December 9, 2010

The Santa Thing

I LOVE the Christmas season.  It is my favorite time of year.  I'm one of those people who starts buying presents in September and listens to music in October.  I usually have my decorations up before thanksgiving and our list of activities planned ahead.  I was thinking of what activities I was going to post on the blog and thought I should first take a moment to explain something.  In our family, we don't do Santa.

Well, maybe that's not completely accurate.  We PRETEND Santa, but I have never done anything to try and convince my children that Santa is real.  I tell them "Santa is something fun we pretend at Christmas time."  We still write letters to Santa, sit on santa's lap and tell him what we want for christmas, leave cookies out for him christmas eve, read books about santa, and tell the kids that they better behave because Santa's watching them, but they know it's all pretend.  Kids have fun pretending.

Why do I do this?  I just want my kids to know that Jesus is real and Santa isn't, that Christmas is more about Jesus than Santa, and to know that I won't lie to them.  I know that I'm in the minority among my friends and family in this decision and some accuse me of taking the magic out of Christmas, but to me the magic of Christmas is not about Santa coming down the chimney and filling our stockings, but about the Son of God coming to earth to be our Savior.  And I'm pretty sure that Christmas is still wonderful and fun for my children.

I do make sure my kids know not to tell other children that Santa is pretend, and so far we haven't had any problems.


  1. Interesting. Grace is terrified of Santa Claus anyway so I wonder if this is the route we should be going. Thanks for sharing this Erin.

  2. That seems like a very nice approach to the Santa thing. We do Santa but are fairly fast and loose with it--for example, sometimes Santa drops off the gifts and lets us wrap them, and other times he tells the parents that he had a different idea than what was on the kids' lists. (I also didn't want to bother with the Easter Bunny, so we got permission from the Easter Bunny to do the baskets ourselves.) We let the kids in on the secret when they are about 8. It was interesting, though, that even though Mabel was asking lots of very direct questions quite a while before she was 8, after we let her know Santa wasn't real she still kept reverting and talking about him as though he were. Part of her knew it couldn't be real but another part of her still loved believing.

    One answer you could give your kids about why other parents DO try to make their kids believe is that it's fun for parents to have a secret way to do nice things for their kids without the kids knowing it's them. You can also tell them (as I've told my kids who are now in on the secret) that the *idea* of Santa Claus is true--that Jesus loves children, and Santa is a personification of Jesus's love, that adults make come true by trying to make sure that Santa comes to every home.

  3. Thanks for your comments! Even though my kids know that santa is pretend, they still talk as if he is real. Joshua wrote him a letter, put it in an envelope, addressed it and asked me to put it in the mailbox. I can see how it might be fun to do things in secret for them, but I guess I just feel like I do a lot for them already for which I don't get credit or thanks. They must think we have house elves or something.

  4. As to why some parents lead their kids to believe, from my experience, I have really fun memories of Santa that I want to be able to pass on to my kids. I didn't grow up in the church though, and I've struggled with Santa vs Christ, but in the end, like my imaginary blog said, I think Santa and Christ are tied together. At least they can be. :) I don't remember when it dawned on me that Santa wasn't real...all I know is that it wasn't traumatic for me. And then my parents let me be 'in on it' and I got to help with my younger siblings Santa gifts, which was a lot of fun for me. We talk about Santa, but he always takes a back seat to Christ. In fact, I don't think we mention him much until just before Christmas (when the kids write to him and set out cookies for him), but we spend the whole month doing scripture readings (there's a really neat 'advent' style one that was in the Friend years ago that we still use) and other things pertaining to Christ. So I think our balance is pretty good. :) Plus then we have the addition of a Christmas birthday to add to the mix!


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