How should Christians handle Santa Claus? Answering this question could start a fight…which I have no intention of doing. I’m certain that your personal background shapes how you answer this question.
Personally, I really enjoy Christmas. There are a lot of things I like about Christmas that really have little to do with Christmas Day. I love Christmas Carols. I’m not too embarrassed to admit that I look forward to rocking out to Elvis’ Blue Christmas for most of the year. I love seeing colorful Christmas lights everywhere—the more the merrier! I love decorating the Christmas tree. I love seeing the lights on the tree. Who doesn’t love seeing gifts under the tree? I love my family’s tradition of Christmas Eve dinner, the opening of one Christmas gift, going to our church’s Christmas Eve Service, and ending the night by watching Elf (yes, you read that right). I love the laughter and joy this season brings.
I share the previous paragraph with you so you know that I really do like this holiday. I’m not opposed to having fun through imagination. I’m not bunkered down teaching my kids that “Santa is just Satan spelled differently.” However, I am very careful with how we’ve handled the issue of Santa Clause with our children and with my teaching at the church.
I love the imagination and creativity that God has given us. I’m not looking for a history lesson on the origin of Santa Claus—I’ve already checked out his Wikipedia entry. I’m fine with telling stories and having fun with creativity. However, I don’t understand when parents push the line from fantasy or imagination to reality and outright deceit to their children. I know, I know, that sounds really harsh. I need to lighten up, right?
Have fun with your imagination. I’m all for imagination. I’m not suggesting that Santa can’t be a part of the Christian’s holiday plans. God gave us creativity and imagination. Use it, have fun with it. Children have a special connection to the make believe that I wish I were better at reconnecting with as an adult. I love that my kids help me tap into my inner child—my wife may not be as thrilled with this as I am. Just leave Santa here.
Protect your children’s trust. I have never lied to my kids about Santa. They have always known that he is make believe, just like the tooth fairy, and any other make believe people. I will not intentionally deceive my children for a number of reasons, but I want them to know that they can trust me no matter what. There is nothing greater than anyone’s trust, especially your children’s. Why would we jeopardize this trust by pitching something as truth when we ourselves know it’s just in fun?
Why this matters to me? I’m a Christian. I have a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe through Jesus Christ my Lord. I didn’t come to know Christ until I was an adult and when I did, I came to understand the overwhelming historical evidence concerning His prophetic coming, His life, death, and resurrection. In hindsight, I see that during my youth, I’d begun to lump Jesus with Santa Claus, the Boogey Man, and Tooth Fairy. Jesus has nothing to do with fairy tales and I want no part in deceiving my children or confusing them about who Jesus is. This is ultimately why I take the matter of Santa so seriously in my home. We can get our pictures taken with Santa, threaten coal for gifts if they’re naughty, but let your kids know that it is all make believe.
For the skeptics out there, I encourage you to really investigate the gospel. My prayer is that this would be the greatest Christmas of your life. Jesus came and died for you so that you might find life in Him. This grace of God is indescribable and is truly the greatest gift one can receive. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!