I told her it was magic. My answer for just about anything that I am not really wanting to get in depth with or because she just isn't happy with any of my other explanations. "Santa is magic." Usually this works, but I think she is on to me.
She then looked at me, point blank and said, "Mommy, is Santa real?" Sue Sylvester's "HORROR!" rang in the back of my head. I mean, we all know about my Santa issues. But she was looking to me for an answer, an answer that I decided six years ago, before she was born. I gave her a non-committal bobble head and a forced "mmm hmmm." Then I walked away from her to get into the car, thinking that this conversation was done. I kind of said yes, and while I totally didn't feel good about lying to her, but this is a kid who blew the lid off the Easter Bunny for her two best friends last year...and they were kind of bent about it. If her friends are upset about facing the reality that a giant bunny doesn't come to their houses, take their pastel dyed eggs, and hide them, imagine their reactions when Natalie tells them the truth about Jolly Old St. Nick.
In true form, she wasn't done talking about it. So I went to my second standard method of answering questions that I don't want or can't answer. "Natalie, do you think he is real?"
She thought about this for a while and then very rationally said, "No. I think that you and Daddy go out and buy the toys without me knowing and then you wrap them up so I don't know what they are."