Family Life · Holidays

The Problem with Santa Claus

As some of you probably know already, my family is not celebrating Christmas this year. Contrary to popular belief, we are not running away in terror from every single Christmas nuance seen, and we are even walking in a “Christmas” parade this year.   We just believe that Christmas might not be the best way to celebrate Christ, so we are choosing not to celebrate in our home.

In the same regard, we are not turning in disgust at the mention or depiction of Santa Claus.  While his roots are pagan, the jolly old elf we see today in and of itself isn’t purely evil.

I would love to share the history of Santa in regards to our family.  My first three children are pretty close in age (I had three children under three for almost a year), and I did the whole Santa thing with them wholeheartedly.  I always told myself that if one of them asked the truth about Santa, I wouldn’t lie to them.  (Although I already was lying to them…I just didn’t realize it).  My oldest daughter asked at around the age of six, and I let the cat out of the bag.  But, I also told her that if any of her younger siblings asked her the same question, she was to lie.  Thus began a cycle of older children asking me the truth about Santa, me finally being truthful, and then asking them to lie.  What in the world was I doing?

Finally, when my oldest was 10, I came clean to all of my children.  It was wonderful!  At the same time, I bemoaned the fact that I had ruined the “Christmas magic” for them.  In all honestly however, I hadn’t.  This “magic” is simply an elaborate scheme that our culture and parents have made up for our kids enjoyment.  And yes, our kids enjoy it.  But couldn’t we make childhood wonderfully fun for our children without “magic” and lying?  I believe that we can.  With just a little bit of creativity, it most definitely can be done!

I’ve heard that “We all lie to our children in some ways, and that little white lies are innocent.”  Please, please, please don’t believe this.  When my three year old asks if I like his drawing attempts, I can honestly say yes.  If he asks if they are “good,” I can honestly say yes, because I believe they are good for a three year old.  If he says he and his toys are going to the moon, I say, What a fun thing to pretend!  If my seven-year-old daughter gets a boo-boo and asks if it looks bad, I say, Well, of course it doesn’t look like it normally does, but accidents happen.  It will heal up in no time and will be good as new.  I honestly believe that parents can go through life without lying to their children.  Of course sometimes truth might sting a little, but we are doing our children a disservice if we lie to them.

As Christians, we shouldn’t lie, even if done in “fun,” or in the name of “Christmas magic”.

One other little thing about Santa…during the Christmas holiday, both Santa and Jesus are in the forefront, but Santa normally wins the top spot in our culture.  Also, did you know that Santa’s name “Kris Kringle,” actually means “Christ Child”?  This is definitely food for thought when you decide how to celebrate this holiday.

Finally mommas, please, please, please, do not add to the deception by claiming the “Santa has Jesus in his heart,” etc, to your children.  Please do not go there.  I’ve seen many mommas do this, I guess to clear their conscience about “doing” Santa during a “holiday” that is supposed to be about Jesus.  Don’t write notes from Santa to your children that talk about Jesus.  This does not make Santa “okay,” and only adds to the deception while bringing our Savior’s name into it.

Would Jesus want to be involved in a deception with a fictional character that bears a name that rightfully belongs to Him, for the express purpose of giving many non-essential gifts which in turn breeds a spirit of covetousness in children’s hearts?

I would say, that’s a no.

Mommas, it is so easy to just go along with the culture, and celebrate holidays the way everyone else does.  That isn’t the way it must be however, and our children will not suffer if we are truly seeking the Lord’s will for our lives.

7 thoughts on “The Problem with Santa Claus

  1. I’ve really felt convicted about celebrating Christmas. My husband and kids don’t feel the same way. I was wondering if your husband was with you right away or not. I think about everyone celebrating but me and sounds really hard.we’ve never done Santa claus. I have a eleven and mine year old. But we do buy the kids gifts.

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    1. On this topic, he was with me right away, but on other topics, sometimes he’s not. 🙂 It can be hard to listen to our husbands wishes when we feel conviction otherwise, but we need to be respectful of them as well. If The Lord wants your husband to change his mind, then eventually, he will. It can be so difficult to be patient in the meantime!

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  2. I love this post. I decided when my son was born that I didn’t want to do the Santa thing because it just didn’t feel right lying to him. My husband has always disagreed strongly on this matter, so we have done Santa every year, although I wish we didn’t. My son is 6 now, and I decided that since he was older, I would tell him the truth and I did. He didn’t believe me (go figure) and now I don’t really know what to do. He has kept right on believing in Santa and talking about him, and I don’t know whether to reiterate each time that he isn’t real, or just leave it alone until he’s older. Any thoughts?

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  3. We’ve never done the “Santa thing” with our children, just like my parents never did with my siblings and me. My husband did do Santa for a while when he was a child and said that it was hard to trust his parents for a while after he learned the truth (the reason my Dad gave for never doing Santa).
    Funny thing: Yesterday, I took the boys (5 and 3 1/2) to get haircuts. Afterwards, the beautician asked them if Santa was going to bring them gifts. My 5yo looked at her and rather matter-of-factly said, “No. Santa isn’t real.” I chuckled. The poor woman looked at me, then back to the boys said, “Yes he is real…” Oh well. When we got out to the car, my 5yo asked me, “IS Santa real?” I of course smiled and said no, it’s just a story. He was good with that answer. =)
    Being truthful with your children is *always* the best way to go.

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  4. Those are some strong emotions! I prefer to save words like “disgust” and such for the things my foster siblings went through before they came to our house. In my eyes, Santa is not on my list of things to get fired up about. To be honest, we tell our kids that Santa is not real thought they really don’t understand it until they reach 4 years old (this year ,my 3 year old insists Santa is real because he saw him at the mall. haha. So we just avoid that subject). We try to keep the focus on Christ as much as possible… we do make some St. Nick crafts though or bake Santa cookies. I tell them of the story of St. Nicholas and all the gold he gave away because of what Christ taught (to give to the poor). We set out one shoe on Dec. 6th as a tradition. The kids know it was Papa and I that put some candy in their shoe.
    I was actually contemplating giving gifts on December 6th, which is actually St. Nicholas Day and traditionally when gifts were given. And then reserving Christmas Day for just focusing on Christ and having a Birthday Party for Hi . Next year!

    We grew up similar to how I was raised on this subject. Knowing he is not real, but still doing some of the tradition surrounding St. Nick. I reserve harsh feelings for actual harmful acts that parents do to their children… maybe it’s the actual trauma I’ve seen firsthand in children, growing up.

    And, St. Nick wasn’t given the name “Christkind or Christchild”. Christ Child was to replace having a St. Nicholas Day by Martin Luther. Martin Luther made it up and ChristChild is supposed to look like a small child with wings (kind of supposed to be an incarnation of infant Christ according to M.L). Martin Luther changed the gift giving day from St. Nick’s Day to Christmas Eve… which makes it his fault for St. Nick and Jesus getting smooshed together. Kris Kringle is an American thing and gets Santa Claus (who came about for advertising) and the Christ Child (the actual German thing) mixed up.
    So we have a very prominent figure in the Reformation Movement to thank for making things more lumped together and confusing…

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    1. All of the confusion, and the mixture of holy and pagan traditions are one of the main reasons that we choose not to celebrate Christmas all together. We believe that God would like to be worshipped in truth, which is only found in scripture. Blessings to you!

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