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Do Your Children Believe in Santa?

I grew up with Santa.  I was a complete believer until the second grade when schoolmates enlightened me.  One of my brothers was mentally handicapped so our family ‘believed’ in Santa for his sake all the way into his adulthood.

Like most, I thought of Santa as a fun tradition.

It wasn’t until I accepted Christ at 28 that I started to question whether it was great idea to teach kids to believe in someone that doesn’t exist only to come clean about it later.

Many children cry when they are told the truth about Santa.  Others feel embarrassed to have believed longer than their siblings or classmates and some even feel angry to learn that their parents and other family members lied to them.

All of these reactions are completely understandable.

Of course Santa isn’t the only lie we tell our children when they’re young, don’t forget about the tooth fairy.

Today, I’m against teaching children to believe what isn’t true.  It’s not that I have a specific problem with Santa – it’s just that I think it is possible to make Santa part of Christmas without lying. Children know how to use their imagination and have fun with stories after all.

What do you think?

Comments

  1. There is no excuse for lying (or self-delusion). Imagine what would happen if the rapture occured right after a Christian parent convinced their young children that Santa, the Easter Bunny or a Tooth Fairy exists. God forbid!

    Christmas is all about Jesus – same thing with Easter. We must teach our children the truth – the truth they know will set them free.

    Great post Kelly…nice that someone is bringing this to light.

  2. I struggled with this as well I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but by the grace of God found salvation at the age of 16 and boy did it all throw me through a loop all the things I had lived with growing up and now I was finding out how backwards and upside down it all was! So I made up my mind that when I had children they wldn’t be taught about Santa, the Easter bunny, or halloween….but then I winded marrying a non-believer ya I know I know DUH…but I was young and naive and “in love”, well not a big surprise that marriage ended 7yrs and 3 children later, but those children had been taught fr my non-believer husband and his family ab the things I did not want them being taught, well so here I was a single mom of 3 wrking 2 or 3 jobs not ever getting to take my children to church or rarely getting to spend time with them, then God gave me Cody, my “current husband” ( and by the grace of God my forever husband), well we both had similar situations believers that married non-believers so on and so forth and we both had the desire to live Godly lives with our children as a family and for the first time in yrs we started attending church again, through MANY trials and tribulations we came back to God by Him showing us He is with us ( my child and I had to come to near death at the end of my pregnancy and be saved by the grace of God for it to become so clear to me) sooo anyway God basically had to slap us upside the head a little and we got back on track…well anyway we decided to come clean with the kids and ended their confusing by telling them the true meaning of the holidays (which they pretty already knew) and how the silly little traditions came to be.

  3. Prior to marrying my future husband and I were at work eating lunch one day. One of our co-workers came in and she talked of the trouble she was starting to have with her 9 almost 10 year old. Her daughter was so upset there was no Santa. She then asked her mother what else did she lie about? Her mother, our co-worker replied, ‘nothing’. Her daughter snapped back not believing her and said, ‘Oh yea, what about Jesus? He’s probably not real either.’ Her mother was heart broken. We made our minds up that very day, there would be no Santa, no Easter Bunny, I dispised Holloween anyway and it would be an ‘all souls’ or ‘harvest’ day and no tooth fairy. I made the comment to my future husband, ‘I never could figure out why the Easter Bunny didn’t like me.’ Everyone on the street got money in their baskets and usually more than one basket. I got one basket filled with very little candy. So, I thought the Easter Bunny didn’t like me. I have to say we did instruct our children as they got older that is was not their job to tell or correct other children if they didn’t believe in Santa. When asked if Santa was coming or the Easter Bunny, you can say, ‘no, he’s going to fly over our house’ or ‘He’s going to hop along past our house.’ But we do decorate, we have a manager scene and a cross. My children are well adjusted and have never felt robbed of an experience or that they were missing anything. They know what I tell them is real.

  4. joanne krom says:

    i have never taught satan at christmas, well thier the same letters anyway, i was taught Jesus’s Birth, if it were our birthday and someone tried to change it to some other reason,?, i have heard people say father christmas,but thats not quite saying santa my children have asked why other children were told about santa and i just dont know because if i told my children christmas gifts came from santa ide be taking the most important thing they could have and changing the true meaning, i just am not comfortable with that. Jesus is the reason for the season,and everyother season also.

  5. This is the way I look at it. I am a Christian and was raised in a Christian home that did the “santa” thing. I’m sure when I was told I was disapppointed, however I was taught that Jesus was the reason for the season. Santa is real because YOU are santa. I teach my child that Jesus is the reason why we celebrate Christmas and that Santa is just a plus. I dont feel as a grown up now that I am harming my child nor am I messed up because I believed in santa. Its your decision and most of all your conviction.

  6. peaches gil says:

    I was shocked to find out that Santa did not exist, leastwise in the way that I had imagined. Based on what I was taught (by society and not solely by my mother), I thought that Santa was some sort of elusive and illusive, empyrean person. Santa, in fact, does exist – as people suited in costumes and as characters on television. The conceptualization of Santa can make an important change on the perception of his relevance in the life of a family and it can change the question of what is true and what is not.
    I certainly did not ever think my mother was a liar. We found out that Santa was not what or who we thought he was throughout stages of our development – so by the time the cumulative veracity was apparent, we were emotionally and psychology prepared.
    Talking or teaching about Santa is a completely personal decision, but I believe that the dissolution of the concept of Santa is quite sociological. The aversion toward perpetuating the belief in imaginary figures who traverse our world and some “other’ world is hinged on the societal movement away from believing in anything at all and the thought that disappointment or momentary emotional discomfort is tantamount to some sort of visceral trauma. As a spiritual counselor and as one who studied “Children and God”, part of the package of strength in the belief in God involves our imaginations, this is especially a crucial part of the package when it comes to children. And in my work with children, I assure you that even those taught to believe in Santa as a fairy-like, albeit real entity, do not suffer in any way from finally being told, or learning that Santa is not cracked-up to be what they had thought him to be.

  7. We learned from the Lord at church that even Christmas isn’t from the Lord at all. It has nothing to do with him at all. But yet everyone in the world celebrates it. When I was growing up, until I truly came to the Lord I DID do Christmas, but I never believed in Santa because Dad never let me, and the Lord taught us that Santa is a usurper of Christ’s throne, indeed. Since coming to Christ and learning of the Lord, I don’t celebrate anything but Communion because it’s the only thing that IS from Christ. I think it was a wise decision to keep Santa out.

  8. It’s a tough one. It’s sad, when many people find out Santa/Easter bunny/tooth fairy aren’t real there’s the danger they could group God in with this. It’s the choice of the parents. I felt ripped off when I found out Santa wasn’t true, though I played along with my parents as they didn’t know for years that I knew the truth. I think we have to be very careful in telling parents what they should or shouldn’t do, as it is more important to show love than arrogance (not saying anyone is arrogant here!). In our household we put an emphasis on the birth of the savior of the world. Whether or not it was his ‘actual’ date of birth doesn’t come into question in our house, rather it is the day we celebrate his birth, with birthday cake included!

  9. Heather says:

    I have no inner battle over this issue.

    I clearly remember how offended and angry I was when, on demanding for the last time a confirmation from my parents that Santa was not real (I was 4 or 5), I was finally informed that he was not. I asked them why they would ever tell me that he was. They said that they had not actually TOLD me he wasn’t real; they merely didn’t say that he WASN’T. Now, if I had known the phrase “misleading with the intention to deceive,” I certainly would have used it. Loudly.

    I then ran through my check lists of other usual suspects: Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Sandman. Until I came to the big one;

    “What about Jesus? Is he made up too?”

    My horrified mother gasped as she began to perceive the domino affect this would have. “No, of course Jesus is real!” she said. “But,” I countered,” You told me that Santa was real, and now you said he’s not.” She tried the above disclaimer again but it just didn’t wash with me. As far as I was concerned, my parents had done the equivalent of lying, regardless of what they wanted to call it. In my young mind, my Christian parents had done the unthinkable…they purposely deceived me.

    I have always told my son the truth; Christmas Day is the day we have chosen to recognize the birth of Jesus. Saint Nicholas was a man who believed in Jesus. He lived, served God, died, and lives with Him in heaven. But he was a man, just like us. I have always told my son that “Santa” is a story person, based on Saint Nicholas. He’s a great story person, yet ONLY a story person. Jesus, on the other hand, was and is real. But I have also told him that, while he has the right to tell his friends what he DOES believe, he doesn’t have the right to tell them that Santa is not real; that timing is to be left to their parents.

    My son is 7 now, and has a strong understanding of God’s purpose in coming to earth to be born into humanity, in order to redeem us. He is very respectful of other children’s beliefs, but he does not shy away from telling them how “God so loved he world…” He has never suffered as a result of not being taught to believe that Santa is an actual person who comes to the house and leaves him presents. Many people have told me I am “spoiling his fun” by not playing along. It’s strange, I don’t understand the fun in deceiving my child, nor the fun in BEING deceived by the very people who ought to teach him that honesty is the best policy. Why would Christmas be spoiled for a him by telling him the truth? Did no one enjoy Christmas before the relatively recent emergence of the full-fledged Santa myth? I hardly think so.

    I have promised my son that I will never lie to him. I may tell him that I choose not to discuss certain things with him, either now or ever, but I will always be honest. How could he ever be able to trust this pledge if I told him such a huge lie? Never mind one that is so illogical and unnecessary.

  10. We incorporate Santa into Christmas and when my daughter figured it out she was not one bit upset over it. It may all be in how it is presented and used in a family but for us, thus fat it has presented no problem at all. When my son, now 8 asked me if Santa was real I asked him “What do you think?” he said I think he is and I answered ok. I also have not done it the way it was done for me, as if Santa was this elusive, slightly omniscient being that knew all about me and controlled what I got for Christmas. I tell my kids that Santa won’t bring anything that we do not ok first, he has a budget and shops at the same stores we do and that I know Santa, very, very well. In our family Santa is daddy and my daughter had no problem figuring that one out for herself. We have discussed who Saint Nicholas was and of course we related all of our practices at Christmas time to our faith, including Santa.

  11. I grew up in the 1940s and we were very poor. The country was just coming out of the depression but still times were lean. My brothers and I didn’t get very much for Christmas, mostly fruit and a small bag of candy. Sometimes, if my mother had the extra money she would buy something in the way of a small toy for us, but that was usually a rare occasion.

    I can remember thinking Santa was almost like God, and we were supposed to pray to him and ask for what we wanted. No one told me this, I just assumed it and there were times I would get so disappointed because the things I asked Santa for never came.

    I suppose that is one of the reasons I never told my two sons there was a Santa. For a little while after seeing Santa in all the shopping malls they believed, but when they got old enough to start asking questions, I gave them the right answer because I never wanted them to go through some of the same disappointments I did. When I was not able to buy for them some of the things they asked for I explained why we could not get that and at least they were not hurt at Christmas when they opened their gifts. They always knew what they were not getting so they were never unhappy with their gifts.
    It was always my desire for my children to know the real meaning of Christmas. The Christmas story was our family tradition until they were all grown up. We read it every Christmas Eve just before going to bed.

    I do not judge parents that tell their children there is a Santa, that is their choice. We all love to see our children’s joy and for sure Santa brings a whole bag full of joy to the little ones…

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