Tips for making it look like Santa really came to your house

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Dazzling light displays, charming markets, scrumptious treats and special traditions all help make the Christmas season enchanting. But one special way to help make the magic of the season feel real for your children is to make it seem like Santa Claus really visited your home. Leaving behind these 10 clues will help them believe in Santa Claus for another year.

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Use special wrapping paper

Keep a hidden stash of special wrapping paper that you only use on the gifts from the North Pole. Add tags with Santa's signature written in gold or sparkly ink, making sure to disguise your handwriting. You could also sign gifts from Mrs. Claus, elves or even Santa's reindeer with an ink hoof print.

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Let Santa save the day

Another way to convince your children that Santa delivered their presents is to make it seem like only Santa could've possibly gotten them this present. Drop hints that you dislike something they're asking for, complaining that it's too loud or too big or too expensive. Alternatively, discuss how one of the toys they asked for is super hard to find or sold out, then let Santa sweep in with his special abilities to surprise them with this gift.

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Take a bite out of Santa's cookies

If your children leave out cookies and milk for St. Nick, take a break to have a snack and a drink yourself while getting the room ready for Christmas morning. Leaving the glass empty and taking a bite or two out of the cookies, or only leaving crumbs behind, is a simple way to show Santa stopped by.

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Spill soot outside the fireplace

Whatever way your family believes Santa Claus comes into your house, make it seem like he's come and gone. Leave boot prints and a stray gift tag on the front porch or a special Christmas key hanging from the door that Santa used to get in. If you have a fireplace, leave the gate slightly ajar and have some soot trailing out. If he comes in through the mail slot, maybe some of the white fluff from his collar or ensemble could get caught inside.

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Add a dusting of glitter

If you're not keen to spread soot or dirt around your home, how about glitter? A sparkly dusting of glitter can also indicate Santa's magic was present. You can make footprints with glitter or sprinkle it near the door or on top of the presents for a magical touch. Fake snow also works to help make it look like the presents came from the North Pole.

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Show it in the snow

If it's a white Christmas, leave sleigh or reindeer tracks in the snow outside. Another way to show that reindeer were there is to leave scraps of carrot or other half-eaten reindeer treats. You could also scrawl a message in the snow or leave a freshly built snowman holding a sign with a special message from Santa.

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Leave behind a bell

If your children are fans of the classic Christmas book or animated movie "The Polar Express," leave behind a small Christmas bell. They'll know it must've accidentally fallen off of Santa's outfit or sleigh. Other items that Santa could accidentally forget or lose include a big button from his coat, a glove or even his hat.

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Hide a pickle ornament

Many families take part in the quirky American tradition of the Christmas pickle ornament. Though often described as a German or Old World tradition, the Christmas pickle likely was born stateside. There are some variations, but Santa hides the ornament during his visit, and then on Christmas morning, the first child to find the Christmas pickle gets to open the first present or receives a special extra present from Santa Claus. If your household enjoys the new tradition of Elf on the Shelf, make sure to also hide your elf on Christmas Eve as well to make sure it looks like they've gone back to the North Pole with Santa.

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Catch Santa on video

If your kids need photographic evidence to actually believe Santa came, consider catching "Santa" on film. Tell your kids that you're setting up a camera pointed toward your Christmas tree. Then film you, a friend or a partner dressed up as Santa setting out presents. Keep the room dark and set up the camera either far away or up close enough that you only see Santa's feet or hands. This will help hide Santa's true identity. On Christmas morning, you can show them this amazing proof that Santa came.

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Write a thank-you note

On a special card, pen a thank-you note from Mr. and Mrs. Claus. You can simply thank your children for the cookies and milk or leave a more personal message recognizing all the ways they've been good in the previous year. You can leave it out on Christmas morning, but another fun option is to send one along later in the mail. You could send a postcard of Santa's workshop or send a card with a picture of a tropical destination, pretending that Santa is on vacation after working hard all Christmas season. Showing your children that even Santa sends thank-you cards is a way to enforce one of the most important holiday etiquette rules you should follow.

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