Bryce Dallas Howard Reveals Her Stance On Santa Claus

01/26/2010 at 04:00 PM ET
Bauer Griffin

Full swing into toddlerhood and Bryce Dallas Howard reveals that 2 ½-year-old son Theodore ‘Theo’ Norman‘s age made this past holiday season particularly challenging.

“It’s this age where you get to really start to introduce concepts because he’s speaking … and we had the interesting challenge of introducing Santa Claus,” she shares while visiting The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien recently.

As husband Seth Gabel is Jewish and Bryce herself a “Connecticut W.A.S.P,” the actress admits the situation was “tricky” to say the least! “We don’t want to lie to him,” she insists.

“My husband was like, ‘I’m game for this Santa Claus idea, but can we find a compromise so that he doesn’t have some crippling paradigm shift when he’s 8 [and realizes that] Santa Claus isn’t real?'”

Conjuring up a story that portrayed Santa Claus as “a spirit” that appears during the season of giving, Bryce laughs that Theo wasn’t convinced! “Our son immediately was like, ‘Santa Claus? Who’s Santa Claus?’ And we were like, ‘Well, Santa Claus gives us gifts in this spirit,’ and he’s like, ‘Santa Claus? Where’s Santa Claus?'” she says.

As Conan suggested that the first-time parents are “totally over-thinking this,” Bryce shares that he is not alone in his belief; Her father, director Ron Howard took a similar stance on the matter. “That’s kind of what my parents said,” she reveals. “They were just like there’s reindeer, he flies.”

Despite Bryce and Seth’s determination to be “good parents,” the couple eventually waved the white flag.

“We just lost our way and finally we’re just like, ‘Yeah, he’s approximately 300 lbs., comes down through the chimney, [and] you get a lot of gifts. It’s fantastic.'”

Bryce’s new movie The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond is in theaters now.

Source: The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien

— Anya

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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JMO on

I never met an 8 year old who was crippled by the fact of learning there is no Santa….Conan is right it’s over thinking the concept. But it’s a cute story to say the least.

JC on

I haven’t met one either! I don’t have children yet but I started piecing together clues the christmas before that Santa might not be real. Like Santa’s handwriting on the gifts was the same as my moms. It all made sense that my parents didn’t lie out of malice to me for 8 years. The funny part is normally kids find out about Santa first then ask “but the Easter Bunny’s real right?”

Sarah on

Although I do think they are over thinking this, I see where they are coming from! My cousin was DEVASTATED when she found out Santa wasn’t real. She got over it after a week or so but it was a terrible week.

Jane on

I agree with them- I think the whole Santa Claus lie is a huge lie, and children figure out that they have been lied to. In my opinion, it is such a betrayal and breaks down the trust a child has in a parent and kind of makes a fool out of the child. A child probably feels a bit foolish for being duped!

I totally agree with what she is saying here!

I think saying Santa is the spirit of Christmas is a good solution.

Sophie on

Being Jewish I never had Santa Claus, but, we had Sinter Klaas because my father is dutch. I really believed it for years but when I slowly put together that he wasn’t real i didn’t really care because I really enjoyed all the singing and the tradition that went with it.
Now this wasn’t santa Claus, but my sister was completely and utterly devastated when she found out the tooth fairy wasn’t real. She went round telling everyone that you couldn’t trust my parents because they were liars and decietful people. It was a bad month (my sister keeps grudges and can hold on to anger for the longest time- I think she still harbours a little resentment about the whole thing). So I think it depends on the child and the lie, some take it in their stride and others do get angry about it all.

Erika on

I don’t think their kid would be that upset! I never bought that argument- it’s all in fun, it’s not hurting them.

I didn’t really care that much when I initially found out, but Christmas wasn’t quite the same. I mean, I still loved (and still completely do!) the holiday, and I loved the songs, the lights and just the season, but there was something so magical about Santa and waiting to see what he would bring. Showing my parents, and watching them look so surprised and the excitement over reading the letter he would leave for us. But I never wished that my parents hadn’t done the whole Santa things, and I’m really happy they did. The best memories from my childhood were opening presents on Christmas morning, and thinking they were from Santa. And I will definately do Santa with my future children!

Natasha on

I can’t wait to tell my children about Santa, I feel like he’s the spirit of Christmas! I don’t remember going through a life alterating experience when I found out he’s not real… just realized that it was my parents buying all the gifts I got over the years instead of them being made at the North Pole haha.

Delaina on

My dad did, in my opinion, the smartest thing ever when I finally realized there was no Santa. He pulled me into his lap and told me that I’d just become part of the greatest secret in the world, and it was my responsibility to make sure my younger brother and sister (and later nieces, nephews and cousins) didn’t find out until they were ready to “help” with the secret.

It allowed Christimas to remain very special because I was now a PART of something very special.

I’m very thankful he did that, and will have that same discussion with my children when they are old enough.

MammaDucky on

Delaina, what an awesome idea! Your Dad rocks!
I agree that they are over thinking this. I was not traumatized and neither was anyone I know. Seriously guys? It’s all fun and games. I still love Christmas, always have, always will.

Delaina on

I just cannot even tell you how his face looked when I asked him if Santa was real. His eyes lit up and this big grin spread across his face. That’s when he pulled me into his lap and told me. If I had to guess, I’d imagine it was probably a story his dad told him and he passed it on to me. Unfortunately, neither of them lived long enough for me to verify that, it’s just always been a suspicion I had and my grandmother said she honestly wasn’t sure, but it did sound like something my grandfather would have concocted!!

Alice on

Delaina, that’s a great idea. I also remember on a similar post a mom who said that she wanted her child to be thankful for what people bought him/her and said that Santa brought one big present and the rest was from the family. That was very cute and thoughtful!

MiB on

Actually Sophie, Sinterklaas is real (and so is Santa Claus), or at least he was real, he is the personification of Saint Nicholas of Myrna, who was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes.

Mary-Helen on

My 8 year old asked me this year if Santa was real, so I told her that Santa was like fairies and unicorns, they were as real or as pretend as someone wants them to be. She understood and said that she likes believing in magic, so Santa is real in her heart and her little sisters hearts. I figured it was a nicer way of telling her the truth without a flat no.

Sophie on

MiB I know the history, but Sinter Klaas the man with a flying horse who lives in Spain is not real. My dad often plays zwarte piet so Sinter klaas’ helpers aren’t real either. The stories children get told now aren’t real and thats what I’m talking about- not the actual historical characters (i’m not having a go- maybe you misunderstood me).

Karli on

My family has this awesome tradition where after you found out about Santa, you get to be Santa until the next sibling learns. I remember that first year going on a special shopping trip with my mom to pick out the “Santa” things. Then getting to stay up late, after my older siblings had gone to bed to stuff the stockings. To me that was almost more magical than when I believed in Santa Claus. I think it helps enforce that Christmas is about giving not receiving too.

dana on

if she had not married a jew, she would not even have to worry about the santa claus issue. santa claus is from our culture. she would have had a normal conversation about him. because she married a jew, there seems to be some issue from HIS point of view. he should have married one his own. then they have had No REAL holidays to deal with.