"Who put the presents under the tree?" If you answer "Santa," is it a real lie? The Santa Claus debate has never reached, and likely will never reach, a conclusion. I could philosophize over the well-known arguments for both sides, but would that actually help you, parents? It all comes down to your perspective and relationship with your child. So instead of giving a drawn-out evaluation that never ends up answering your question, I'm going to supply a simple layout of key points to make your thinking process less confusing. Take these tidbits as you will, knowing that my main hope is for you and your family to experience joy and peace this Christmas.
Here's the breakdown: Encouraging your kids to believe in a fictional Santa can be destructive if it's presented as foundational truth. Fiction differs from lying because we can separate it from our real-life perspective. If you want to invite your kids to leave out cookies for Santa, make sure it's clear that Santa is a fun part of Christmas and not someone with power in our lives.
Whether you incorporate "down the chimney" Santa or not, the story of the original St. Nicholas can teach meaningful ideas about giving and faith. St. Nicholas started Christmas traditions that focused on serving others and thanking God. The story changed over the years and through different cultures, but it all stems from a spirit of giving. This can help children understand that the character of Santa isn't really about what he brings for them; it's about how impactful giving is.
"You better behave, or Santa will put coal in your stocking!" is a fun anecdote, but it might get complicated if it becomes a disciplinary tool. God tells children to respect their parents, and His motive is for their good. Remind your kids of Ephesians 6:1-3 whenever they need to nip their behavior in the bud.
Many Christians believe that Santa acts as a threat to the celebration of Jesus. Consumerism has become a trademark of Christmas, and Santa is at the center of it which can distract from the real reason for the season: Jesus. However, we can both praise God and seriously contemplate how powerful the gift of Jesus is, and express our thankfulness with some frivolous holiday cheer. Santa is not a replacement for Jesus unless we make him one, which we can do with anything.
So the answer to "What should I do about Santa?" is simple: Don't make him an idol. Other than that, pray about it and craft the Santa conversation however you believe is best for your family. What matters most is the conversations you have about Jesus. The birth of our Savior was part of a divine plan to give us freedom and everlasting life. Your children might be too young to fully understand the concept of salvation, but they can pick up on the joy God's love brings when you talk about it with them. Come celebrate Christmas at Sun Valley!
Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.