Thursday, December 4, 2014

What to do About Santa



I believed in Santa. 

My husband believed in Santa. 

We turned out okay. We didn't walk away from the Lord or resent our parents. Before we had kids we figured we would do the whole Santa thing. We wanted Christmas to be as special for them as it was for us. But then we actually had kids and we had a big problem. 


Santa wasn't going to work. 

First let me say I'm a huge proponent of fostering imagination in kids. My kids' all time favorite activity is pretending. All day long I have pirates, super heroes, and exotic animals flying through my house. I love it. 

I also want to point out that when I talk about Santa in this post I am specifically referring to believing in Santa, not whether or not he should be banished altogether. My husband wears a Santa hat while we bake cookies. My kids sing along to Christmas songs on the radio and they don't skip over Santa's name like a cuss word. 

But we have decided not to tell our kids Santa is real. More specifically, we purposely tell them he is not. 

If you've been reading this blog for long you know that the whole point is to direct us moms and our kids into living out the gospel. I tried and tried to fit Santa into that plan, but it didn't work. It was like trying to stuff a giant man down a chimney...

There are four reasons Santa didn't make the Wallace team. 

1. Santa promotes works righteousness. That might sound harsh, but keep in mind the aforementioned goal.The heart of the gospel is the glorious trade of our sin for Christ's righteousness. It is a difficult concept to teach because kids are legalistic by nature. It takes a lot of time, prayer, and thoughtful conversations to help them understand that God loves us because of Christ's good works, not ours. 

Then along comes Santa. 

*sigh* 

He's jolly, sparkly, magical, and he promises gifts to children who are good. One of my sons in particular is very sensitive to the damage this causes. He would be so stressed if Christmas rested on his good deeds. Each time he messed up he would buckle down and double up on his good deeds to make up for it. I already have to work with him on accepting Christ's free forgiveness instead of trying to work for it. Thanks, but no thanks, Santa. 

2. Santa blurs the lines between fact and fantasy. So precious are the moments when the kids climb onto our laps for a Bible story. We talk about Jesus and how He lived a perfect life and died for our sins. We talk about the mighty power of God who created the world, parted the Red Sea, and closed the mouths of lions. They listen intently. 

And they believe me

Sometimes my heart aches when I look into their wide eyes and innocent faces and think, "They trust me implicitly. I want so dearly to lead them in the truth." If my husband and I throw Santa into the mix of "true" stories, what will they think later when they find out Santa is not real? How about Noah's ark? How about the ten plagues? How about that Jesus guy who was kind of like a religious magician? We want the categories of true and fantasy to be clearly divided. Characters don't get to jump back and forth from one category to the other.  

3. Santa is a type of god. Some of my readers might be rolling their eyes. But think about it. He is omnipotent (all powerful - makes toys, rides a magical sleigh, goes up and down chimneys). He is omnipresent (everywhere at once - how else could he deliver the presents?). He is omniscient (all knowing - he knows who is bad and who is good). He is eternal. He is perfect. He is the whole package. I can't think of another mythical creature that encapsulates so many characteristics reserved for God alone. When we describe God to our kids I don't want them thinking, "Oh yeah, kind of like Santa." No. God is not like anybody. We want to keep it that way. 

4. It's hard to compete with Santa. Who cares about a baby in a manger when there's a huge man in a shiny red coat throwing presents and candy around like it's going out of style? Kids spend the entire Christmas season looking for signs of Santa. They write him letters. They bake him cookies. And that's just the kids. Playing make-believe takes a lot of work for us grown-ups. We are on the other end of it trying to hide the evidence and figure out how to field all of their questions. All the time and energy we put into keeping up the Santa myth could be spent focusing on Christ's birth. 

Some parents call the Santa myth a lie while others call it pretending. I'm going to call it a huge distraction. My five-year-old asks me questions about God all the time: What does it mean to be a spirit? If God doesn't have a heart how can He love people? If there is only one God why do we call Jesus God? Whew! Talk about tough questions. If I told my son Santa was real I would get all the same kinds of questions. Hundreds of them. Do I really want to take the time to thoughtfully answer my son's genuine curiosity with answers that aren't even true? Do I want Santa to become the focal point of every conversation? 

So where does that leave us with Santa? He's everywhere we go. We can't exactly hide from him. And we don't want to. We treat Santa like any other part of life. We explain him. We use him as an opportunity to teach our kids how to think. We don't want them to run and hide in fear or to venture out on their own to find the answers their parents wouldn't give them. We have open and honest conversations about it. 

When we see Santa ringing a bell outside the grocery store my kids smile and say, "Merry Christmas, Santa!" They giggle and get a big kick out of it. But they don't think he's real. He's not watching them while they're sleeping or keeping track of their good deeds. To them it's just like seeing a guy dressed up like batman. 

And they are having a great Christmas. 

(NEW note: I am so thankful for the great discussion this post has encouraged. One question that has been tossed around is, "How do you keep your kids from spoiling it for other kids?" It's definitely something to address with your family. BUT - it shouldn't be a motivating factor for teaching your kids to believe in Santa. For example, we wouldn't say, "Well, we don't want our kids to be party poopers so I guess we'll have to go along with the Santa thing." From the time our kids are really little they think of Santa as a game. That shouldn't spoil it for anyone. By the time they are old enough to spill the beans we have the talk about some kids believing in Santa. We don't make those kids sound silly or less spiritual. We just say it's a family decision and every family is different. It's a great way to help them put different family decisions in perspective. At some peoples' houses we can eat food in the living room, some let us run in the house, some say take shoes off at the door....and some believe in Santa. It helps our kids learn thoughtfulness and respect for different ways of doing things.) 


Follow me on Facebook for daily encouragement! (And anecdotes     from my crazy life). 


Use the code CHRISTMAS10 and save 10% on your "Gospel-Centered Mom" order! Practical, bite-sized theology for busy moms. 

Photo credit: http://makinbacon.hubpages.com/hub/christmaswallpaperschildrensantatree

506 comments:

  1. Thank you for encouraging a more thought provoking conversation with my husband.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I so much agree. I wish I would have done something like you mention in this page. In many countries in Europe, they still give presents on St. Nicholas day, which I believe is the 7th of December. They still honor this saint for the great works he did. He is not like the North American commercialized SANTA CLAUSE. CHRISTMAS is exactly the Joy and Celebration of JESUS' birth. The modern Christmas is no longer focused in CRIST's birth, but rather SANTA CLAUSE is coming to town, and all of the multi-loads of gifts one can dream for, being so selfish for our wants, that we forget about JESUS. I hope when my children get kids of their own we can do the St. Nicholas day ( one gift) and then simply concentrate on JESUS all to himself and his glory. CHRIST IS BORN LET'S CELEBRATE this MERICAL OF EVER LASTING LIFE made possible through his birth and suffering for us. We are his adopted children. Have a very Merry Christmas, God Bless you all.

      Delete
    2. As a Pastor, I teach our families to teach their children about the REAL St. Nickolas, who was the Bishop of Myra, Turkey and - most importantly - a worshiper of Jesus! I take what has been mythologized to point to the truth ultimately leading back to Jesus!

      Delete
    3. Thank you! This is what I do with my children. Their father was raised with Santa I was not and I am all for imagination with a little magic in life but it needs to come back to God. I have been doing the same St. Patrick, St. Valentine etc. It's not just about green things or candy.

      Delete
    4. We taught our kids that Santa is a man who dresses up in the red suit and loves children and he gives Candy Or small treats.
      We even had a guy from our church who came around on Cmas eve...made for cute Pictures and he brought Oranges!
      We also taught that all Gifts come from those who love us like Mommy Daddy and Grandma.Worked perfect and we didnt eliminate entirely..so the kids knew the whole truth from the beginning!

      Delete
    5. Thank you so much! When I tell people I never told my son that Santa was real, I get funny looks and sometimes people say "Oh, how sad!" or feel that I cheated my child out of something. My son will be 19 this month and I grappled with Santa when he was a baby and decided not to buy into it. I told him I would always be honest with him and explained that God is real and Santa is pretend. Just like when we dress up like a pirate or superhero. It's a fun game. I asked him when he was older how he felt about knowing this growing up and he said he never felt slighted or left out, he was glad I was honest with him. He has a very real relationship with God and I am so blessed for that.

      Delete
    6. I also raised six kids and homeschooled them. We didn't do Santa either and they were still excited on Christmas morning. Now they are grown and have their kids and they don't do Santa either. Friends and family thought we were neglecting them is some way, but we stuck with it.
      Thanks for sharing.

      Delete
  2. You have given some excellent points I hadn't even thought of! Thank-you! A Blessed Christmas to you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. A very healthy and God glorifying attitude regarding this fun but mythical character. Thank you for the insight!

    ReplyDelete
  4. My husband and I have done the exact same thing for the exact same reasons. We decided that when I found out I was pregnant with our first child. I have never once regretted my decision and it's nice to see that others have the sane opinions/cares as I do as a believer! God bless you all!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am so thankful for this post. I truly want to raise my kids not 'believing' in Santa. I am wondering if you have thought ahead to how you will coach them to handle this with peers who do believe in Santa? I would love to raise my children this way and somehow coach them to *Not* be the child who sends the other kids home crying by telling them Santa is not real.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kristen! See my comment down below about spilling the beans to other kids. :)

      Delete
  6. Good stuff. BTW, Santa IS Batman; didn't you know?. ;) Merry Christmas!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. So well said. Also, as I child I never understood why my friends got so many presents (unlike us) and yet I knew they were very ungodly kids. Jesus gives us all the same gift no matter what our works are and once I really understood that...life makes a lot more sense.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is perfectly stated - thank you! We tell our daughter that Santa is a "game" that many people play, but not everyone plays it to the same extent. She has been coached to always "play the game" with other kids and now that she's 9, she has not ruined it for anyone else (that I know of!). God Bless every person out there who respects their children enough to be truthful and trust that they will still have a blessed Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stacy, I wish I had your advice when my kids were small. Because my husband and I did not address the issue of Santa Claus and the kids' friends, my older son became the Christmas kill-joy as a kindergartener!

      Delete
    2. Yes! We were always told as kids that Santa was a game that not everyone played. I told this to a mom who was stressed about Santa and she said she wish she'd thought of that.

      Delete
  9. We don't do santa in our home either. It just occurred to me today too that people make offerings to santa. They leave cookies and milk to appease him, just as others left offerings at the altars of their idols.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't thought of that. Very good point.

      Delete
    2. The cookies and milk are not put out "to appease" Santa. They are a gift given out of love.

      Delete
    3. exactly....and it does not take a huge stretch to rearrange the letters to get
      "satan"

      Delete
    4. I'm on the fence on how I feel about the entire issue, but this really got me. An offering to Santa in the form of milk and cookies?! That IS a huge stretch. To say that leaving something as innocent as a snack (which is put out by many parents - and eaten - to further the excitement of Santa for their children) as an offering in WORSHIP is absurd. Furthermore, the comment about rearranging the word "Santa" to "Satan" is just ridiculous. It is one thing to disagree with telling your children that Santa is make-believe - to each their own - but to condemn the entire idea by insinuating that Santa is in some way of the devil is just a gross overreach and honestly, just sad. Let's have Christianity be responsible for the demonification of Santa...one more thing to push non-believers further from the cross. (end sarcasm)

      Delete
    5. We decided early on not to make Santa a big deal. When child #1 asked if Santa was real, we just asked, what do you think?' Then when the neighbor girl said she was asking for (and probably receiving) the Barbie Dream House that was over our budget, I tried to explain that we don't always get the gifts we want. Later that day, I found her sitting on her bed - eyes closed - talking to Santa and asking him to bring her the dollhouse if she was good. I immediately sat down and told her that parents pretended to be Santa til the children got tired of it and some parents couldn't play the game as well as others. Our whole treatment of Christmas changed radically when we could see how Santa was confusing our child about God. After all, he knows when you've ben bad or good...

      Delete
    6. Why must people latch on to a single (and very minor) point from a well-stated, logical piece? If one doesn't accept the point about cookies being an offering to Santa, so be it. But one cannot dismiss this entire paradigm based on that. I would also reply that it's difficult to know whether or not children see the gift as a type of "bribe" (maybe that's a better term than offering). Do they bake cookies for anybody else annually? Some may, but others don't. So I think it's a fair point, regardless of one's preferred terminology. It's at least worth consideration.

      Also, the post about rearranging the letters in Santa is one of those you don't acknowledge. That's what we call a troll, and I'm quite certain there are no trolls in the North Pole.

      Delete
    7. Santa and Satan?? Really? Please don't discredit a well written argument with superfluous and superficial statements like this.

      Delete
    8. Really! Santa into Satan. Let's not make a mountain out of a molehill. To each his own. If you don't teach your children about Santa, fine by me. But don't resort to making Santa into an evil being because it doesn't fit within your belief of what is "right".

      Delete
  10. Thank you for putting so well into words something that our family has been doing and feeling for many years but unable to express why. Blessings :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. We explained it a bit differently than you did. Our children were already believers in santa before we came to a saving grace knowledge of Jesus Christ. We explained santa as the wise men who brought gifts to the new king, It allowed them to know that santa wasn't everywhere all the time and that he was a human. As far as the gifts go, we explained that we became Gods wise men and brought gifts for our children and loved ones. Our children looked forward to being the "wisemen" and making and purchasing gifts for those they love. I know it wasn't perfectly thought out, but it worked for us in a household that already had santa instilled as an icon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love this! Thank You for sharing. Its a great way to transition when the time comes!

      Delete
    2. Interesting perspective! Thanks for sharing!

      Delete
    3. You are not a Wiseman neither was Santa. Covering up a lie with a twisted version of the Christmas story will continue to confuse them.

      Delete
    4. if you are going to be so judgmental at least take responsibility for your ungodly actions! "Anonymous Sinner"

      Delete
    5. Wow. Look at these responses. To someone who found Jesus AFTER having children and having them believe in Santa. This is why there are so many people who have left religion, God, and churches. And I am for one. Because people like you want to condemn and criticize people and the way they worship, believe and do things in their own home. My son believes in Santa and Jesus. He never talks to Santa as if he were God, we don't idolize Santa and we definitely don't think that believing in Santa will make us Satan worshipers. Wow....I can't... Actually I can.....believe that some "Christians" could be so judgmental. Maybe you are the ones who should be asking for forgiveness tonight as you are tarnishing the image of Christianity.

      Delete
  12. I hear you, but I do have some issues with your post. FIrst of all, I am a believer, and our church is split between families who embrace the whole Santa idea and families who handle him as you are choosing. It is something my husband and I pondered thoughtfully after the birth of our first child. My concern with what you say is that you are putting your childrens' ability to believe in Jesus in YOUR hands....as if it's something that YOU will do. You are not trusting that God can work in their hearts regardless of if they think Santa is real or not. Don't put so much pressure on yourself! It's very freeing. The other thing I challenge you to think about is, are you at all concerned with your children resenting you at some point for robbing them of one of the all time classic childhood experiences? I've spoken with several adults in our church who were raised as you are raising your children, and every single one of them is choosing to raise their children with belief in Santa, at least while their children are little. They all told me they felt robbed of a wonderful experience by their parents, and some of them even said it turned them away from things their parents were trying to teach them, due to nothing more than they resented their parents for being somewhat overbearing. Sometimes it's okay to lighten up a bit. God will work in the hearts of our children regardless of if we tell them Santa is real or not. Don't overthink it. Model for them day in and day out how you, how we all, need Jesus. We are choosing to believe in Santa for now. He is fun. He brings gifts to everyone even though none of us really deserve those gifts (we do leave out the good vs. bad idea). I just caution you on trying to "control" their belief. I know we are all trying to do our best by our children, but this is one issue where I feel some of us are overthinking it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your feedback. While I agree that our kids' salvation is completely in the Lord's hands, we would also never purposely put a stumbling block in their way. According to your logic, any gospel training would be "putting their ability to believe in Jesus in OUR hands." We have a biblical responsibility to train them in the truth of God's Word. There IS some pressure there - pressure (motivated by love) to obey and be faithful, all the while resting in the fact that the results are up to Him and we are forgiven in Christ. To address your other point, I think we have to keep "classic childhood experiences" in perspective. We as Christians don't let the world define what those experiences are. The world calls a lot of things "classical experiences" that we shouldn't deprive ourselves of - drunkenness, premarital sex, etc. We have the opportunity as parents to redefine what "classic" means. It's an exciting a sobering responsibility. From what you described, it sounds like the parents who told their kids not to believe in Santa also had a lot of other burdensome rules and regulations. It's an issue that has to be balanced biblically, just like every issue in life. "God will work in their hearts regardless..." Yes - but God has called us to be faithful with what He has given us. That might look different from family to family, but faithful parenting does not happen by accident.

      Delete
    2. I for one am raising my children that there is no santa, this to me is religiously based. I was not raised to believe in santa, nor did me or my sisters ever recieve a gift from santa and none of us felt robbed, we simply believed in the true meaning of it and nothing more. Christmas is to celebrate Christs birth, whyshould domeone else sharethat day. We as parents dont want someone else to be the highlight on oyr childrens birthdays. So why should God have to share this day.

      Delete
    3. I was raised not believing in Santa. My parents had a similar approach to Santa as the writer of this blog. I had a wonderful childhood and a wonderful Christmas each year! Above all, I consider myself incredibly blessed to have parents who refused to tell even a "small" lie to me (no matter what perceived benefit that lie would have produced) and who also refused to allow Santa dominate Christmas or childhood.

      Delete
    4. And I want to add that I'm choosing to raise my five kids the same way. I think my kids have had MORE fun knowing Santa is fictional from the beginning.

      Delete
    5. I was also raised not believing the lie of Santa and had wonderful Christmas traditions. My husband was raised believing in Santa and enjoyed his childhood Christmases. I don't feel deprived or resent my parents in any way. I feel blessed that my parents choose honesty. We have chosen to be truthful to our children about this issue, and have very similar beliefs as the author of this blog. There are two more things to consider: I had a friend growing up whose parents went all out to foster the belief in Santa. Her dad would dress up and make jingle bells and hoof sounds on the roof. One year right before Christmas, her father moved out; they were getting a divorce. They broke the news to her that Santa was a myth. I remember her crying her eyeballs out, telling me that she lost her dad and Santa at the same time. How tragic. Another thought is financial situations. It would be very sad if your child was used to getting great Santa gifts, then something were to happen financially and you could no longer provide those gifts. I would hate for them to think it was based on something they did. Really, what it all comes down to for us is being honest with our children. We expect that from them and teach them these values, so we should model the same.

      Delete
    6. You can add me to the list of people who grew up without the Santa hype. I have never regretted my parents' decision. I now have my own kids and we did not do the Santa thing. The oldest are teenagers and have not complained about being cheated.

      Delete
    7. I am always so astounded when I think of parents actually telling their kids the whole santa story as if it's real. It is NOT Biblical to do this. It is a lie...plain and simple. I just don't understand it.

      Delete
    8. I grew up in a religious family (father is a minister) and was told Santa was not real. I do regret having that part of my childhood stolen from me. We raised my daughter to believe in Santa and she eventually grew out of it. No tears. No drama. She has nothing but happy memories from that part of her childhood. I eventually moved away from the faith, but it has nothing to do with Santa. I do regret that my parents pushed the lie of God on me.

      Delete
    9. I appreciate your comment. I "believe" in Santa and my four children do as well, but there are many details about him that I have made sure they understand which the author of this article clearly did not. For one thing, we made sure to clearly communicate to the kids who Saint Nicholas was and what he actually did. We are not Catholic, but in order to fully believe in Santa, you need the facts. Otherwise you will be pummeled with the questions this author feared. So we understand the history behind Santa. We also understand he is NOT a god. Not all powerful, omniscient, or omnipresent. But that Santa in fact was a devout believer in Christ and in God's gift of love through Christ. If he was truly all knowing, NO children would get presents from Santa! His gifts are gifts of love and grace because he understands that God loves us all and offers His free gift of salvation to us all, regardless of our works. That being said, we still try to be obedient, not pout, and do good works of love for others; not because Santa is watching us, but because like Santa, we understand Christ's love for us and desire to share that with others around us. We do not believe that our works save us, but we do good works because we are saved (all four of my children included) and we desire to serve Christ. Now, all that foundation laid out, we enjoy the fun of Santa. I suppose we view it quite differently than most because we know the TRUTH about Santa, but we love the fun and it does not distract any of us from Christ, but rather points us toward Him because we view Santa as a man who loved Christ and gave an example of how to share Christ's love with others through charity and gifts. Knowing the TRUTH, we have a lot of fun with the idea of Santa and can thoroughly enjoy all the aspects of the mythical exaggerations that have been added over the years thanks to the Coka Cola company and numerous story tellers.

      Delete
    10. I grew up believing in Santa. My dad was also very strongly against lying and I frequently got in trouble for lying as a child... even for miswording things that could be perceived as dishonesty. when I found out Santa wasn't real, there was some massive disappointment, but more than that was the hurtful realization that my parents had been lying to me my whole life. How could they when I got in trouble for it every time. How could they justify that? They can't. And I can't justify disciplining my daughter for lying while I lie to her about this. My husband and I made a decision that we would always be honest with our daughter. We explained that Santa was a game. She asks us if we can play the Santa game... of course we enjoy it. And she has never missed out on any Christmas fun. She is also more logical because of our honesty. She lost her first tooth yesterday. She asked me to play the Toth fairy game and I said sure! Before bed she whispered to me bot to forget to take her tooth and put a quarter. When she woke to a note and quarter she squealed and got super excited and hugged me. Just like she does Christmas morning when the gifts are out and the stockings are full.. even though she knows it's a game. No joy lost in the truth.... and she knows she can always always trust mommy and daddy.

      Delete
    11. I was not raised with the Santa tradition and I harbor absolutely no resentment toward my parents for "robbing" me of a belief in Santa. They still wanted Christmas to be a fun and memorable time for us kids, so they replaced Santa with other traditions that we looked forward to every year. Let me say loud and clear that my parents don't think Santa is Satan and they don't think that parents who choose to go along with the whole Santa bit are somehow less spiritual. My parents never thought they could control our belief in God, but they did want to make sure that Christ's birth was the focal point of our Christmas. They felt strongly that they didn't want us to grow up believing that our good works got us everything we wanted and that we only need to be good when we want something. They gave us so many wonderful Christmas memories and traditions that neither me nor my siblings have ever felt that we missed out on a magical childhood experience.

      Delete
    12. Both my husband and I were raised knowing Santa was not real (what are the chances of that?!!) Neither one of us feel "robbed" of a childhood experience. To the contrary, I have wonderful memories of Christmas during my childhood! I think I am a more trusting individual because of it; knowing that the people in charge of my upbringing did not lie to me. My husband has very similar thoughts. We did not teach our children that Santa was real, but still allowed them to pretend. Our oldest daughter is now in middle school and has stressed how that it has made a huge difference in her trusting us with other subjects that are hard to deal with in growing up. She trusts that we will be truthful with her, even when it is not the popular thing to do.

      Delete
  13. Thank you for this!!! At what age do you tell your children Santa isn't real to ensure they don't ruin it for other kids? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ashley! It's important to remember that our kids are not born believing in Santa. Any information they have about him will come from us first. So we tell our kids from the very beginning that he is just a game. See my note below about spilling the beans for other kids.

      Delete
    2. We told our daughter it's a game, but that other kids don't know it's game. And we want to respect them and not ruin it for them. We also don't want her to lie. So we just don't talk about whether he is real or not to other kids. We just smile and be happy with people.

      Delete
  14. Being gospel-centered everything keeps you on the gospel bus going to heaven. Salvation is NOT finished, you have to stay within the realm of the same gospel that saved you in order to get to heaven, viz, you have to live out sanctification by faith alone because it is the progression of justification, and the only thing that can keep it going is living by the same gospel that saved you. It's salvation by Christ plus antinomianism--it's a false gospel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paul, see Philippians 1:6 - "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."

      We are not the ones who "keep it going." Our obedience is motivated by love, thankfulness, and holy fear of our deserving God - NOT a desire to stay in the faith.

      I hope today you will find comfort in what many refer to as "The Golden Chain" -
      Romans 8:29-30 - "For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified."

      Delete
  15. When I was a child, my parents did Santa, but placed by far most of the emphasis on Christ. In the third grade when I realized that Santa wasn’t real, I didn’t question my faith or feel lied to…it was just one of my many growing up moments. We have decided to continue Santa with our children. In our home, Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus. Santa is a small part of the birthday celebration…just like the decorations, goodies, music, myriad of activities, ect. In our home, gifts do not come dependent on behavior, so there is no cause for stress for the kids. While my 6 year old has asked questions about Santa, he has asked far more questions about Jesus. My guess is because the focus is more on Jesus than Santa. Santa is one of many things that can be a potential distraction, but it’s up to us to not let it be. Like just about anything, Santa is what you make of him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your input! I agree with your last sentence. It's a responsibility to take very seriously.

      Delete
    2. My kids are now 27 (she enjoys shopping for candy with me for "stockings") and 28 (he never has admitted to a disbelief in Santa and is a fully functioning adult with a college degree) Santa brought one small (under $10) gift and a stocking when they were growing up. There was no what do you want Santa to bring you? Their other presents were from us. There was no watch your behavior - presents are like God's gift to us - given out of love - not a reward for good behavior.

      Delete
  16. How about that Santa (and Christmas) all promote the idolatry of consumerism that is so characteristic of our society? That should've been the number 1 objection to teaching your kids about Santa. Along with militarism and nationalism, consumerism is the other god that led Israel astray from YHWH in the Bible. Our American culture is strikingly similar to that of Israel and Judah, just before it ended.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thos is a Catholic and protestant difference omce again, their was a saint Nicolas that the world added some ficrion characteristic changes in order not to tell the children the true Catholic St. Nicholas story. He helpwd rhe poor kids wirh toys and gifts. But rhat is tje story you ahould tell them that in time people chamge peoples character to support their view and beliefs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your feedback! Yes, it is helpful to tell our kids the true story behind Santa.

      Delete
  18. Thank you so much for the encouragement and insight! As far as "spoiling it for other kids," it's definitely something to address with your family. BUT - it shouldn't be a motivating factor for teaching your kids to believe in Santa. For example, we wouldn't say, "Well, we don't want our kids to be party poopers so I guess we'll have to go along with the Santa thing." From the time our kids are really little they think of Santa as a game. That shouldn't spoil it for anyone. By the time they are old enough to spill the beans we have the talk about some kids believing in Santa. We don't make those kids sound silly or less spiritual. We just say it's a family decision and every family is different. It's a great way to help them put a lot of family decisions in perspective. At some peoples' houses we can eat food in the living room, some let us run in the house, some say take shoes off at the door....and some believe in Santa. It helps our kids learn thoughtfulness and respect for different ways of doing things.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Growing up we celebrated St Nickolas day and learned the story of St Nick. On the night of the 5th we would put our shoes outside our doors and we would get small gifts in them, often Christmas decorations. That was the start of Christmas for us and it lasted until the feast of the epiphany on Jan 6th. It was never a question of if Santa was real, he was, he lived a long time ago and the reason he gave gifts ours the same reason we do... To celebrate Christs birth.

    ReplyDelete
  20. We celebrate Saint Nicholas' feast day on Dec. 6, the real "Santa"! And Santa Claus, who evolved from Saint Nicholas, is also mentioned in our house, but the center of our Christmas celebration is preparing for Christmas during Advent and then keeping Christ in Christmas. We also celebrate the real days of Christmas which are Christmas Day and the 12 days that follow until the Epiphany when the Wisemen visited the Christ Child.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As long as you teach them that Jesus was 2 years old when the Wisemen arrived

      Delete
    2. The Truth someone knows it Satan Santa. Easter Ishtar No eggs from a rabbit fertility goddess Ask Holy Spirit to show you his truths. The real truth

      Delete
    3. Awesome, Calvin Clay and David Reed! Someone knows their Bible well! So rare!

      Delete
  21. Thank you for this post!! As a mom of 4 boys, this conversation comes up with family and friends every year. Your article conveys exactly how we feel and why we do what we do! I was just having this conversation with a family member yesterday and shared the same thoughts! Nice to hear from a like-minded Mom!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. A Christian friend of mine made a good point. She said when her mother finally told her that Santa wasn't real, her thought was that she could see Santa but he is NOT supposed to be real, but she can't see Jesus and he IS supposed to be real. She said it was a very confusing period in her life. Children are so literal minded and we have to keep that fact in the forefront of our thinking about fantasy and reality. That's exactly why when I teach small children at church, I never use fantasy figures or books so that I can always say that everything we learn there is REAL, since it all comes from the Bible. Pretend seems to be a word small children can relate to in this situation.

    ReplyDelete
  23. My thought is we do not take our kids to Disney World and start the vacation by saying...now everthing here is pretend. We allow them to have fun, imagine, pretend. All children eventually realize it is pretend. This does not affect their spiritual walk. Yes, each family has to do what God leads them to do. I can say personally I married a preachers kid...who was not allowed to believe in Santa growing up. After his childhood, he chose to have Santa in our home for our children.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, we did just that with our four-year-old on his first trip to WDW. We had a wonderful visit and he was not afraid of anything there. We also downplayed the Santa thing and let him know we were playing the game with others. He's 29, and he's fine. He still loves the Lord, still enjoys the visits to WDW, and still loves his mom and dad. There's a great book called "Santa, Are You for Real?" that we read with him that really helped when he was very small. There was a series of those books for almost all holidays and I, as a children's minister, highly recommend them. We used the Easter bunny one and also the Halloween one. Our Savior should not have to compete with anyone on the celebration of His birth.

      Delete
  24. As a youngish believer mom we probably didn't make it about Christ enough, but what we did was take the focus off what gifts could be gleaned from Santa - mine were allowed to ask for a single gift only to allow for Santa to share more generously with those kids whose mommies and daddys couldn't afford any gifts. I see now from your well stated point that we missed the mark of emphasizing Jesus, but Christ was central to our celebration regardless.

    ReplyDelete
  25. We too, choose not to tell our kids that Santa is real.

    However, point #1 is off terribly according to what the bible actually states.

    Our sin isn't traded at the cross, our righteousness is established - not a righteousness in purely forensic terms; we are made truly righteous though justification.

    At this point the marriage begins, through Christ, and only through His church.

    Getting married is the easy part, staying married is where the onus falls upon us as faithfully obedient servants of our Savior.

    According to the Gospel, our faithfulness is indeed rewarded by God (John 1, 2Pet 3, etc,). Therefore, our good deeds, rightly done, will merit favor.

    Herein lies the rub, and where most Christians go wrong, terribly wrong.

    Our good works do not simply prove the presence of the Holy Spirit within us, but rather becomes what measures our commitment to the marriage covenant to Jesus. Our deeds matter! After all, on judgement day will be be judged as either a faithful servant or an enemy by these very works (2Cor 5, Matt 7, Luke 6).

    It may seem like making a mountain out of a molehill, but it's to the contrary, actually.

    Stating that our sin is traded is heresy, and will lead to CERTAIN damnation - see Galatians 1, making special note of context and specifically verses 6-8.

    Teaching our kids that good works produces good results and even rewards is NOT a bad thing, it's a GREAT thing that is in lock-step with the Gospel of Christ.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that our good works are proof of God at work in us, perfecting the salvation that He began in us, but yes—I do agree with the author that it is biblical (NOT heresy!) to say our sin was traded. Just as sin was imputed to us through Adam, righteousness is also imputed through Christ. ("So then as through one transgression there resulted in condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted in justification of life to all men. For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous." —Romans 5:18-19).

      Also, I read this description of imputed righteousness and thought it was a good one: 'Since their acceptability is based on God's actions, nothing humans do can forfeit their status as accepted. Sin can result in God treating them as disobedient, but not in God disowning them.' (That is not a bible quote, just something I found written on the internet, but I think it is in line, theologically.)

      Here are some things that *are* directly from the bible to support that this it isn't heretical to say our sin was traded for righteousness:

      "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21

      "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

      I do agree with you that "teaching our kids that good works produces good results and even rewards is NOT a bad thing, it's a GREAT thing"—I think that is true! I just do not think it is THE thing that saves us or earns us good things, and that is the tricky thing to instill in kids (in everyone!) because it's so counter to so much we've seen around us and experienced forever. It is important "to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called" (Eph. 4:1), but super important to make sure the why and how of our walking is clear: why (because we have been given a gift we don't deserve and haven't earned, and that Jesus suffered the things we *do* deserve and *have* earned so we wouldn't have to) and how (we are only able to walk in a manner worthy because of God at work in us—He gives us the calling to do so, and He gives us the ability). Putting the why and how in place = freedom to rest in what He's done for us, and continues to do in us, striving to live every day to His glory but knowing our sanctification has not yet been perfected. Yet though we continue to struggle with sin, it does not negate that we've been declared righteous.

      I think the author of this blog post would likely agree that faith and works go hand in hand—works prove the faith—but is probably choosing to focus on *not* emphasizing the good works since there are so many opportunities to learn the wisdom of goodness breeding goodness throughout every other day of the year. Good works are so hugely emphasized at Christmastime—that our worthiness is entirely *based* on them, implying it's up to us to be good in our own strength to earn favor—they overshadow the birth of the only one who was ever *able* to live a perfect life.

      Wow, that was long—thanks for giving me something to chew on this early Monday morning! Merry Christmas to you, and to the author of this blog post, too!

      Delete
  26. I particularly appreciate your separation between teaching your children to "believe in Santa" and treating the idea like it's a cuss word. I agree with all of your points whole-heartedly except your first one.

    I can't see how Santa's good works detract from the gospel. Nothing in the Santa story insinuates that Santa went to heaven because of his good works. It almost seems like you've painted "doing good works" to be a bad thing, when good works are fruit of the Spirit in us. The concept of a man who gives presents to children because he loves children should inspire us to be generous, which is a good and godly thing (even though it's not what gets us into heaven) just like Paul being joyous in prison should inspire us about perseverance.

    I am on board with you that faith much more important than good works, but don't belittle good works; they're an imitation of God, which is what Christianity (imitators of Christ) should be doing.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I agree with all the points you made! :) When I was young (many years ago!! ;) I attended a women's Bible study where a dear older saint spoke on this topic. I was single at the time but had been brought up with Santa. What she said has always stuck with me. If you switch the letters in SANTA around.... you get SATAN. At first I thought she was going overboard... then when I got married and had kids and we were trying to decide how to handle the whole Santa issue, her words came back to me. What she was saying rang true. What does Satan always want to do??Take the glory and the focus away from the Lord Jesus Christ. In this case.... making Santa the focus (or a large focus) of Christmas takes our eyes off of Jesus. (I am NOT saying here that people who "believe" in Santa believe in Satan!) I am just pointing out that Santa could be a tool of the evil one...leading people to focus on something other than Jesus. And if people are focusing on something other than Jesus, then they are not being confronted with Him, and what His birth means for them and their lives personally. If we think about Easter.. the same thing occurs with the Easter bunny... It is something that is cute and fun but once again turns our eyes away from the crucified and risen Savior. My husband and I taught our kids about the real St. Nicholas and the good and kind person he was, and how his good works served God and others, but we don't follow the popular culture as far as Santa is concerned! We give our kids gifts for Christmas and we hide Easter baskets at Easter, but we have made sure that they know they are from us. Thanks for posting your thoughts!

    ReplyDelete
  28. My husband wanted to do the Santa thing until the day our little boy said "Santa is real. Jesus is pretend!" Then my husband realized we couldn't do that. We just called Santa a "fun pretend." It worked great - since there is no way to avoid it.

    ReplyDelete
  29. What do your kids say when someone asks them what Santa will bring them? We are struggling with trying not to ruin it for others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would have them reply with a simple, "I asked for x, y, and z." Remind them that people will ask/talk about Santa and that they don't want to hurt people's feelings by saying "Santa isn't real." Just my two cents.

      Delete
  30. Help! What does a Gospel centered mama do that introduced Santa when children were little and now regrets it? It has been weighing on hearts heavily this year. We have never lied to our children but always asked them "What do you think about it?" They have conjured up their own thoughts but we have failed in setting them straight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Admit your shortcomings and explain the truth. My sister just had this hard conversation with her 11 year old, who still believed (and wants to continue believing), but my sister was feeling very burdened by it, as well.

      Delete
  31. How about letting your kids decide for themselves? Are you going to hate them if they grow up and choose not to follow the word? Kids are magical, and if you're taking away Santa, consider taking away the Pirates (who pillage and plunder, not a Jesus building block), and the superheroes who fly or best their villain with brute force. I just can't see the harm in Santa. It's not like the kids will one-day open the church of Santa Christ.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a big difference here. Super heroes are clearly pretend. Parents go out of their way to convince kids that Santa is really real and actually brings them their presents, etc. The magic of Christmas doesn't have to be some guy in a red suit. There is plenty of wonder in the fact that Jesus Christ humbled himself to come and be born in a lowly manger to save humanity from their sins.

      Delete
    2. Ask any child about Ninja Turtles or Batman. They're not pretend to them.

      Delete
    3. As a K5 teacher, so true....and so sad!

      Delete
  32. Why is this such an angry topic? We don't do Santa for many of the reasons you stated and more and people get so upset! I can honestly say I have lost at least one friend over her disgust that we don't do Santa! I say we teach our children to understand Santa instead of to believe in Santa. Something that lays heavy on my heart about Santa is the inability of 99.9% of the population to comfortably afford the newest Christmas gadgets and gizmos (a problem for all not just Santa believers) and yet the pressure to get what is on their list or what they told Santa they wanted or risk them losing their belief! My 4 year old passed away this summer and I had an epiphany in his last days. My father in law believed that God was like Santa and was trying to hold him accountable for all the good he had done in his life. He had "been good" he deserved what he was asking for. I think Santa makes it harder to understand the realities of life and continue forward in faith when things don't go your way. Since when has God's way ever been you do X and I will immediately reward you with exactly what you asked for down to the brand name and model number? Great article!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. I really don't understand it. I have never went up to a family that does Santa and criticized them for it, but people--even strangers, friends, and family alike, have plenty to say about the fact that we don't do Santa. It's so strange to me. It's like doing anything slightly outside the mainstream makes you an automatic target. So silly.

      I am so very sorry for your loss! Prayers for you right now, especially in this season. I may not know you, but the Lord knows.

      Delete
  33. God loves you because of the work of Christ? You have taken a lot of thought into dealing with santa with your children, it's be a challenge for parents for years, When you have some alone time I would greatly encourage you to take a whole new look at the Hebrew scripture, God Loves us! (just an adult to an adult conversation) take care

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Curious. Which Hebrew scripture?

      Delete
    2. Yes, God loves us, and because of Christ He accepts us and allows us to be at peace with Him. Isaiah 53

      Delete
  34. Wow I'm so sad you have made God so small

    ReplyDelete
  35. Not only do I disagree, its blogs like this why I use my classroom to help explain to my students why its OK for their future children to believe in Santa and still be Christian. I am glad god has placed me in a classroom full of seniors so we can have open discussions over topics such as these. I dare to say that you have lied to your children. Not negatively or necessarily to be deceitful, but you have lied at some point. We can agree to disagree but this blog will make excellent discussion material for my classroom this week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why not teach your students to do their own research, search their own hearts, follow the Lord's leading for them personally and make their own decisions? Why is it so important for you to teach them to do things like this your way?

      Delete
    2. This is exactly the reason my kids will not attend public government education facilities like yours. Because instead of leaving parenting to the PARENTS you are teaching them contrary to what the parents have taught. You have no right to do that. Why do you think you have the right to speak against someone's parenting choices?

      Delete
    3. Why do you assume this is a public school teacher? More likely this is a private Christian school teacher with an agenda to indoctrinate his/her students. At public school, students would study this subject in terms of critical thinking skills, but wouldn't have the religious implications of Santa pushed on them, though it might come up in peer 2 peer discussion. That's the joys of public education...leave religious indoctrination as a parental responsibility.
      -Public educator, Christian father, and Santa truther

      Delete
  36. I'm not a believer, but I agree that Santa isn't a desirable figure for anyone. Thank you for your insight.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Great post! Our family agrees wholeheartedly. The waters are muddied a little bit by the foster children we often have in our home. So many of them are taught about Santa in schools and at home, and we don't necessarily feel it's our place to debunk his existence. May I share a post I wrote about this topic? It's called The Right Seeds; a child's heart is GOD's territory! Sowing there is a sacred task. http://adivineencounter.com/the-right-seeds

    ReplyDelete
  38. I'm expecting my first child early next summer and my husband and I don't plan to teach our children to believe in Santa either. I think we probably have a lot of the same ideas as you on the whole Santa thing. My question to you is, how do you teach your children to handle other kids and families who DO the whole Santa thing like we all did growing up. I want to respect other families, but I don't want to look like the bad parent with my child telling them Santa isn't real. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  39. My husband and I feel exactly the same way. We both grew up with Santa, but have chosen to not do it with our children-and my parents did Santa well. In fact, they never made him out to be omnipotent or all-knowing. They even told me that they had to pay him for our gifts hahaha. I don't look down on others who choose to do Santa, though, and we will encourage our children when they are old enough to understand to not ruin it for others. Thanks for this post-it was not at all judgmental, but simply thought-provoking. We were not ruined either, but we chose to not do it for the same reasons you stated.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thank you. This is our take as well. May little girl pretends Santa is real just like we pretend Elsa is real when she is playing Frozen. She knows he isn't and she knows the story of St Nick where we get the idea of Santa from. We don't do elf on the shelf but instead out nativity scene comes together over the month of December as the wise men start way across the house seeking Jesus.

    ReplyDelete
  41. When we had the conversation with our kids we likened Santa to Mickey Mouse..it's fun when we take a trip to Disney World to go see him and get our picture taken, but is he a real mouse? No. My son says that would be really scary! So goes the Easter Bunny :) It's fun, we get a basket with candy, we get presents on Christmas..but the real gift is Jesus and His gift of salvation.

    ReplyDelete
  42. My husband and I had a gospel awakening regarding "Santa", when our children were small. They already believed in Santa, so it was a difficult transition. I'm sure we didn't do the best job, but I do think they understood we wanted to be faithful to our God, and not glorify a fictional icon. Our grown children now celebrate Christmas "with Santa" with their children, but he has a much lower priority than when they were small.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Great post! Perfectly summed up by my 3 year old, "Santa is pretend. We celebrate Jesus' birthday on Christmas."

    ReplyDelete
  44. Great post! I didn't believe in Santa growing up and still loved everything about Christmas. I have a one year old and probably won't teach my kids about Santa, but love the way you word the reasons behind it.

    ReplyDelete
  45. The spirit began showing us these things as we had children. Thanks for sharing your heart. I will be sharin your blog.. We didnt have fb during the day of diapers and babies. It is so important to think about the kingdom of God is effected. God is so much fun and is full of good things always.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I remember 1 time as a child attending church with my family. We always celebrated Christmas, along with Santa, and I have fond memories of thise times. My cousin was raised Jehovas Witness and was never allowed to celebrate Christmas, birthdays or join in any group activity at school. I was saved in my 20's and both of my children enjoyed the Santa expierience. My cousin was saved in her 40's, sat on Santa's lap for the 1st time and really regreted not allowing her children to enjoy those childhoid experience's. Sometimes we as parents take the JOY out of our children's young lives. Being an adult is hard and very stressfull at times. Let children enjoy their childhood along with attending church and learning all the wonderful stories of the Bible.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thank you for posting this. My husband doesn't want to do Santa and I was hesitant about it because my family has always done it and is been really fun. But we always made sure the kids knew the true meaning of Christmas so I didn't see the problem with including Santa. But I talked to my sister in law about it because she doesn't Santa and she made me feel better about it and sent me a link to this post and now I'm fine with the idea of not doing Santa and it's what I want to do. So thank you

    ReplyDelete
  48. I have number 5 to add to this. Santa doesn't accept everyone just as they are. Christ does. Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer. Watch the movie, read the book, both say that Santa did NOT accept Rudolf because of his red nose. He didn't accept him until one foggy night, then he accepted Rudolf. Then he saw his worth. (Stupid old man)

    There's too many special needs people in this world that need acceptance just as they are. They should not have to prove their worth to any one. Christ accepts us just as we are.

    "Just as I am without one plea.
    But that Thy blood was shed for me.
    And as Thou bidst me come to Thee
    Oh Lamb of God I come, I come."

    ReplyDelete
  49. Not sure my previous post made it. I was raised believing in Santa. My parents made sure that we never forgot the true reason for Christmas. I completely respect everyone's individual decisions but for those Christians that feel guilty about wanting to keep "Santa" around here is a good read...http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2011/december/why-santa-belongs-in-your-kids-christmas.html?start=1

    ReplyDelete
  50. My 3 year old knows Santa is make-believe. Adults are always asking her what is Santa bringing you for Christmas. She just stares at them because she doesn't know how to respond. My husband and I do not know what to tell her to give as a response especially if other children are around. Any thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
  51. We had foster children who were used to Santa and had no idea what the true meaning of Christmas was. We have never done Santa at our house so these children soon learned that he was make believe. When the parents found out they were upset and told the case worker that we said Santa wasn't real. The case worker said who's birthday do we celebrate at Christmas and the parents said Santa's.. How sad that our country has forgotten the Reason for the Season.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Jesus wasn't born on Christmas. We celebrate Christmas because the roman Catholic church wanted to take away winter solstice celebration away from the pagans. All of your children will not be Christians when they grow up. You have to let kids be kids and have fun and a sense of imagination. You take away their whole lives when you ram a religion down their throat at an early age. They will rebel against you and now that you've been warned don't cry when it happens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, we celebrate Christmas on December 25 because it was already a holiday in the Roman Empire (the rebirth of the Unconquerable Sun) so Christians were able to celebrate Christ's birth that day without facing persecution. If they had celebrated on another day, like a day closer to when He was actually born, it would have drawn attention to them and they would have been arrested and killed for their beliefs.

      Delete
    2. I have heard this and have actually watched several believers live this out by not celebrating Christmas. This is confusing to me as a believer. If we are a believer, why wouldn't we celebrate when the rest of the world celebrates the birth of our Savior and our Lord? Do you then celebrate in the summer on some chosen day you think in legalistic terms was the actual day? Believers that I know who are legalistic on this point do not do that. At that point, to me it is all just legalism so you don't celebrate at all. Some celebrate Christmas because they are celebrating the birth of Jesus and some celebrate who are not believers and make it about presents. It is true the Roman Catholic church changed the date to bring pagans and believers together and the other commenter is true as well, so believers were not persecuted. Neither should push their own beliefs on another. It is a personal decision for each family what Christmas is about and how they celebrate. Children will decide themselves as adults. My parents taught me about Santa, imagination, and having fun and I grew up to be a Christian at 30 year old. Now with a family of my own I do not teach that Santa is real. I teach on my Christian beliefs and also teach my children a tolerance and respect for others beliefs who are different than ours.

      Delete
  53. We teach our kids that the fake Santa, the one people dress up as and the one they hear about in songs, is based on St. Nicholas. He was a real man who lived a long time ago and loved Jesus, and because he loved Jesus he followed Jesus' command to give to others secretly. This way it turns the whole Santa thing back to Jesus, and, rather than teaching them about getting presents for being good, it teaches them about giving to others for Christ's sake rather than for recognition.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Thank you for this post...agree with you totally!! I grew up believing in Santa (Christian home) and I don't remember it affecting me when I found out the truth, but I also don't remember it making my Christmas any better. I do know that I felt bad for not thanking my parents more and realizing how much they really did try to make all my "Santa requests" come true. With our 3 kids, we started out from the beginning not doing Santa. We have had some tough financial years, and they are more appreciative for what they do get because they know that the Lord has provided for everything we have! My biggest problem with Santa is how materialistic and selfish it makes kids today...they can ask for whatever they want and they're supposed to get it. Not Biblical at all! The Bible teaches us that it's better to give than to receive...that's why we get our boys to help us in buying gifts for local needy kids, pack the Operation Christmas Child boxes, etc. Our desire is to teach them to be like Jesus everyday...loving, caring, and helping those in need. We have a great Christmas morning...they do get a couple of gifts (whatever our budget allows) but when they're done opening we don't here "Boy, Santa sure was good to me!" instead we hear "Thanks mom & dad, and thank you Lord for blessing us!" :)

    ReplyDelete
  55. My husband and I had the wonderful privilege of having children in a country where Christmas isn't celebrated. As one of only a few dozen Christian families in this Muslim city, we had no social pressure to celebrate Christmas in any particular way and could decide as a family what to do. We decided to focus on the Christ child. We decided to give Christmas cookies to our Muslim friends and neighbors and use this as a chance to spread the fantastic, miraculous news of Christmas. We did decide to do stockings and find a tree somewhere because they are a beloved part of our childhood Christmas and since so many of our Muslim neighbors have seen these on American movies, they gave us a chance to talk about Christmas. We also very easily decided to not do Santa. Everyone knew about Santa and thought that we thought that we worshipped him at Christmas. I am still surrounded by Muslims here in America and when I see commercials on TV that show Santa and baby Jesus side by side, (I live in Texas where they still show Jesus on TV), I know that this confusion is even greater. We love Christmas, we think Santa is a fun little story, but we choose to focus on Jesus. (By the way, my brother and his family have different choices, and that is ok too. This is just the prayerful choice of my family)

    ReplyDelete
  56. I enjoyed this post and agree with what you wrote. My main reason for teaching my kids (who are now adults) that Santa is just a mythical person was my strong belief that I should be honest with my children. How can they ever trust me if I teach them something I know is not true? So while I think, as one reader stated that switching around letters in Santa to spell satan is overkill, I also can't justify blatantly teaching children something that isn't true. I always thought about how devastated I would have been had my parents told me Santa is real and then I would have learned differently. How could I do that to my kids? So while we always enjoyed movies like Miracle on 34th Street and also the more recent Santa films, I always told them it's just a fun story like one of the many fairy tales they enjoyed. They never gave any indication they were sad they missed out and they had very healthy imaginations. Rather, I think they were glad they knew we would always tell them the truth. Having said all that, we never made it our mission to inform other people's children differently than what they were taught at home. I deeply respect a parent's right to choose how to raise their child. I enjoy a good discussion though. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was our philosophy too! It was hard, since it was unusual, back in the day way before the turn of the century. But my kids trusted me. (Although my kids did get into trouble with a relative when they were 10 and 12. Seems her kids of the same age did not know he was not real and my kids told them. She was furious. I wondered why their friends had not told them at that point.)

      Delete
  57. Thank you. Same here. We actually did the Santa thing for a few years but last year our oldest was 5 (our twins were 1), and he started asking a ton of questions. So we told him the truth. We had been debating it for years and I'm happy with our decision. But our family members, who are Christians, are appalled. My mom was even "poking fun" at me in front of her co-workers when we went to lunch together a few days ago. Sometimes it's hard to stand up for your convictions.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I love love love love (etc) this!! You put into words what I've been thinking and feeling about Santa but was not able to express. Perfect. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  59. The unintentional irony...

    ReplyDelete
  60. Not to mention that the whole "Christmas" thing is a "catholic" holiday - Protestants are protestant (even evangelicals) because they were protesting against Catholicism. If you are interested in learning the facts behind Christmas I encourage you to watch Truth or Tradition - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGgt_dsdLWs God's people should be doing Godly things in Godly ways.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Also a little tidbit and how sneaky the great deciver is.... Take the same letters to spell SANTA and swap the N to the last letter. Spells satan. May not be a big deal to some but just shows how easily we can be tricked. Countless children loose the true meaning of Christmas because of this sneaky little "innocent" game we play called Santa... Even if they are not permantly damaged as Christian adults look at all the materialism, commercialism and give me, me, me the season brings about. Even people who love to give will go in debt just to give gifts that truely are not needed and the stress to pay off the money just hurts the family unit... Vicious cycle.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Instead of flat out telling one's children that Santa is not real, they could teach their children where the whole idea of Santa came from... Saint Nicholas. He, Ironically was a very gracious, gospel centered man. He kept 3 young ladies from being sold into "slavery" (because their father couldn't afford their dowry). Saint Nicholas secretly gave them money for their dowry. Our society has sadly corrupted the memory of this saint. Here is an excellent site all about Saint Nicholas....He even has his own day, and its not Christmas day! http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/

    Comparing Santa to Saint Nicholas

    Santa Claus belongs to childhood;
    St. Nicholas models for all of life.

    Santa Claus, as we know him, developed to boost Christmas sales—the commercial Christmas message;
    St. Nicholas told the story of Christ and peace, goodwill toward all—the hope-filled Christmas message.


    Santa Claus encourages consumption;
    St. Nicholas encourages compassion.

    Santa Claus appears each year to be seen and heard for a short time;
    St. Nicholas is part of the communion of saints, surrounding us always with prayer and example.

    Santa Claus flies through the air—from the North Pole;
    St. Nicholas walked the earth—caring for those in need.

    Santa Claus, for some, replaces the Babe of Bethlehem;
    St. Nicholas, for all, points to the Babe of Bethlehem.

    Santa Claus isn't bad;
    St. Nicholas is just better.

    ReplyDelete
  63. http://www.amazon.com/Awkward-Moments-Childrens-Bible-Vol/dp/149217744X

    ReplyDelete
  64. You said:

    "And they believe me.

    Sometimes my heart aches when I look into their wide eyes and innocent faces and think, "They trust me implicitly. I want so dearly to lead them in the truth." If my husband and I throw Santa into the mix of "true" stories, what will they think later when they find out Santa is not real? How about Noah's ark? How about the ten plagues? How about that Jesus guy who was kind of like a religious magician? We want the categories of true and fantasy to be clearly divided. Characters don't get to jump back and forth from one category to the other."

    You're going to think this is an attack on your beliefs, but it's not. You're also going to think that Santa and Christianity are different because of the Bible, they're not. More importantly I want to beg you to consider your reasons for not endorsing Santa (the myth).

    You kids do trust you to tell them the truth. This trust is necessary for them to survive their young years. Your desire to teach truth seeking to your kids is admirable and should be a persistent quality of any good parenting.

    But there is a problem. You are still teaching them WHAT to believe as true. Instead, you should be teaching them HOW to figure out whether something is true or not. We should instill in our children a deep rooted desire to think critically of everything, including our own truth claims. If the claims are true then they will have no trouble holding up to their critical questions.

    This is where you will use FAITH to teach them that "trusting" you and other authorities on this one really important thing is required. They are not allowed to think freely and use their critical thinking to ascertain for themselves whether it's true. Faith will cheat them in the long run. It is an unreliable method of truth discernment and as they gain wisdom will ultimately lead them to question your parenting.

    If truth, is what you want your kids to seek, then EVIDENCE, EPISTEMOLOGY and SCIENCE are what you need to teach, not faith.

    Parenting is hard. Don't use religion as a crutch. That is a cop out. Let your kids challenge you, let them ask tough questions of your traditions, your faith, your system of epistemology. If you find yourself struggling for good answers, maybe it's time to rethink your "Santa".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the voice of reason

      Delete
  65. I agree with your post completely. My wife and I have a 9 month old little boy and plan to follow the same pattern you guys have. So far, we have had a lot of push back from grandparents and siblings that also have children. Have you had any experience with resistant family members and how did you guys handle that?

    ReplyDelete
  66. How is Santa any different than some magical bearded man who lives in the sky? You people are delusional.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Point 2: Should be Fantasy and Fantasy, you just try to leave out one fantasy (Santa) and include other (Jesus, god created world , parted the red sea, lions crap) so anything after it is completely invalid. Its ok for now, since they are only kids and once they grow up, hopefully they learn, question, analyze and think on their own and realize that everything they knew was fantasy.

    ReplyDelete
  68. We played Santa, but we didn't tell our children he was real. (The same w/toothfairy, easterbunny, harry potter, and leprechauns.) We told our children that a man named St. Nicholas obeyed God's call to care for orphans. We wanted Christmas to be about Jesus. We made Christmas a big party to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We had a big dinner like we do for each of our family members. We baked and decorated a cake. We made cookies in all holiday shapes. Our girls would wait at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning, jumping up and down, with bright excited eyes. In Christian preschool, my daughter was asked if she loved Santa, She responded, "Oh, we love to play Santa!". She didn't say he wasn't real. That teacher ran down the hall, to my classroom, to RANT at me in front of my class. Her top concern was that I was destroying my children's imagination. That daughter is now a very talented art major with emphasis in computer generated art and new media. Her perspective is priceless. Toy Story's 1,2,3 explain the amazingly creative way my children played at home. They are happy, bright, loving, creative, intelligent, beautiful, and well-rounded young ladies who know that God loved us so much He gave us His Son. Isn't it interesting that in our current society we are supposed to accept everyone beliefs and view points, but concerning fairy tales people are scolded for not teaching their children that the fairy tales are real. I would not change one thing about how I delivered fairy tales to my children.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I am so grateful that this is now much more acceptable. We had our first in 1989, and were much criticized. My kids are grown and still love Jesus and Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  70. Thank you for this lovely article! It's nice to see that we are not alone in our choice to not do Santa. There have been times where I've worried that our girls might resent us when they get older or feel like they were robbed of an experience. However, we do lots of fun things during the holiday season and our girls LOVE Christmas and look forward to it every year. We go look at Christmas lights, make gingerbread houses, go to holiday parties, etc. Their Christmases are just as full and fun as other kids, just w/o Santa in the picture.

    ReplyDelete
  71. As an older Mom who's actually been there, may I add: I believe in the magic of Santa Claus! I will always believe in the magic of Santa Claus! The good that is a part of the season is what I celebrate. Too many 'Christians' have turned the holiday that we all need in December into a buying/debt fest and have lost the good that is around us. It's frustrating to me to listen to all the drivel about how we can only celebrate Jesus' birth on December 25 (he was born in June, folks). The winter holiday is something that has been needed by al(most) all humans, and is big enough to be shared. It doesn't bother me that Christians want to celebrate Jesus' birth on December 25, but it does bother me that there are those who are so selfish they can't understand another person's need, on the sole basis of their learned behaviors. God is so much bigger than your concept of your religion. Really, he is! Expand your imagination to include the rest of the world. They're out there! Want another pet peeve? Stop with the XMAS!!! If you're too lazy to write out Christmas, could you at least use CMAS? At least that way you're not crossing Jesus Christ out of the season...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christians should actually research and understand the origin of this event, and what the bible says about following the traditions of men. This would at least remove the idol worship we see through putting up a "christmas" tree. If only...

      Delete
  72. Perfectly stated. Very repeatable and useful. Thank you. This will be shared around a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  73. Thank you. I agree! Amen! Truth is still truth

    ReplyDelete
  74. Growing up, Santa was the good man working for Jesus. As baby Jesus received three gifts from the Magi, so did all of us kids receive three gifts from Santa, as a reminder. And three items in our stockings - apple, orange, and nuts. The Tooth fairy and Easter bunny we knew about and all the other secular beings, but they faded fast. We just weren't interested.

    ReplyDelete
  75. I thought it was a nice tidy story to tell my kids about St. Nicholas like others have mentioned and bring it all back to Jesus and his teachings. However I recently read this and want to make sure I am teaching my children historically accurate information: "In the 1970s, the Second Vatican Council formally stated that no Roman Catholic bishop by the name of Nicholas had ever existed. The Catholic Saint Nicholas has a confusing past. He was a compilation of two separate saints (one from Myra in Asia Minor, the other from Pinora)." What do you all make of this?

    Also, what DO you tell your kids about December 25th? It wasn't the birth of Christ. It's an arbitrary date. What exactly are all of you celebrating on December 25th? I'm having a hard time reconciling this and not mixing modern cultural customs with how this "Christmas" thing ACTUALLY began...which history says was long before Jesus' birth. Here I have this crèche up...I know how I feel about Jesus and his teachings...but I find myself wondering, what does any of it have to do with December 25th?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I recommend that you do some research on the pagan tradition of "Yule". This is where "christmas" derives from. There is a book out there called "Too Long In the Sun" that does a very good job of explaining how pagan traditions over time became part of the protestant movement and subsequential "christian" church.

      Delete
    2. Well, actually, I personally know about all of that but I guess I'm wondering how to teach that stuff to children. (My kids are very little still, 3 and 5, but very curious about all of the customs). All of the "Christmas" stuff seems like such a conglomeration of history that I don't even know how to boil it down for such little ones. I still want to celebrate Christmas even though I know it's not what the Christians I know think it is. I still do Santa. I'm not Christian. But still, this conversation and the Christian perspective interests me very much as I want to learn about the holiday and the religion. I will look for that book. Know any resources for children?

      Delete
    3. And I also truly want to know from Christians what it is that they celebrate on the 25th...I don't see how you can untie that date from Pagan origin, right?

      Delete
    4. I don't have any recommendation for children material in respect to the pagan origins of christian holidays. However, I personally believe this subject carries enough weight that it should not be boiled down. It may take more time to teach it and for it to take root in their mind, but ultimately they will be better for it. Also, I emplore you to think about this bible verse: Luke 17:2 - It would be to his advantage that he have a millstone hung around his neck and he be thrown into the sea, rather than that he ensnare one of these little ones.

      Delete
    5. Huh. Okay. My questions still remain, but, thank you. Hope someone can answer/dialogue about it.

      Delete
    6. That's odd that the Vatican would say that since it's so well-documented that Nicholas of Myra was at the First Council of Nicea in 325 and signed the Nicene Creed. I've never heard any Christian scholar, Catholic or otherwise, say that he wasn't real. He was actually known as one of the most outspoken opponents of Arianism, and some say even slapped Arius. Out of curiosity, where did you read that? I'd be interested to see it because I've studied the Vatican 2 and definitely never heard that.

      As far as why we celebrate on December 25, there's a very good historical reason. During the first few centuries AD, there was a popular Iranian cult that made its way to the Roman Empire and soon became the favored cult of the emperor. Followers of Mithras, this cult, celebrated the rebirth of the Unconquerable Sun on December 25. Once it became the favored cult of the emperor, December 25 became an official holiday all over the Empire as the emperor ordered everyone to observe it. Christians, who at that time were under heavy persecution for their beliefs, chose to start celebrating Christ's birth on that day because they could do so without calling attention to themselves (and because they obviously wanted to celebrate something other than Mithras). Everyone else was already busy celebrating, so the chances of them noticing that the Christians were celebrating Jesus and arresting and killing them were a lot lower than if they had celebrated Jesus' birth on another day closer to when He was actually born. When Christianity became the official religion of the Empire, they made December 25 the official day of "Christ's mass" since that was the day Christians had already been using to celebrate it for over 200 years.

      I hope this helps!

      Delete
    7. Thank you, it does help. I mean, I guess I KNEW where the 25th came from, I'm just surprised it's still THE date that is chosen as it doesn't totally make sense to me. But yes, that helps...it's just a custom and I suppose there are many, many, customs we just continue to carry out so many years later and the significance is still there. I read that thing about him never existing here: http://www.hope-of-israel.org/cmas1.htm I truly have no idea how reliable this source is it's just something I came across recently and thought, what? (The title of the webpage alone is annoying and presumes no Christians know the Pagan history and that he is *shocking* you about your beloved religion. *rolls eyes* It's interesting to read but sort of an insulting tone to Christians. Thanks for your response.

      Delete
  76. Thank you so much for this. My husband and I go back and forth about what we are going to do - we have a two year old, so we still have another year. I like your approach, but I do have a concern about what my daughter will say to other children. What has your experience been with this?

    ReplyDelete
  77. Excellent - My husband and I did the same thing. It came about when we were teaching our children about missionary work. How could we explain the needs - when Santa could just help kids all over the world. So we "play" the Santa game, and explained that some children do believe that Santa is real. It is the responsibility of their parents to explain the truth, so we asked them to just play along with other children. We LOVE to watch Santa movies and enjoy Christmas very much - it hasn't harmed my kids either. They are 11 and 9 - we have no regrets.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Let me first say....I'm a Christian and put God first in my home. However, this article and these comments are ridiculous!
    "They leave cookies and milk to appease him, just as others left offerings at the altars of their idols."

    "Confusing SANTA and SATAN"

    Do you hear yourselves? I'm glad that each family can make their own decisions about this. We don't give tons of gifts at Christmas, but my kids believe in Santa and we are creating fun memories for them to have for a lifetime. Just like your parents did for you. I love keeping traditions alive. And by the way....my kids know the difference between God and Santa. I think if you would give your kids the opportunity they would also know the difference. Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Luke 17:2 - It would be to his advantage that he have a millstone hung around his neck and he be thrown into the sea, rather than that he ensnare one of these little ones.

      Delete
    2. Wow. Why and How are you comparing this verse to Santa? Like I said.....ridiculous.

      Delete
    3. I am not comparing the bible verse to Santa, that would certainly be ridiculous as one is a made up historical figure and the other is a statement from the messiah. Yeshua is saying here that it is better for a person to throw themselves into the sea with a huge rock tied around their neck than it is to deceive children ensnaring them in a lie or series of lies. It was meant to be food for thought.

      Delete
    4. http://119ministries.com/the-green-tree

      Delete
  79. A thousand times yes, I agree 100%. The biggest issue for me as an adoptive parent is the LIE. He is a big FAT LIE. My kids were 10, 5, 3 and 2 at adoption. The older three all said "he never came to see us when we were in China." So they already know he's a lie, and that he actually doesn't visit all the good boys and girls. I agree with the other points as well. I was going to write something similar but I will just post this to FB instead. Thank you for putting it all together here succinctly.

    ReplyDelete
  80. I think this is a very interesting viewpoint and it is something I have been wondering about recently because of my youth pastors. They have informed me that they do not plan on telling their three-year-old son about Santa, and plan to avoid the jolly guy altogether in order to focus on the birth of Jesus. While I think that is GREAT (the focusing on Jesus part), I see no reason as to why they should not be able to also incorporate some of the traditional holiday stuff, like Santa, into Christmas time. As far as I can remember, I always knew about Santa (and I'm still in high school so I remember a little bit farther back than some adults because I don't have so many other experiences up in the old noggin'), and that never affected how I viewed God. In fact, my sisters and I always wrote letters to Santa and my mom set this thing up with my uncle where he would send us letters "from Santa" in the mail every Christmas. It is important to note, however, that "Santa" always reminded us of the true meaning of Christmas - the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ- in the letters he sent us. So we still had fun with the whole Santa thing but my sisters and I all really knew what Christmas was about. We grew up knowing that we didn't have to write to God like we did to Santa at the end of the year, we knew that we had a "direct line" and that we could talk to God twenty-four hours a day seven days a week if we so chose. And guess what, we grew out of Santa - because you know what, he isn't real, and we were smart enough to know the difference between fact and fantasy as you say because my parents didn't raise a bunch of sheltered Christians (and it's not like I found out Santa wasn't real in like ninth grade or at some obscene age like that, I was still in elementary school). Kids are smart, smarter than a lot of people give them credit for, it is not too difficult for them to figure out the difference between our all powerful God who is omnipresent and Santa who comes around once a year. Trust God that all that learning in Sunday School and church will overpower the little bit of Santa they get at Christmas time. Lighten up my friends, God has the whole world in His hands, including your precious little ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beautifully Written. Thank you.

      Delete
  81. My husband and I agree. We also have four boys, and taught them from the start the true meaning of Christmas - including that fact that Jesus wasn't born on December 25, that's just the day we celebrate His birth. We've also taught them about the real St. Nicolas, and how he lived his life.
    I wish I could share a photo of my four boys (taken in 2003). Looks so much like your picture above. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  82. My brother and I grew up believing in Santa but we still new Jesus was the more important reason for Christmas. Now that we have kids, he chose to tell his kids that Santa is not real. However, my kids believe but they know that Jesus is more important. There is nothing wrong in believing in the Spirit of Santa. We believe in the spirit of Jesus right? I am in my 30s and I still believe but I also know that God sent us the best gift, Jesus.

    ReplyDelete
  83. I recently had to make the decision in whether to tell my son if Santa was real when he cornered me. My instincts told me to be truthful and I was. I know he was a little disappointed because he had gotten all the hype from everywhere else. I did it for the same reasons that were mentioned above. I have read him the voice of the martyrs version of St. Nicholas and tell him that Nicholas was real and we should give like he did. I don't want to deal with telling my son someday that I lied to him. I know people say it poses no damage to give them magic to believe in, but I deal with all types of people when I evangelize. Many of them believed that adults lied to them about Jesus when they were a kid and now that they are adults, they believe they know better. I don't want my son to associate growing up with no longer believing in fairy tales and wonder if he should throw Jesus in the pile.

    ReplyDelete
  84. It's great to hear of someone who has taught their kids as we have about Santa. Christmas has always been about Jesus' birth in our family. We just told our kids that Santa wasn't real, like Batman or Superman. They understood the real joy of Christmas was Christ coming to save us from our sins!

    ReplyDelete
  85. Thanks for posting this article, this is exactly what we are thinking with Christmas and Santa. My husband and I grew up in families that didn't believe in Santa but still had Santa cookies and decorations. We didn't believe he was actually coming down the chimney, but we never missed out on any of the fun!!

    ReplyDelete
  86. Excellent blog!!! I grew up with Santa Claus and was absolutely DEVASTATED when, in the 4th grade (innocence lasted longer in the 50's than it does today) I was told by a friend that "Santa wasn't real!". I've heard that I sulked the entire rest of the season. But then, I got over it and played along deceiving my younger brothers and sisters... Fast forward 20 years when I met my husband, whose parents had raised their children with the truth...that Santa Claus was not real. They celebrated Jesus' birthday with a birthday cake. They had stockings but no surprise gifts left in the dead of night ...a mix I suppose of the traditions because they had been raised with Santa. We have chosen, like you, not to teach Santa to our children. It really bothers me when churches have Santa Claus at their churches for all of the exact reasons you listed above. The only one you didn't put that we have thought about (granted it only works in English, but...)...try mixing up the letters a bit and see who else's name can be spelled from the exact same letters!

    ReplyDelete
  87. Thanks much for posting. I was going to comment but the comment became an unwieldy post. So I wrote it all out and put it up on Facebook.

    If anyone is interested, it is here:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=920247101321296&set=a.446043378741673.110696.100000080443288&type=1&theater&notif_t=like

    ReplyDelete
  88. I get the concern but as a believer, deacon's daughter, mommy, and public educator for over a decade of students I encourage you to consider how you would be different/better if your parents had done this to you? This is impossible to not be biased on but REALLY ponder for yourself how you would have felt. You grew up with that joy. Why cant Santa be a man who gives gifts at Christmas to remind us that the BEST gift GOD gave was HIS BEST most precious possession...JESUS and because of that we give our best gifts to family and friends. Santa is just another good role model on earth pointing us to God's goodness. Just a thought to chew on...

    ReplyDelete
  89. Members of my family know that I am a well documented Santa-nut. I was the one putting out the cookies every year. I hung the stockings. I STUDIED my Santa Claus Book like I was going to be tested on it. As I got older, I opted to take the little kids to bed and keep them there rather than participate with the older ones in prepping the living room with presents for "Santa's Arrival" because I didn't want to spoil the atmosphere for myself.

    I can assure you I did not grow up confused about what was real and what was not. I did not lose my faith in my Savior because of Santa. In fact, I did not lose my faith in my Savior! On the contrary, like Paul, I am a man who has put away childish--but not child-like--things.

    Santa was a reason, at Christmas, to look for joy inside myself and become a child/childlike in ways I just couldn't muster other times of the year. Mostly because at other times of the year not many other people were playing along--but in December, a lot of the world was. Deep down, I knew it was an elaborate game, just by the way my parents acted (game face, game voice), but I didn't want to be TOLD. I never wanted to be told. I still don't.

    Santa is real, because, like theater, he puts a face on feelings. I still believe.

    ReplyDelete
  90. You know, there is exactly the same amount of proof for the existence of god as there is for Santa.

    ReplyDelete
  91. We totally agree with you at this house!

    ReplyDelete
  92. YES!!!!!!!! My heart jumping right off the screen! So well and beautifully written! Thank you! I am not alone and not a "child-abuser" for telling our kids Santa is not real. xox

    ReplyDelete
  93. We are with you. We have taught our 5 yr old daughter that Santa is not real for the same reasons. We have taught her about St. Nicholas, and we have used St. Nicholas day as a way to teach her about giving to others. We even had a conversation the other day about what to do when we see "Santa" around town or in the Christmas parade, etc. We told her that it's okay that we see people dressed up as Santa because they can help us remember that Christmas time should be about giving to others, not what we can get from others. God gave us the most precious gift in His Son, Jesus Christ. That should be our focus.

    ReplyDelete
  94. I wish I had known more about Santa when I was younger, before I had children. My explanation to my children would have been so different. Study history, there really was a Santa Claus, and it caught on and spread across the world. No he isn't this man with the reindeer that flies across the skies and visits every child in one night. He is a person that God has filled his heart with so much love for children that he gives them something to look forward to every year. Someone that the joy and love from these children overflows his heart. Someone that just wants to see the happiness and joy in a child's eyes. There isn't just one Santa. The important part to me is that we never ever loose sight of the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. There is only one Jesus Christ. I am so proud of my Uncles and Aunts that make these special memories for children. This is another Uncle Santa, Uncle Wayne, he has visited this little girl in her home for several years running... I truly feel this is a special calling. God has a purpose for all of us... Santa's bring joy to children. The change I would have made, is telling a child at some point all their memories weren't real, that there isn't a Santa. That person that they visited once a year was real, and cared deeply for them and we as parents were just his 'helpers' in making their wishes come true.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Totally disagreeing here. I was told the gospel truth and to believe in Santa, which is basically "The Spirit of giving"... Never thought "good works" would get more gifts. .. nothing to do with good works. However, it did promote good behavior. I am a Christian and believe I've raised my children well. Truly do not get the"big deal" about celebrating Christmas - Jesus' birthday and including Santa - AKA St. Nicholas (who was real), AKA St. Nick, AKA the Spirit of giving.
    I grew up knowing, loving, and enjoying both Jesus, my Lord and Savior, and Santa, the Spirit of giving.
    I turned out just fine. My children are not warped because of the wondrous belief and excitement of a visit from the Spirit of giving! I still believe in Santa because I choose to believe. That Spirit of giving is a great example of God's love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us-being the greatest gift of all. Do we not now want to continue to strive to be on our best behavior for God, knowing we will never be perfect as Christ was?
    Are we warping or children by giving them the wonder and magic of believing that putting on their best behavior pleases the spirit if giving much the same as pleasing our God (Also the Holy Spirit)?
    We turned out ok and enjoyed the magic of this wondrous time of year-why do folks, now as adults, want to deprive their own little ones? ?
    I've always said, when they stop believing, he stops coming -if you don't believe in the spirit of giving, why should you receive. My heart chooses to believe that in teaching them all about Christ and Santa (The Spirit of giving) They grow to want to share that Spirit of giving to others so that they may feel that same joy. ... and isn't that the reason for this Magnificent season?
    "Joy to the world. The Lord is come"..... Even the Christ child received gifts from the magi. These wise men where overwhelmed by the Spirit of giving! It's really that simple - God led by example and gave the greatest gift of all. There is no harm in teaching our children the joy of giving and receiving. .. Afterall, Christ is a gift, we must receive Him.
    And by the way, my girls have grown up to be very loving and giving, which the Bible teaches us is Christ like behavior. I do not feel I have lied to my children in any way nor have I taken away from the true meaning of Christmas. .. it's all in the presentation. I did take the time to put much thought, heart, and soul into revealing the truth of the gospel of Christ's birth and purpose in a way that Santa can be incorporated as an example if His true characteristics.

    ReplyDelete
  96. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  97. I appreciate (almost) everyone's comments.

    BOTTOM LINE~God is not threatened by the perpetuation of the myth of Santa; nor can Christmas traditions water down the Truth & everlasting saving grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    BUT~ I am so very encouraged by the purposeful parenting (on both sides of this issue) represented in these posts. Let's just remember to support one another, as parents, and endeavor to offer the crazy/unbelievable/undeserved grace, Jesus extends to ALL of us, to one another.

    Merry Christmas!! Smile more, ya'll..

    ReplyDelete
  98. My son is 6 turning 7 next year. I have told him all along that Santa - or Father Christmas as he's better known here in South Africa - is not real, just pretend. He's fine with it :)

    ReplyDelete
  99. I have told our kids 2, 5, and 15 that Jesus is the reason for Christmas, and that the "spirit of giving" is what Santa Claus [who is not real] is all about. They are fine with.

    ReplyDelete
  100. This is EXCELLENT. We're totally on board with your point of view on Santa with our kids, but this post gives me more words to explain why. You did a great job of breaking it down in a non-grinch sort of way. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  101. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING THIS!!! As a momma to 5 kids (8 to 2), we are battling this very thing! Our family tells our kids the truth for the exact same reasons you shared, but it is looked down upon even in our Christian school! It has been frustrating to explain this to other people so that they understand where we are coming from as parents and believers. THANK YOU!!!

    ReplyDelete
  102. I also was raised with Santa but as a Christian found myself in a hard place as well on this topic. We have taught our children about Saint Nick and all the good he did as a real live person, giving to the poor and being a follower of Christ. We explain that because of his honorable and selfless actions there is a "Spirit of Giving" associated with St. Nick / "Santa". We wore Santa hats in our Christmas card one year to represent that and that picture is always on display over the mantel at Christmas time. My children know that it is not their place to tell children he is not real and it is the parent's place to tell when they are ready. My main reason is number 2 - I need my children to know everything I tell them is the truth and they never ever question that or that I would ever lie to them on any topic. We don't tell them about the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, or any of those other made up stories either. My 13 year old daughter said the other day there is a picture on social media that a friend showed her that makes fun of believing what parents say after they lied to them about Santa, Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy... she said to me "I couldn't say that about you though". We never push our beliefs on other adults or talk about these types topic with other adults. There is really no need, but your article is great to support others who struggle with the decision or with why others have made the decision. It is our decision that we feel is right for us. We support our friends who practice differently than we do and never judge. And our friends support us and do not judge us. That is very important.

    ReplyDelete
  103. How convoluted can you be to think that Christmas trees and Santa Claus are bad things to teach and show our children?

    No one has ever said that Santa Claus is all powerful or perfect. That is what corporate America has turned it into, but that does not mean that the spirit and meaning behind Santa Claus is a bad thing.

    The spirit of Santa embodies the idea that it truly is better to give than to receive. How is this wrong? The idea of a man committing himself to see others happy is truly horrible. Why would God want us to ever do that? Hope you are sensing my sarcasm in that statement.

    Corporate America has twisted it, yes, but to crucify the idea because of what somebody else has turned it into is wrong.

    Children only have a very short amount of time that they are filled with wide eyed wonder. Why should we discourage that? I also don't see how you can admonish Santa, but allow your children to idolize super heroes who use their almighty power to play judge and jury. If anything is twisted it is your sense of what is right and wrong.

    Also, I am not sure if you have actually read the bible... you stated that Jesus lead a "perfect" life. If you recall Jesus was both human and divine. He did have stumbles in His path, and that's ok. He had trials and tribulations like we all do.

    In my opinion you are right up there with corporate America ruining Christmas. While you are at it you probably shouldn't celebrate your children's birthdays either. God forbid you make them feel special about themselves. That could elevate them to a "godlike" status with Santa Claus.

    You make me sick and I feel horrible for your children.

    Since I don't have a Google account and have to post under anonymous... my name is Jonathan and I am a firm Catholic and also a believer in the spirit and goodness of Santa Claus and Christmas. I also believe that Jesus died for our salvation before you go getting any ideas that I don't.

    ReplyDelete
  104. However, if you are celebrating Christmas as Jesus' birthday that is biblically incorrect also, and the Bible does not tell us to celebrate Jesus' birth at all, only his death and resurrection.

    ReplyDelete
  105. I think your article is wonderful. Thank you for not bowing down to peer pressure, and for seeing and presenting Santa as the character he is. We have never done Santa with our son, and I ASSURE you, he is having a lovely Christmas. I believe Santa a lie, because unlike other characters, he is presented as truth. And in this day and age, do we really want our sons and daughters comfortable with sitting on strangers laps and asking them favors? And sneaking in their homes at night? Really? I cant be the only one who sees the problem with this.

    ReplyDelete
  106. Now that I've read this article, it makes me want to 'come clean' to my 5YO son, but how? When? Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just be honest....tell your kids that Santa is just another character, and he can still be part of your Christmas, but that he isn't real....compare him to other characters like the Ninja turtles. Then explain about the real St Nicholaus, and how it all got started. . And then tell him that Christmas is the day we celebrate Jesus's birth, which IS real. Kid's are pretty resilient. Tell him that you are sorry for confusing him and that you want to tell him the truth. It may be emotional, but just keep control of the situation. Insist on respect, even if he is upset. It is far better he learn the truth from you now, then having to find out later on his own or from someone else.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for you input! He definitely knows that Christmas is Jesus' birthday, in fact, we sing Happy Birthday Jesus before any presents can be opened. Thanks again and Merry CHRISTmas!

      Delete
  107. Santa has turned into a secular lie to divert attention away from Christ.

    ReplyDelete
  108. Thank you SO very much for this article! Your critical and Spirit-led thinking on this has been an incredible blessing and encouragement to me! As a first time mom to a 9 month old, this is our 1st Christmas really having to decide what to do about Santa. I have struggled and struggled to articulate my thoughts and somehow you have managed to lay it all out for me in a short blog. You have no idea (or maybe you do- ha!) how helpful this is. Thanks again and Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  109. Hi! I am neither a mother nor a particularly religious person, but I stumbled upon this article and I enjoyed it a lot. I think from your perspective you are making the right decision on the matter, and I enjoyed that you could explain why so clearly. Cheers and may you have a wonderful Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  110. Thank you so much! I wrote yesterday about how my heart may wasn't into this "holiday season" and my struggle in "Finding Christmas." This is my 2nd confirmation for today to not 2nd guess myself. God is the focus, God's son is my key to unlock his door.
    Have a Blessed Christmas!

    ReplyDelete

Need to add an image? Use this code [img]IMAGE-URL-HERE[/img]