I want to begin by saying that I have absolutely no issue with anyone who supports Santa with their children. That is a personal choice for your family and I make no judgement on that. We are all free to make our own traditions and memories with our families.
My husband and I both grew up with the Santa thing. We left cookies for Santa, listened for reindeer hooves on the roof, and sent Santa letters. We never got together and said that when we had kids we weren’t going to play the Santa game with them. We knew that we would let the Lord lead and He has. For years our family has done the Santa stuff. We’ve visited him with long lists, made extra special cookies, and even left his reindeer food on the front porch so they would find our house.
We sat down together a couple of nights ago to have the talk with our girls. No, not the birds and the bees, but the talk about the fact that Santa isn’t actually real. I was a bit hesitant as we sat there waiting to break the news. I knew that within the next few moments we were going to be saying words that were going to change their lives forever. They would be going from children who had that bewilderment of a man that flies with reindeer to children that knew that was not real. I always thought that we would tell them when they asked us a question first. God had different plans.
1) Conviction from the Holy Spirit
..and when He may come — the Spirit of truth — He will guide you to all the truth… – John 16:13
This was the first and most important reason that we told them. This began to hit me last Christmas. I kept feeling the nudge to ask my oldest what she thought about Santa. She told me one day that someone at school had told her that Santa wasn’t real and that she didn’t believe them because how could we (her parents) get all those presents each year. I didn’t say much and just let her believe what she wanted. We went along pretending as the feeling of conviction (which I didn’t immediately recognize as that) got worse. I shared this with my husband and he wasn’t sure if we should drop this bomb or not.
This year as Christmas grew closer, I knew that we had to. I didn’t know how or when, but we had to tell them.
2) To take the focus off Santa and put it on Jesus
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. – Luke 2:11
If you take a look around, most of the world is spending their time emphasizing Santa. We can’t depend on them to explain the TRUTH about Christmas to our children, that’s our job. So when it comes down to it, we want them to celebrate Christmas because of the birth of Jesus Christ, not because of presents or stockings.
Say you’re on the way to the doctor and you know they are about to get a whopping five shots. Your kid asks you if they are getting shots today. You say, “Oh, I’m not sure we’ll see when we get there” and change the subject. You may not have meant to lie to them, but you told a white lie to avoid meltdown. Some can be seemingly harmless like the scenario above, but where do we draw the line? If we continue to tell them little white lies, will they really trust us when we actually tell them the truth? It’s important for our children to be able to trust us. When we convince our children to believe in an imaginary man only to find out later he never existed, what will they think about what we have taught them about Jesus?
4) Logistics and appreciation
I felt a little silly with this being a reason, but after much thought it’s not so silly now. There were years when my daughter would ask for things that were just way out of reach for us as her parents. She got a little upset one year when she didn’t get what she wanted. I think she may have thought that because he’s Santa, that he can produce anything even if it costs $300! Telling her this has opened her eyes a bit to see that me and her daddy work hard to provide these presents for her. I believe that it’s giving her a new appreciation for her presents. Not to mention that we don’t have to explain why Santa uses the same wrapping paper as we do! Or why Santa left a Dollar General price tag on that one thing.
Here’s how it went. My husband and I asked our oldest what she thought about Santa. She said “I think he’s real. I mean, there’s no way that you guys can put that many presents under the tree every year.” And then she said, “Can you put that many presents under the tree each year?” Perfect segway…
We began by telling them that Santa was in fact real. He was a true saint back in the 4th century who was a very religious man that dedicated his life to giving to the poor and needy. He knew the real meaning of Christmas about baby Jesus. And because of that he gave just as the wise men did. We told them that even though Santa was a great man from the past, that he wasn’t magical and that he didn’t fly with reindeer. Expecting a flood of tears, the question that followed from my oldest’s mouth was this. She looked at her daddy with a sneaky smile and said, “Dadddddy! So it’s YOU who eats all the cookies on Christmas Eve every time!” She talked about this all night. And that was that.
It went better than I expected, but how could I really have doubted it wouldn’t go well? The Lord lead us to this place!
We are not removing Santa from our Christmas completely. We talked with them about how he is still fun to imagine and that even though we know that he’s not real, that the thought of him is still fun and there’s nothing wrong with pretending. He now falls in the same category with Mickey Mouse and Elsa from Frozen, which they know are just for fun!
What about your family? Does your family do Santa or no? Join the conversation below.