Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What do YOU do with Santa?

A couple of weeks ago, I gave my thoughts in about Christmas in this post. Included in that was a link to an article from The Village Church; one of the authors comments was an encouragement to not lie to your children about the myth of Santa Claus.

Jonathan Acuff shares his thoughts about Santa on his blog "Stuff Christians Like." He outlines 3 basic choices of what Christians (especially parents) can do about Santa:
  1. Go all-in with the Santa Claus myth (I think he leans in this direction);
  2. Kill Santa (I'm not quite to this extreme, but I lean in this direction); or
  3. Combine Jesus and Santa (pretty dangerous ground here).
For me, it is mainly about speaking to my children with integrity. It's hard enough for me to believe some difficult things that God's word clearly speaks of (Jesus being both man & God, the Trinity, God's omnipresence, how Jesus' sacrifice actually atones for my sins, etc), and having faith in a real but invisible God. And if I struggle to understand these things, then it's that much harder for me to teach them to my children. Why would I risk muddling that with a myth?

As Jon Acuff warns, I do have to be cautious to not be judgmental towards others. After all, this is not an overtly moral issue, and I know that Christ gives us much freedom in this an other areas.

All that being said, we DO talk about Santa Claus, but from the perspective of make-believe. They really do enjoy seeing him at the mall, reading books about Santa, and watching "Rudolph" on TV. I've been pleased and amazed at how much excitement there can be over these stories even without them believing in this fairy tale.

And we have strongly stressed the importance of them not telling other boys and girls the truth about this topic, along with the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. (I remember Elijah coming to me in tears last year, confessing that he accidentally told a neighborhood friend that Santa Claus wasn't real; fortunately, the friend either didn't pay attention or she didn't believe in Santa herself.)

I'd love to hear other thoughts about this topic.

-- Joey Espinosa


  1. I'd say we lean more towards the "all in" with Santa, but with a HUGE emphasis on Jesus, the real meaning of Christmas, and on giving rather than receiving. And we do tell them that some people don't believe in him, and that's okay, too. My husband and I both believed in Santa as young children, and neither of us had any problem believing in Jesus, the trinity, etc.

    Thank you for stressing to your children the importance of not spoiling it for others. It's funny that you posted this today- we were at Enrich at Grace this morning, and I was helping with the 2s and 3s. We pulled out Christmas stickers for the kids to play with for their first activity, and there happened to be some santa stickers in the mix. One little boy announced to everyone that Santa isn't real. The other mom and I tried to assure everyone that it was okay not to think he's real, and that some people do and some people don't. He kept INSISTING that his mommy and daddy said he's not real. It was really a sticky situation. My own child was in there, along with about 9 or 10 others. It wasn't anything I was expecting out of 2s and 3s:).

    I can totally see both sides of the argument, but I'm happy with the way we're handling it. It's fun part of their childhood for us. But, they know above Santa and everything else that comes along with the holdays, it's all about Jesus and Him being the greatest gift we could ever get.


  2. The biggest problem I have with going "all in" is that if your child asks you "is Santa real?" the parent needs to tell the truth, no matter the age of the child. We teach our kids not to lie or even to make up stories so it shouldn't be alright for us to it either.

  3. My daughter recently came to me and said Mom, I need to ask you something and please tell me the truth. Is Santa real? At that point I was not going to lie to her. We talked about Santa being a fun thing and then taking the opportunity to share more about the real Christmas story and Jesus. We did also tell her not to tell any other kids, that this was their parents job and decision.