Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What I Think About--Santa

Not so long ago I gave you my schpeel on why I struggle so much with Christmas.

In that post I also told you that we don't teach our kids about Santa.  I received a couple of comments/e-mails about this decision.  A couple were very supportive but a few others pretty much berated me as the worst mom ever since I'm "ruining" my kids' childhood fun.

I decided to take today to explain why we don't do Santa.

First let me say that I think this is a heart issue, not a salvation issue.  I don't think anyone's going to hell in a handbag for celebrating Christmas with Santa or without him.  Santa is not right for my family; my sister's family does Santa--we parent differently in many areas and this is one of them.  On issues such as these, it is okay to disagree agreeably.

Next, you must know I have a Santa collection.  I don't have a ton of them but it started with this ironing board Santa my mom and I made in '94 and has grown. If you came to my house you will see Santa Claus.  However, you won't see us celebrating him, singing about him, or telling stories about him.

Here's why.

This poster has been floating around for a while and it pretty much sums up my point of view:
  
Photo Source
In case you can't read it, the poster says: Dear Children: One day you will learn everything about Santa Claus.  On that day remember everything the adults have told you about Jesus.

Whether we like it or not, many people think Jesus is a lie just like Santa is a lie.  A nice lie.  A fun lie.  A lie of hope.  But still a lie.

My problem is that I don't believe that Jesus is a lie.

And I don't want my children to think Jesus is a lie, either. 

If you are critical like I am, you've probably noticed that Santa has some pretty god-like characteristics.  He's  all-knowing; he is everywhere; he has the power to put kids on the nice or naughty list. 

My problem with this some of the hidden agenda here. 

  • Kids get what they want if they are good (enter discussion on saved by faith v. saved by works here). 
  • Kids "obey" because they are afraid of "not" getting what they want as opposed to obeying for the sake of learning, with their hearts and character, what is right.
  • Kids learn that seeing is believing.  They can believe in Santa because he is everywhere--at the mall, at the YMCA, in Church ...
Is it any wonder that when kids learn the truth about Santa--that he's not real, that he's not omnipotent, that he's not omniscient, they begin to question these truths about Jesus as well?

I never want my children to have this conversation:
One boy asks the other, "What do you think of all this Jesus Christ stuff"? And the other boy replies, "It all sounds like another Santa Claus to me – probably just another lie."
I know some people say that Santa is needed for good imagination and that it's just fantasy. 

That may be a fine point but the problem is that kids don't KNOW that Santa is fantasy and so they idealize and love and worship something that is. a. lie. 

Furthermore, my daughter has a fabulous imagination.  She has imaginary wolf and fox friends.  She drives laundry basket cars and goes shark diving in the bathtub.  And she's done it all without Santa.

I don't need Santa to make Christmas fun and festive.  I don't need Santa to help me raise/discipline my children.  I don't need Santa to increase my children's imagination.

I need Jesus.

He is who I celebrate at Christmas.  He is the one who guides me on my parenting roller-coaster.  He is the giver of ideas.

That's why I personally feel like it is wrong for Matt and I to stress Santa Claus at the expense of talking about Jesus during Christmas. If we don’t make it a point at Christmas to tell our children about the significant birth of Christ, we are missing an incredible opportunity.  If we lie to get our children to believe in Santa while telling them about Jesus, then we set ourselves up for having to explain later on why we lied about Santa while hoping they'll trust us when we say Jesus is real.

What I think about Santa is that involving him in your holiday celebrations is your decision.  My decision is to ignore the charming little story in lieu of what I believe is the truth: JESUS.

(If you are interested in a lengthy, biblical analysis of Santa in culture, click here)

11 comments:

  1. This is pretty much exactly the way Matt and I feel. This has been a hot topic in our house lately since this is the first year that eli is VERY aware of all the Xmas stuff around him. We have taught him the story of St Nicholas and told him its fun to dress us and pretend to be St Nicholas and give gifts to people that need them. He loves santa...just like he loves Micky Mouse or puppies. But we do not tell him santa is real or comes to our house on xmas. Xmas has still been so fun and special in so many other ways. There is a great post on this that I will forward to you later when I am not on my phone that talks about not accepting or rejecting santa but redeeming santa. I have been meaning to blog about this and link to it and I may link to you too because these are great thoughts. However we are visiting family in NM so it hasn't happened yet. ;)

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  2. THANK YOU for posting this! I was beginning to feel we were the only ones NOT doing the whole Santa thing. Felt the same way at Halloween when it seemed we were the only ones not trick or treating. I've been thinking a lot about blogging about it, but guess i have been avoiding the argument that may come up. I've felt like these choices that you would think make sense to fellow believers have led to the most persecution - by fellow believers. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here - and encouraging another Mommy. Merry Christmas!

    www.friedkristy.com

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  3. As I've told you before, we are not Santa believers for the exact same reason.

    This brought to mind a story when I was teaching about 30 8-12 year olds in church. It was Easter and I told them we were going to learn about Jesus. One girl whined, "Why can't we learn about the Easter Bunny?". And I, without thinking (I have never believed in the Easter Bunny and it never occurred to me that children as old as 8 would buy this nonsense), said "Because Jesus is real and the Easter Bunny isn't".

    It wasn't until I saw the look of shock on several faces that I realized the mistake I had made. I still feel bad about it, but I was there to teach them the truth and I guess I accidentally did it that day.

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  4. Ladies: Thanks for your feedback. So glad I'm not alone in this.

    Rachael--Oops. Hope you didn't have angry parents!

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  5. I agree with you 100%. You took the words out of my mouth. We do watch the Santa Clause movies but I don't get into the whole Santa stories, visiting him and Santa is going to bring you gifts if you are good ect.

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  6. I don't have children so I can't say what I do, also not being Christian means my beliefs are obviously different, I have always found Santa to be a little bit over the top and will teach my children about love and hope and giving and receiving at Christmas and all the year through. I think your decision to not make Christmas about Santa is perfectly fine and most importantly it is YOUR decision, I am sure your kids have loads of fun on Christmas I can't see how Santa can change this.

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  7. Hey Reagan & others ---Here is the link to another article that had a good perspective on the santa subject! :)

    Article on Santa

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  8. This was a great post! My girlfriend and I were just talking about the whole Santa thing and asked me what I had decided to do. I completely agree with how you stated the facts.

    I haven't really thought about Santa in my house yet. Baby isn't old enough to understand this year, though. Something I need to discuss with Husband soon to figure out what we are going to do.

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  9. Except I keep telling my daughter that Santa isn't real and that he's just a fun pretend guy who does nice things and she totally doesn't believe me.

    But she also thought she shouldn't eat a chocolate Santa because "If he's in my belly, how is he going to give the kids their presents?"

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  10. Chris and I haven't really talked about what we were going to do, we just kinda started the whole Santa thing because that's how we grew up. Thank you for your perspective. I've never thought about it that way. You've given me a lot to think about and to talk about with Chris.

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  11. I love how well put your reasoning is. We also don't do Santa in our house, and I have tried and tried to explain it to others, especially my mom and my best friend. I can't wait to share this with them as well as what I have attempted to tell them.

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{Reverse Psychology}
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(Did that reverse psychology work???)