Merry Christmas…you filthy animal
Updated: Jun 1, 2020
Why don’t you do Santa? What is your scriptural basis?
My husband and I take our responsibility seriously to ensure our girls trust us on important issues they can’t verify for themselves, the main one being that they can believe in a creator and a savior that they cannot see, touch, or hear from. We put a high priority on our children believing what we tell them about Jesus is the infallible truth. We have chosen not to encourage them to believe in something that is fictitious and have them think it is equivalent to believing in Jesus. We thought the responsibility of telling them these characters are false while simultaneously convincing them we are telling the truth about Jesus was something (we, as their parents) have a choice whether or not to try to conquer so we had an idea…what if we just told our children the truth to begin with, because Christmas is about Jesus anyway, right? This is not just Santa, we do not pretend any fictional figure is real, the tooth fairy, Santa, Easter Bunny, etc. etc. We have told our daughter those are fun things that are imaginative and as she has gotten older we have explained that some parents pretend those characters are real while their kids are little, but one day they will tell their children those things are not real.
We have no problem that you might include Santa as part of your Christmas if you are a Christian, this is a decision for our family, not one we are trying to impress on any one outside our family. Also we do not direct our daughter to go around trying to ruin your child’s Christmas, if she is asked by a friend what she believes she can tell them if she wants but we do not direct her to go around telling kids their mommy’s and daddy’s are liars, she is to respect their parents and the children and let each family figure out their own way. She totally knows and understands with more depth than I ever imagined; she understands fully that some kids believe in Santa even though he is not real and she handles herself well with it (yes even at age five in Kindergarten). She goes to a private Christian school and there is a good mix of families who do Santa and those that do not. Last year was the first year it came up between kids after Christmas break (for reference she was four years old and in Pre-K) and she said her friends asked her what Santa got her and she simply explained we don’t do Santa but mommy and daddy got me this and that – there was no big debate between four year olds –“What??!! You don’t do Santa, what does that mean, can you tell me more, what is happening, the world is falling” — no no that did not happen, I asked what the reply was and she just said her friends were excited and interested in the games she got and the kids proceeded to tell her the cool things they got for Christmas and they all went on their merry way. There was no call or email from angry parents saying my kid told them Santa wasn’t real, there were no tears, no catastrophe, it was simple and easy, and there was simply no second thought between the children after my child said she doesn’t get gifts from Santa. I truly believe that it is an adult perception and presumption we place on our children that catastrophe will occur if our children know from the start that Santa is not real. One of the first questions I am asked is, what do your daughter’s friends think, and my reply is they don’t think anything, none have given it a second thought.
In the lengthy discussion my husband and I had about doing imaginary characters, we also discussed the potential for comparison in the amount of gifts our children may get verses other kids or other kids in comparison to ours, this goes with Easter, the tooth fairy etc. It can be confusing for a child, our child may think why does Santa (the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, etc.) love some kids more than others? Why does the tooth fairy bring Sally ten dollars but my friend Joe only gets a quarter – why did the Easter bunny bring me one basket of candy, but my friend’s got a basket with a stuffy, candy, and special toys – these things were taken into our decision not only about giving but about love and how we want to teach that love is never measured with anything you can buy, we decided to let our kids know the gifts given to them on special occasions are from their loved ones and that the gifts are personal and personally chosen for them. We teach our daughter (and the baby when she is older) that Jesus loves us all the same, regardless if you even believe in Him, regardless if you hate Him, regardless if you do Santa or not, Jesus loves you, and mommy and daddy give your gifts based on what we can afford in celebration of that love. We want to teach it is better to give and one idea we decided on to reinforce giving is having our daughter(s) pick out an angel from the angel tree that is the same age and have her choose the gifts, and we hope to do so every year so she (and eventually her sister as well) can see the value in giving not just getting, and she will fully understand why those children need us to provide gifts for them, there is no question on why Santa does not provide for them.
Another misconception I get is that we completely ignore the imagery of Santa and we ban him from our home. We don’t leave Santa out completely or act like he is evil or any of the sort. We don’t ban Santa imagery and we don’t teach that parents are bad if they choose to lead their kids to believe Santa is real. We listen to the same Christmas music on the radio as you, we watch The Grinch and other Christmas shows that reference Santa, the difference in our house is that our girls are taught that Santa is a fictional character and we don’t make him the focus of Christmas. When there are no letters to write, no naughty or nice to pressure with, no worry about how he gets through the world in one night or if he will miss our house, it leaves a lot of room to focus on Jesus, it leaves us with open discussion about Jesus’ birth, why we appreciate His life, why Christmas is a representation of His birth, and how He is the savior of the world. We simply address Santa and the others just as we address Mickey Mouse, Disney movies, Harry Potter or anything else that is fictional, we leave it at that, as fiction.
Do we think our child will be better than your child just because we don’t do Santa and you do, well absolutely not, do we think our child will be more successful or better adjusted to life, nope we don’t know that will happen either, we pray and hope all children get the best possible start and completion to this life and that parents make the best judgments for what fits their family. Just as parents choose to enroll in sports or no sports, eat organic or eat fast food, limit screen time or let the kids watch as much as they please, it all comes down to you make a decisions based on your values and beliefs and you stick to it. I am never going to tell you doing Santa is wrong for your family, just ask my best friend and she will tell you I have never tried to make a case to her to not do Santa for her daughter. We believe it is a choice for our kids, but if you want to know if we have prepared a piece of scripture to throw at you to back us up, the answer is no, there is no verse we have prepared in our hearts to toss out in defense of our choice, why – because it has never been on our heart to defend our reason to not do Santa and it has never been our mission to refute you and your decision to do Santa – even though there is no scripture we have perfectly prepared there are plenty I have read, you can read over 100 here if you absolutely need a piece of scripture https://www.openbible.info/topics/idol_worship but I can be honest and assuring when my husband and I came to this decision we did it based on our hearts and our reasons lined out above, not taken from one specific line in the bible. My husband would never give you such a lengthy explanation because he always simply replies with “if you have a choice between Jesus and anything else, wouldn’t you always choose Jesus?”
For the record I grew up in a home that did not attend church and did not have Jesus in the home and yes we did Santa, my husband did grow up in church, he attended private Christian school and his parents also did Santa. Our parents did nothing wrong in doing Santa and you are doing nothing wrong if you think it is right to do Santa for your children. This is a choice we have made for our lives and our beliefs, that’s all it is, you do not have to agree, but we don’t understand the passion to refute. We don’t understand why this makes others feel less than or feel judged. Someone commented recently on our decision to not do Santa, she said if you love your choice then you do not need others to, people that are upset with your choices are so because they don’t love their choices as much as they think they do. If you love your choice of traditions that you did (or do) why does it matter to you the traditions we do?
Now if we can agree that Home Alone is the best Christmas movie to come out of the 90’s then we can still be friends…ok?