Stacy Hanna, what are you thinking?! How could you possibly deprive your child from the classic childhood experience of Santa Clause–It goes hand-in-hand with being a kid. Kids need to experience magic, make believe and wonder.
I understand this can come as a shock. I know so many people who look back on their childhood seeing Santa Claus as such a fun, sweet memory and we want to give that to our children as well. After all, imagination is important and is something that parents do indeed need to not only foster but celebrate.
I’m not here to preach that it’s immoral to tell your kids that there’s a Santa Claus; the story itself is so fun! The following are a couple of reasons, though, why Andrew and I feel like the leap from teaching our kids that Santa isn’t only a story, but is actually a reality is a tradition that all of us as parents should pause intentionally to think about Biblically, not culturally, before diving into with our kiddos.
Considering Our Parenting Biblically
It sounds harsh to refer to the tradition of Santa as deception, but we all really need to take a step back and look at the big picture here. Is it wrong to do fun traditions with our kiddos? Absolutely not! Is it wrong to tell stories, foster imagination and make believe? No. Is it wrong to encourage a fantasy so much so that it distracts from the training up of our children in the truths of Christ and absolutely devastates them years later? I believe so. All parents have a mandate to train up our children in the ways of the Lord, teaching them to observe His commands and truth (Deut 6, Col 3:9, 1 Peter 3:10, James 3). The Lord also puts a powerful emphasis on the tongue in Scripture. We must take a step back from our culture’s view of what is “good” and “pure” for our children and ask ourselves if the tradition of intentionally causing our children to believe in Santa is honoring to Chrsit. Upon hearing that Santa Clause was not real, my older brother looked directly at both of my parents and asked, “Is Jesus not real then, too?” Children who believe in Santa Clause are too young to decipher fictional stories from non fictional stories. To them, why shouldn’t Santa Clause and Jesus both fall into the same category–both stories learned about from a young age that they are encouraged to embrace, have faith in and be excited about.
The Beauty of Celebrating a Real Story!
Celebrations are good! They’re actually strewn throughout Scripture—celebrations that lasted for days, were filled with festivities, tons of food, laughter and surely decorations! What more to celebrate than the birth of our Savior! There is nothing wrong with creating fun filled Christmas seasons, but within this we need to ask ourselves if we are misguiding our children where to place their excitement in during Christmas. Are we creating excitement, anticipation, and celebration all revolving around the birth of Christ, or are we creating a world of make believe all centered around getting presents and Santa? We don’t have to make up a story to celebrate, y’all! We have a real one!!
Any of us who grew up in this world of presents and Santa as children know how hard it can be as an adult to separate the excitement of gifts from fostering even more excitement about the birth of Christ. As Andrew and I have been seeking to foster a Biblically centered Christmas, still filled with traditions, decorations, cookies,lights and all the fun stuff, we have had to search our own hearts and be honest about the reality of where our excitement has lay for years in regards to Christmas. As adults we are now trying to recreate excitement and traditions centering around Christ’s birth, and even though we’re having a ton of fun doing it, it is a mental and emotional battle.
Christmas is the cause for the biggest celebration of our year, friends, so let’s live it up! Bring on the hobby lobby decorations, tinsel, sparkly wrapping paper, food and fun! Do candy cane hunts, kiss your sweetie under the mistletoe, sleep under the Christmas tree, look at lights in your neighborhood and decorate cookies. And within all of this, may we be intentionally communicating the reason we celebrate-the reason this season is different than any other during the year. Let’s point our kids to the fact that without Christmas, we would be hopeless. For without God becoming flesh in the person of our Savior Jesus Christ, we would have no hope of entering Heaven. He had to atone for our sins; coming into the world to die a brutal death so that we may have the ability to spend eternity with Him. This is a massive event to celebrate. Let’s get both our kids and ourselves excited about our real story-the hope we have of eternity with Christ!
Merry Christmas, friends
***I do need to add a caveat. I think it’s so important that if you do decide not to tell your kids about Santa Clause that you also explain to them the importance of staying quiet about what they know around other kids. This could really cause anger and hurt in other families that is not ours to cause. It’s a private family decision (as much as families are able to keep their toddlers quiet 🙂 ), and respect for others decisions in this is still important.***
Additional helpful resource:
John Piper: “Santa Claus- Harmless Fun or Tragic Distraction?” http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/santa-claus-harmless-fun-or-tragic-distraction