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.’”