my favorite StoryCorps story from the Christmas season. A woman who had raised six or eight or nine children on her own after her husband left them told her son about how she had managed to have Christmas for her big family on a severely limited budget. She told him, "In our family there was no Santa, of course. I wasn't going to let any man take credit for that." Or words to that effect. My other favorite Christmas StoryCorps story was about a doorman from a big apartment building or hotel in NYC or Chicago who had some actor or comedian come to him at Christmas and ask what the biggest tip he had ever gotten was. "$50" he answered. "Well, here's $100" said Famous Man. "By the way," he continued, "who gave you that $50 tip?" "Well, sir," said the doorman, "that was you, last year.")
The girls also spent much of the Christmas season playing one of their favorite games, Holy Family. They took turns being different people. For a while, King Herod was a big draw, but they couldn't remember his name and so would call him "King Whatever-his-name-is" or "King Haggard." One day Marmot Dad heard them playing King Herod. E was narrating the action: "Mary was caught in King Herod's ropes (he used a lot of ropes to tie people up during their dramas) and the Holy Ghost said to Mary, 'Run, Mary! Run!' " Kooky kids.