When you fool your kids about Santa, you are the one being fooled
Christian parents, let’s take the issue of Santa out of the realm of emotion, holiday “magic,” and happy memories and look at it through the lens of reality.
Santa, as our culture portrays him, IS NOT REAL.
You know that.
I know that.
Our kids MUST know that… no matter how old they are.
Why would I insist that we tell our kids the truth about Santa?
There are many reasons, but here are my TOP 3:
1. As Christians we should be the first to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior.
Sounds like a “Duh…” statement, but it needs to be said. We need to make much of Christmas because we are making much of CHRIST. Jesus is what makes us Christ-ian at all, so He should take priority over everything else, especially Santa. Christians are radicals by their very nature (Luke 14:33). We are radical about Jesus. Why let one of the greate
st opportunities to talk about the historicity of Jesus get turned into a side-show starring on overweight, house-breaking, stalker in a red velvet suit?
We need to be focused on making Christmas meaningful – for the real reason it is meaningful – JESUS.
2. When you tell your kids Santa is real, you are LYING TO THEM (and teaching them that it’s O.K. to lie).
This may be the very first time you have ever thought of it that way, but take the time to walk it through in your own head. Here’s the truth of what happens:
- Parents – CHRISTIAN parents – go to elaborate extremes to DECEIVE THEIR OWN CHILDREN.
- They work overtime (late night on Christmas Eve included) to exploit the innocence of their children so that they will believe in a magical, mythical personage called “Santa.”
- That’s the reality of it… and it’s not consistent with Christianity or the Christ we serve.
Why would we LIE to our kids? Don’t we tell them NOT to lie? Don’t we tell them that WE don’t lie? We should set the example of integrity, even in this.
I know, I know – Santa is just a “fun” thing that kids love… but lying about a culturally acceptable myth is still lying. Telling our kids that Santa is real, when he is not, is a LIE.
Here’s a little story: I know a grown man in his 40s who was deeply hurt when he found out (age 12) that Santa was not real. To this day he is still fairly upset about his parents’ “deceit” (his word). He says it’s been hard to learn to trust them since they went “all out” to make Santa seem so real for the first 11 years of his life.
You might think he’s a guy who’s just a bit too sensitive, or unstable. He’s not. He’s your average, successful businessman, who loves his wife and kids and serves faithfully in his church. He’s very balanced and very wise. And he’s one of the few people I’ve heard talk about this issue for what it really is – deceit.
3. Consider the message you are sending to your kids when you say the following… “Santa is real, AND Jesus is real.”
First – you are putting two personages (one a myth, the other a historical and divine PERSON) on equal terms – connected to the same holiday celebration.
Second – the day will come when they find out that Santa is NOT real. What do you think that does to them when it comes to considering whether Jesus is real?
If mom and dad lied about Santa, why wouldn’t they be lying about Jesus?
Do you see the confusion and potentially faith-damaging consequences such an “innocent” story can have?
What if I’ve already told my kids that Santa is real? What do I do about it now?
It’s not as hard as it sounds, and there is actually a biblical pattern for it.
CONFESS AND REPENT
Be humble enough to admit your wrong to your kids. Explain to them how you were fooled into thinking it was O.K. to lie about Santa, but you’ve learned that it’s not. Tell them how you want to honor Jesus most of all, and that Jesus doesn’t want you to lie anymore. Ask them to forgive you.
You know what will happen?
- They will understand.
- They will forgive you.
- They will learn what it looks like to humbly confess sin and repent of it.
Can you think of a BETTER outcome than that?
What my family does about Santa
- We tell our kids the truth, from day one. Santa is like Mickey Mouse or Luke Skywalker. He’s a fun character who is entirely pretend. Our kids (and yours) need to live in light of reality.Along this line, it would be a great holiday tradition to tell your kids about the REAL St. Nicholas and thank God for such a generous and kind man.
- We used to enjoy the Santa movies, etc. during the holiday season, again emphasizing that it’s pretend and that Christmas is really about Jesus’ birth. The kids enjoyed them – and we enjoyed them. But we kept the perspective as it should be – grounded in reality, not deception. That may still be a viable option for many Christian families, but we’ve turned a corner from there…
- We’ve since changed our family’s convictions. We no longer have anything to do with Santa. We got rid of all our Santa movies and are still purging our Christmas music collection of Santa-referencing tunes. Why? That leads me to a story…
- We have chosen NOT to have any Santa decorations in our home. We would rather not see a pretend character everywhere when our goal at Christmas is to focus on a very REAL Savior.
- We don’t do the “Santa” presents under the tree or the milk and cookies thing. We don’t have to be concerned with all that when we tell the truth.
I’m NOT a killjoy. – I just love Jesus… much more than Santa.
More than the fun of pretend.
More than traditions handed down through the family.
More than my culture’s idea of what is acceptable.
More than what other parents (or their kids) might think.
And I want my family to love Jesus like that too.
Christians are to imitate Christ, and in order to do so MUST be people of integrity, no matter the issue. When it comes to Christmas, we should do so for the much more important reason of honoring our Savior above and beyond anyone else – even Santa.