Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why We Don't Do Santa

A few days ago I commented on Facebook that I didn't tell my kids the "truth" about Santa because I never told them the "untruth" about him to begin with.  Some charming and totally nonjudgmental (oops, sorry for the sarcasm) attacked me of course for being a stick in the mud who needed to relax.  I reminded her that I have no issue with people who want to do Santa.  WE just don't want to.  That doesn't make me uptight.  It means we celebrate differently.  End of story.

Anyhow, I'm not the worst mom ever and I'm not "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 idolize 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.  My son is equally imaginative.  We are regularly getting bad guys and building architectural miracles.

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.

I'm not up tight.  I'm not ruining my kids' lives.  I'm parenting in a real and purposeful way.  I applaud your decisions you make for your family.  Please extend me the same grace.

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


  1. I've been struggling with this lately because throughout our munchkin's whole life we've always talked openly with her about how Santa isn't real, he is just somebody people like to dress up as. Recently I've been trying to tie this in to her obsession with identifying everything as fiction or non-fiction amd explain how Santa is a fiction story character. But since she's going to school she has countless adults she looks up to who reinforce the idea that Santa is real. So she's starting to think he is. I don't want to take this issue up with her teacher because she has more important things to worry about and I agree that believing in Santa doesn't mean you're going to hell.

    So! If you have any ideas on how to deal with this, let me know.

  2. I wish I would have never started with the whole Santa thing. I feel as if I am deceiving my kids. I wish you would have been the older sister, you are far wiser than me.

  3. PS: yay for finally being able to leave comments from my phone.

  4. I remember you posting about this before and so appreciated it then, as I do now! I've been wanting to post something similar to explain why we don't do Santa (or the Easter Bunny, tooth fairy, etc), but haven't quite gotten it all together. Maybe I'll just share a link to your post since you said it all so well! I completely, 100%, wholeheartedly agree!

  5. This is the best written post on the "why not" of Santa I have ever read! You have eloquently and intelligently written out the words of my very own heart. Thank you for standing on the heart issue without passing judgment on those who do the Santa thing. I was told my my m-i-l before I ever gave her grandsons that I would kill their imagination without Santa. I praise God for shedding light on that lie by giving both my sons wonderful imaginations that only His light, love and truth could provide them!

  6. Couldn't agree with you more! Thanks for sharing.


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