Wrestling Santa Claus

We’ve wrestled with Santa in our house for a couple of years now. I am not really keen on doing the whole Santa Claus “thing,” for a number of reasons. First, we only give a limited number of gifts to our kids for our family Christmas. So, truthfully, I don’t want some fictional character getting credit for the gifts…I gave them to my kids and I want them to know that these are from mommy and daddy. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the theology of Santa Claus has bothered me for years. Santa represents not just some creepy old dude who sneaks into your house while your sleeping, but an omniscient legalist who is bent on giving you gifts if you’re good. This is not exactly the theology of Christmas, where Jesus is the perfect gift, given out of God’s grace to those who are wicked. I’ve written about that elsewhere.

So, with all that in my mind, I decided our family was not going to prentend like the popular concept of Santa Claus was real…then my daughter decided he was. We’ve talked with her, we’ve explained that St. Nicholas was a real person and that Santa Claus is a fun game to play. We’ve told her Santa isn’t real…etc. She doesn’t care. She insists that Santa Claus is real and that he will bring her gifts on Christmas day. So, what do you do as a parent? How do you resolve this dilemma. We’re still wrestling…but in the meantime I am greatful for posts like this.


  1. Your favorite SIL ;) says:

    OK, I am sure I am not who you had in mind to comment on this post but this issue really bothers me, the way people act to each other so here goes. On a side note, that picture is very disturbing 😉 I never understood the obsession with comparing Santa and Jesus. They have never been compared in our home with our boys nor to I ever remember any comparing by Mom and Dad. Jesus is talked about in our house daily, all year long and our boys know that He came as a baby and at Christmas we celebrate his birthday.Our boys also know that God is everywhere and knows everything, and we have always said that Santa only knows what he sees or what a parent/grandparent/whoever tells him – he doesn’t know everything. And you mentioned Santa and legalism, the way those terms are linked in my mind are through the legalistic people that I grew up around that would NEVER let their kids believe in Santa (who may or may not be Satan) and acted like Jesus may just love us less than them because Santa came to our house. And B was the one that decided for us that Santa came to our house and just a couple of months ago he asked Jesus to give him a new clean heart. So it is clear to him that Jesus is the important thing. He also has been afraid of being on the “naughty list” and what did he do? He prayed and asked God to help him to treat his brother nicer and to have better behavior toward MOm and Dad. I think that answers that he knows “where his help comes from” – I honestly believe that when you ground your children in Christ and the Bible that a few short years of allowing them to be kids and believe in a little bit of “magic” for a small period of the year, they are not being harmed. And as far as wanting them to know that the gifts came from us…..first of all, that doesn’t bother me and actually had not entered my mind until I heard someone else say it a few years back but after thinking about it this morning. At the young age that they are when “Santa comes” I don’t think they are truly aware of what it means to be grateful/thankful fully, I really think my boys say “thank you” because we have taught them that is the response to being given something. When they get older and learn the real goings on of Santa then they are old enough to look back and think “wow, my mom and dad did all of that so that my sibling(s) and I could have a fun filled Christmas” – I know that is what happened with me. I fully appreciated as a teenager and adult all the things my mom and dad did for us all the time but especially at Christmas that I did not even “get” as a 4 year old. So for now, in our house Jesus is the reason we have Christmas, Easter, and life, grace and mercy on a daily basis. He is worthy of our praise, honor and glory. We pray to the the Father in Jesus’ name. Jesus alone is our savior and paid the only acceptable price for our sin debt and is our only way to the Father and someday to heaven. We have a Holy Spirit that guides us daily and a Heavenly Father who loves us immensely. And Santa also comes to our home one time a year but Jesus is here all year long and my boys know that and have the beginnings of understanding that for themselves.
    Hopefully this is not taken as a debate or argument. YOu know I love you guys and think you are amazing parents and I know that you know that our kids sometimes have other plans than those we “so perfectly” laid out before we had them 😉 You just put forth the quesiton of how we dealt with it and we are kind of in this thing partially together so you get my thoughts. I realize that I don’t have a background in seminary or pastoral ministry which may have been who you wanted comments from so feel free to remove it if it isn’t what you had in mind. I love that precious girl of yours and with that imagination I am not surprised that she would latch onto this 🙂

    • Pastor Dave Online says:

      It took me a few minutes to figure out who this was…as I got to the end I realized. You are free to comment on anything here…no seminary degrees required.

      I appreciate all of what you’re saying, and have no problem with Santa, per se. I’ve never compared him to Satan, that seems ridiculous. I think I had the same experiences as you with Santa growing up. There was no confusion in my life in regards to Sant and God or Santa and Jesus. In fact I think I largely knew him to be pretend even as a kid, but it was fun to pretend. I guess my only caution is that what was true for me does not necessarily translate into what will be true for another kid. So I want to be careful to promote grace and not just “be goood.”

      In terms of Santa at our house: as for this year I think our decision is just not to decide. We’ll see what happens.

  2. Your favorite SIL ;) says:

    And the “liking my own comment” was an accident.

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