Monday, December 3, 2012

The Truth vs. Santa ~ 4+6=10 Combined Thoughts


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Wow! You ladies are incredible, and I’m honored and blessed when you participate in our conversation here. You all left some terrific comments on the question of what to tell your children about Santa, and as you’ll see, I’m going to rely heavily on your wisdom in today’s post. Quite frankly, you all said it better than I can, and I want to give credit where credit is due.

What thrills me is our common ground that Jesus Christ is the center of Christmas. We may vary in other ways, but we have the main thing the main thing!


Santa Claus was huge in my childhood home. My mother went to great lengths to ensure our belief, including leaving Christmas cards signed by Santa and having a pilot uncle fly our gifts to my grandmother’s house the year we spent Christmas there. Christmas was a magical time when I knew Santa loved me. We went to church and we owned a nativity, so I knew of Jesus. But I didn’t know Jesus. My husband grew up with Santa and absolutely no Jesus. In thinking through this issue and reading your comments, I had an epiphany. Neither my husband nor I learned of Jesus through our parents. So when we learned the truth about Santa, we didn't translate it to the question of faith in Jesus.

Fast forward to our first child, now over thirteen years ago. My husband was saved, and together we were learning more and growing by leaps and bounds in our faith. But we never thought twice about whether or not to introduce Santa to our children. We were rocked to the core when we learned that another family in our church told their children about Santa. It quickly became a topic of much conversation and prayer. Truth has always been important to both of us, even before that foundation of faith. We both had experienced situations in our growing-up years that convinced us of the importance of truth-telling. So add in faith to that mix, and we just couldn’t maintain any sort of charade about Santa. When the children open gifts, we get excited as well, explaining where we got something or how much we thought they would like a particular gift.

I don’t want to keep you too long here, so let me cut to the chase. If you’d like, we can continue the discussion in the comments. My list of ten includes four thoughts from me and six comments from you all. Sound all right?
  1. I’ll confess it. I absolutely adore the idea of living at the North Pole. Escaping the realities of our world and living in a winter wonderland sounds like heaven to me. Have you seen the sets for the Santa Clause movies? Unfortunately, that’s just what they are – sets.
  2. I think children want to believe in Santa Claus because they are desperate for the love and the generosity and the warmth that comes with Santa. He’s fun and jolly and always gives the gift that’s perfect for each child. But he also cares enough about each child that he expects good behavior. We have something better to offer our children, though. Doesn’t that sound like a relationship with Jesus?
  3. I have never told my children that Santa Claus exists or is real. They have learned about him elsewhere. At times, I have avoided their questions. Recently, though, when asked a point-blank question, I gave the point-blank answer. I think they appreciated my honesty.
  4. We have framed Norman Rockwell Christmas cards – four in a row – that depict the Santa story, from checking the list to collapsing in the easy chair when he gets home. These, in our home, are simply art. They tell a story that my children know to be fictional, just as the lighted village scene that depicts Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol is fictional.
  5. “All in all Santa plays a small part in our Christmas celebration. Because we celebrate CHRISTmas not SANTAmas.” ~ Jackie 
  6. “Like my mom said, ‘Why should someone else get all the credit for gifts that I'm giving?’” ~ Hannah  
  7. “I don't have a problem with "the santa story". we will have books about santa and watch all the traditional movies, but we aren't going to pretend he's real. It's no different than woody, buzz, lightning mcqueen and other characters... fun story, but not real...” ~ Paula 
  8. “Santa is an ever present figure, so we can't really ignore him. I've taught my children that ‘santa’ is based on historical figures who represent selflessness, kindness, generosity, etc. and we talk about how those are good things that line up with what God calls us to be.” ~ Crystal 
  9. “We let the kids know that we expect them to redirect conversations with their friends about Santa, etc. so that their friends' parents will have the opportunity to make the choice to tell them….” ~ Sarah 
  10. “There is only one who can be everywhere, seeing what we do and how we act, so we choose to make all the fuss about Jesus while enjoying a little Santa fun, be it through a movie, a book, or songs.” ~ Michelle


Please do not think I am preaching here. Whatever you do with Santa is completely up to you. A Facebook friend was agonizing over what to tell her daughter because she wanted her four-year-old to have that fun and magic a little longer. My heart goes out to her, because I want that too for my children. I have been all over the spectrum on this, and there is no condemnation here. We’ve just finally figured it out for our family, and I wanted to share it if it might encourage someone.



Have a wonderful and merry Christmas!







What do you think? How do you handle the Santa Claus question?




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31 comments:

  1. This is an excellent treatment of the subject, and we have always followed this same pattern--allowing Jesus to be our focus, but also allowing the myth of Santa Claus for fun, understanding the history behind it and the Christ-like qualities that make up the myth. We have never pretended there was currently a real
    Santa; Daddy is their Santa! Our Daddy is older now, a Grampa with grandchildren, yet with tiny girls of his own, and has white hair, a white beard, and is a "jolly old elf" I think our tiniest little girl really believes that her daddy is Santa, because there is so much resemblance! Anyway, good post!

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    1. Wow! I am honored that you would stop by my little blog! I LOVE your words of wisdom on your blog and share it to Facebook all the time. Thank you so much for your kind words, Sherry. Sounds fun to have your own Santa at home, especially one that tells the children about Jesus. So glad you commented today!

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  2. What a great post! My husband and I told our kids that we didn't believe Santa was real, not the same way Jesus is, but I'm a big believer in imagination and so have encouraged my children to have fun with Christmas. But they don't get presents from Santa or anything like that. ;-)

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    1. I think that's why it's been such a dilemma for us, Jessica. I love creativity and imagination and story, but my children also need to know the difference between fiction and truth. So happy to have you here today!

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  3. I have struggled with this dilemma since my boys were born. I almost dread the holiday season because of trying to figure out how to maneuver around the whole Santa thing, and Halloween about gives me a coronary.
    You gave some really good suggestions in your post...thanks for giving me something to think about!
    Blessings!

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    1. I'm glad it was helpful, Julie. I'll be praying that you figure it out soon. I don't want you to dread Christmas! So glad you commented, and many blessings to you!

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    2. Hi Julie! We also had some struggles with this, but we made a decision this year to not celebrate Halloween as others do, but use it as a chance to give a scripture-wrapped treat to people at their door. The look of surprise when little children hand the adults candy is wonderful, and even better when my little 6 year-old tells them "God loves you!". We don't do Santa, and it makes Christmas very sacred (for us). There isn't the distraction of the man in the red suit and the guilt that goes with giving something other than Christ our affections when we are to be celebrating His birth. I hope this helps! Be strengthened, sister in Christ!

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    3. Thanks, Annie, for sharing your encouragement with everyone!

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  4. I enjoyed this conversation. I'd love to see this over at my linkup tomorrow at WholeHearted Home Wednesdays as it sure got a lot of us interested in thinking and talking about it!!

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    1. Thanks, Judith. I'm there! It has been a wonderful conversation that I've seen carried over to other blogs. It's an important topic to think through.

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    2. Thanks for linking up, Meghan :-)

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  5. I don't ever remember thinking Santa was real. We left cookies for him Christmas Eve, knew he liked his coffee black but Mrs. Santa liked hers with cream. We chose the same approach with our children. My husband didn't want to tell them Santa wasn't real because any mall you go into at Christmas has a Santa. Instead we chose to tell them the story of St. Nicholas giving gifts to celebrate God's greatest gift--Jesus.

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    1. I've been learning more about Saint Nicholas and love the history. That's so cute -- Santa likes his coffee black but Mrs. Claus likes cream. So glad you shared that, Pamela.

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  6. This subject is close to my heart because I believed in Santa so much as a child, that when I got old enough to discover the truth, it made me skeptical about all things "impossible," like the virgin birth and resurrection of Christ. I felt I'd been fooled before and betrayed, and didn't want that again. I was 31 before I trusted Christ.

    So when my son was little, I never said any gift was from Santa. A believer in Christ by then, I put as much focus on Him as I could. But we also had lots of light-hearted fun, and every year my little boy said, "This is the best Christmas yet!" (So it never spoiled fun!)

    At some point I found the best book, "Santa are You for Real?" and we read it together. It told about the real St. Nicholas behind Santa Claus and his generosity, and how he loved Jesus, and it encouraged every child to BE a "Santa Claus," giving secret gifts and good deeds to others. If still in print, this book is a great resource.

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    1. Doesn't that just melt your heart every year? My children always say it's their best Christmas yet as well. I'll check out that book, Sylvia, and thanks for commenting.

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  7. Just my testimony here; I was about six years old when I discovered "Santa's" gifts were actually form my mother. I was upset & felt deceived. I've never wanted to play the Santa game for that reason & I tend to think it's a big lie. I'm not judging anyone but I still think it's a lie. Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Cynthia. There are many here who agree with you. Many blessings to you, and have a wonderful Christmas!

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  8. My husband and I disagree on this, he wants to do the Santa Claus thing. I want to do the Santa Claus thing to, but as a game of pretend. Kids have fun going to Disneyland and meeting the characters even when they know they are not real, why not have fun with Santa? When I have kids I will never lie and tell them Santa is real, but I will give them a stocking and take them to see the man pretending to be Santa.

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    1. I can see your point about meeting the characters at Disneyland. And not lying is definitely a good thing! Thanks for weighing in, Rachel.

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  9. My husband grew up with Santa, I did not. We have decided not to do Santa with our children. Mainly because we don't want to lie and also we would rather focus on Christ and giving instead of Santa and getting! :) Thanks for linking up to Thrive @ Home!

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    1. A most excellent focus, Jenni. Thanks so much for the link-up!

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  10. Great thoughts, Meghan! One of the things I love most about your blog is that you aren't preachy! You have way of handling delicate subjects, and presenting the truth in a respectful way. Love your balance of speaking the truth without making it offensive. I lack that ability sometimes myself, even though I don't intend to offend anyone.

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    1. Your words have always sounded respectful to me, Crystal, and you have such great insights to share. Thank you so much for your kindness. It was just the pick-me-up I needed after a difficult day.

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  11. What a wonderful and balanced post! Growing up we didn't acknowledge Santa at all. Later on, my parents told us the story of Saint Nicolas - the real Saint Nicolas - and explained that Santa today is a very fractured version of what Saint Nicolas was. I think that is a theme our family will continue when our children are old enough. The thing my parents were very cautious about, and so am I, are the things that are sung about Santa that give him attributes that only God can have: omniscience and omnipresence. Thanks for linking up. I'm closing down the Link Up party for now -- I'm trying to spend more time with family. But, I'll see you around on the other hops. And I'll be sure to stop by and leave you comments. Have a great weekend!

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    1. You said it perfectly, Rosilind, and I have so enjoyed the comments on these couple of posts. Even as a child, it bothered me that Santa was supposed to know when we were sleeping and knew whether we'd been bad or good. I never could quite figure out if he was a part of God or something else entirely different. Thanks so much for all your efforts with the link-ups, and have a wonderful Christmas!

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  12. Great post! Both my husband and I grew up believing in Santa. I realized pretty quickly that Santa wasn't real, and my husband was older. Neither of us were negatively effected, and neither of us ever thought our parents had lied to us! We also both always knew the real and big reason for Christmas was the birth of Jesus! I have every intention of letting my children believe in Santa when the day comes we have children. I see no harm in doing it. My brother and his wife were adamant about no Santa anything for their children. Oddly enough though, they recently realized there kids do not know the story of Christmas! I think it's all in how you handle it and what you emphasis for your children.

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    1. Great point, Monica -- so much of life is how we handle it. If we take Santa out, we need to make sure there is an abundance of Jesus. So glad you commented today!

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