“We do not, however, demonize Santa. Dressing up, having fun, and using the imagination God gave can be an act of holy worship and is something that, frankly, a lot of adults need to learn from children.” -Mark Driscoll
Regarding Santa, Daniel and I made up our minds not to lie to our children about him, because we want them to be absolutely certain that everything we tell them is true. (This is very hard to keep up, I have found. Because, when I am eating chocolate covered raisins, and Bug asks, “What’s in your mouth?” I can’t say, “nothing,” and I actually must deal with the issue that she is going to want me to share. In truth it has made me more aware of honesty than ever, and providing a good example, i.e. not eating chocolate raisins before dinner, as well.)
Back to Santa, she is old enough now to have real discussions with complete strangers, who know nothing of how we are raising our children or why. So, this year was especially perplexing to me (and her), when random people asked her the following:
- Have you been a good girl this year?
- Is Santa coming to your house?
- What do you want from Santa?
We don’t hate Santa. He is actually based off of a legitimately generous guy. We would love our kids to emulate his generosity in giving what they have to the poor because they know that God has given them what they have to share.
With regard to each question though, here are the issues I am having to face as a mother, when you ask my kid these things:
- She has been an excellent girl, as excellent as a rapidly developing emotional toddler can be. We do not however, desire that she be enticed to do good by the concept of presents at the end of the year. We want her to grow up knowing that goodness comes from the grace of God, and it is only through Him that we are even capable of such. We don’t want to bribe her. We want her to learn the truth of her own depravity, the grace and mercy of the Gospel, and behave well out of a learned obedience to our forgiving God, and then out of a heart full of the Holy Spirit once she becomes a Christian.
- I’m not sure how many are aware, but Bug is seriously afraid of imaginary concepts, and the idea of a stranger, no matter how nice he may be, coming into our home while she’s sleeping may induce nightmares for her. She just heard about monsters from another kid, and I have had to fight her imagination on her behalf in discussion after discussion about those. Please don’t make me have to fight the idea of Santa breaking and entering.
- We want Christmas to be most about Jesus, and more about giving than receiving. We are slowly deciding how to go about this as we grow as a family. Receiving gifts is not a bad thing, but receiving so much that we feel affluence is merited at the end of the year, while other people languish in poverty, is NOT. We are not against our kids getting gifts. We choose to tell them the specific people who have given them the gifts, to encourage gratitude. We do want to limit how many gifts they receive next year if possible, and want to reinforce the concept of sharing what we receive with others in need. (We will be going through all their toys and donating very soon.) We would honestly prefer that they receive more gifts on their birthday- a day meant to celebrate them, than Christmas- a day meant to celebrate Christ.
This article summarizes and provides a clearer explanation of how we will handle the concept of Santa at Christmas. I really appreciate the, “we’re not out to demonize him, just tell our kids the truth,” stand he takes.