Wednesday, December 08, 2010

What About Santa?

I'm stepping out on a limb today to share how our family celebrates Christmas in regards to Santa Clause. But before I do, I want to make it clear that our way of celebrating isn't a judgment against the way any one else celebrates... do as you please with Santa.

First, we believe that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Gifts, parties, parades, and fun activities are all secondary to this special birthday celebration. Without God's gift of a tiny baby, we would not have the ability to have a personal relationship with God or the promise of eternal life.

Second, we pretty much ignore the department store Santa Clause type. Mostly. Of course, as I write this, Charlotte is watching Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure in which Swiper gets put on Santa's naughty list. But we don't talk about Santa Clause, chimneys, or pretend people bringing us gifts.

What we do talk about though, is the original Saint Nicholas. We found a great children's book that shares the story of why we give gifts at Christmas and how that tradition started in the life of the original Saint Nicholas. It is called The Legend of St. Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving. The story is simple and the illustrations are beautiful. I can't recommend it highly enough. (Go buy it... and tip me by using the Amazon affiliate link above.)

Charlotte hasn't asked us the hard questions about Santa Clause yet. I think she knows that he pretend.

Wait. Scratch that. She's sitting next to me and I just asked her if Santa Clause was real or pretend. She said real so I followed up by asking her where he lives and she replied, "with the naughty people." That made me smile since she is currently watching a show about the naughty Swiper.

I just probed a little more and she did say he is real on the TV because he's a person and not a talking animal. So clearly, she is a little confused by it. But that's to be expected at three years old. I am not too worried about all of this right now because I know we still teaching her about the true meaning and spirit of Christmas.

What do you do about Santa Clause? Does he visit your house?

Post inspired by A Bloggy Mom's We Celebrate Christmas.


  1. We've been using this book by Voice of the Martyrs The Story of Saint Nicholas: More Than Reindeer and a Red Suit, and we like it.

    I'm interested in possibly buying the book you suggested, looks great! Thanks for sharing!

    Caleb got in lots of trouble for telling kids santa isn't real ;) starting at age 3. We've always been open and honest with him, but have tried to teach him that some parents play a game with their kids about Santa and that its ok. For several years we didn't let Caleb watch any kind of show that included Santa (really it was best for him because it would have just confused him more back then), but a couple years ago we started letting him watch the shows and explained that Santa is the same as Spiderman - they are both fun fictional characters. And when we see a dressed up santa, we would remind him just like at universal when we see Spiderman dressed up that is just a man playing a character. With Justus we've never had to really make a big deal about it, just casual conversation here and there, and he knows Santa isn't real, but he doesn't go around telling other kids... lol amazing how very different two kids from the very same set of parents can be! lol

    we are also pretty crazy as far as the christmas celebrations go... this is a big deal to eric, so we modified our family celebration... we try to do advent (light candles and read the advent book plus some other family activity) every night in dec. leading to the 25, then on the 25th we have a Birthday party for Jesus (cake, and whatever we can do to make it a special day, usually including sparklers and small fireworks and noisemakers)... but we don't open presents for ourselves because we really wanted to separate the two. we remember growing up at christmas and sitting around the christmas tree "hearing" (but not really hearing anything) the biblical account of jesus' birth and all we could think about was "what am i gonna get"? so we wanted to separate the two so we could really make Jesus' birthday all about focusing and setting apart HIM and not about getting. But we didn't want our kids to resent anything, so we open Happy New Years presents instead. It works for us :)

  2. So glad you posted this. I thought our family was alone in this. We have pretty much treated Santa like all the other fictional characters in our son's life and we tell him the truth when he asks us questions. Then we change the focus to the baby Jesus who is real and we can get excited about Him coming instead! It has become more challenging this year because he started school and there are a surprising number of activities involving Santa at his Christian preschool. We have decided not to send him on those days because we don't want him to be confused and we don't want him "ruining" it for the other kids. Does anyone have any suggestions for how you respond to the strangers that are talking to my kids about Santa everywhere we go. I want to have a polite response without sounding like I'm making judgements. My responses so far .... and I've tried several .... have mostly caused people to be shocked and they act like I'm such a horrible parent and that my kids are deprived.

  3. We love Santa...we did Santa as children and are doing Santa with my children...I found out at 5 that he wasn't real, but never cried or felt lied to...we continued to do Santa after that. My mother still gives me gifts labeled "from Santa." I understand if people don't want to do this, but I think it's fun...just like the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. I loved these as a child, even when I knew it was pretend. We obviously still celebrate the real meaning of Christmas and Easter, but I see no harm in having fun with my children on the holidays either.

  4. We are in the same boat. Last year, Aurora knew that Santa was pretend and that he didn't bring people gifts. We told her about the nice man, St. Nick, and more importantly about the birth of Jesus. But THIS year, Aurora insists that Santa is "real" and when I tell her otherwise she says "But mommy-I saw him at the mall and he was a real person" I think she is confused too. We do not make gifts from Santa or anything like that. I think I am sending mixed messages by letting her wave at the Santa at the mall or watch "santa" movies. We have the dora movie too...haha

  5. We celebrate Christmas in the same way when it comes to Santa. While my son is only two years old, we will not teach him about the Santa with reindeer and all of that commercialized stuff. We are teaching him about Saint Nicholas and the Spirit of giving that is involved with Christmas. And our sole purpose is to teach him about the birth of Christ and what that meant for us. Thanks for sharing!


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