Why I Won’t Be Teaching My Children About Santa Claus


Last week in the Core Group meeting for our church plant, we had a great conversation about Santa Claus.  Obviously Santa is one of the most beloved and well-known characters in the West.  Yet, should Christians teach their children about Santa?  For my wife and I, we will not be teaching our daughter to believe in Santa for a few reasons:

  1. Christmas is about Jesus.  It’s His birthday, not Santa Claus’.  In fact, the word, “Santa Claus” actually comes from the Dutch word meaning St. Nicolas.  He was a 3rd century Bishop of the Christian church in Myra Turkey.  He was at the Council of Nicaea.  He spent his life defending the faith and sharing his wealth with people in need.  He was famous for following Jesus.  Everything he did, all the gifts that he gave, was in response to the greatest gift he’d been given, eternal life through Jesus Christ.  We should follow his example and make Jesus center of our Christmas season.
  2.  Santa not only distracts from the greatest gift we have, eternal life in Jesus Christ, but it also  distracts from the love of parents.  I know many people who give 3 gifts from “Santa” and one or two from mom and dad.  So the child grows up thinking that Santa loves them more than mom and dad.  He gives bigger, better, or more gifts.  Children don’t see how much they are blessed with the love of their parents, but rather their affection grows for someone else…who isnt’ even real.
  3. Teaching about Santa can damage the faith of our Children.  Think about it.  Many parents tell elaborate stories to their children about Santa.  They have their kids leave out cookies and milk on Christmas Eve.  Then in the morning, presents have appeared under the tree from “Santa.”  The cookies and milk are gone.  Some even go the extent of dressing up like Santa and visiting with the kids as the presents are delivered.  Parents take their kids to the mall and they can meet Santa, tell him what they want, and it ends up being there on Christmas.  What happens when the child finds out Santa isn’t real?  How can we expect them to believe what we teach them about Jesus, who’ve they have never seen or talked to, when the Santa the had seen in the mall was a ruse? 

Now I’m not saying get rid of anything that has to do with Santa.  Nor am I telling you that you should teach your kids to crush the hope and dreams of their friends by proclaiming that Santa isn’t real. 

Rather I am encouraging you to tell your children the truth.  Don’t lie to them about something that distracts from the true meaning of Christmas. 

I still enjoy Tim Allen’s “The Santa Claus” films and frosty and Rudolf films.  I’ll tell my daughter that they are fun made up stories, but I’ll teach her about the real St. Nick and how he always pointed to Jesus.  I’ll teach her that Christmas is the day we celebrate Jesus’ birthday.  It’s all about Jesus.  He is the greatest gift the world has ever received.  So to celebrate that gift, we focus on Him and we give gifts to others, because we were given life through Jesus Christ. 

Resources

If you are interested in learning more about the real St. Nicolas or about how the modern Santa Clause legends came about, visit the St. Nicolas Center’s website

Concordia Publishing House sells a great book, Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend.  It’s a great resources for teaching children about the real St. Nicholas. 

There’s a new film coming out called Nicholas of Myra: The Story of St. Nicholas which looks to be a good quality film being made on the real St. Nick. 

Have a Blessed Christmas!

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About Ted Torreson

I'm a Husband, Father, Pastor & Church planter

Posted on December 19, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Thanks for a good post from Jerry at committedtotruth.wordpress.com!

  2. Thanks for the thought-provoking post.
    While I don’t disagree with you on the amount of emphasis our society places on Santa over Jesus or on receiving rather than giving; the fact is that Christmas is a sort of made up holiday anyway.

    We celebrate the birth of Jesus, but it seems Jesus was probably born in the spring.

    I believe in telling kids the truth, but allowing them the opportunity to dream and imagine a magical place far away is all part of growing up. I think I’ll let them be kids for as long as they want to be. When they become aware enough to ask questions about who, what, how, where, etc, then I’ll unload on them all the truth they can handle.

    Just my thoughts on the subject. Maybe some day we’ll get to compare notes. Either way, because we care, our kids will grow up to be well adjusted adults.

    • You make a good point. I wouldn’t necessarily correct my daughter’s imagination. I would just continually point her back to the reason we celebrate Christmas. It’s about Jesus. No one else. Christmas might be a “Fake Holiday” since we don’t actually know the percise date that Jesus was born, but it is the day that those who follow Christ have chosen to honor and celebrate the day of His birth, and the day bears his name. If my daughter asks if Santa is real, I’ll tell her the real story of St. Nicholas and how he pointed to Jesus. I’ll correct her thinking when appropriate, yet obviously I wouldn’t walk into the room and point out how the things she’s enjoying are fake.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. Ted, you are a good father and human!

    Merry Christmas!

  4. I often here non believers talk of Christmas being a pagan holiday stolen by the Church to help propagate their mythology. If one or both of the most important days of our faith is “made up” how can we have faith in any of the churches beliefs? A lot of atheist believe large parts of the New Testament was written by a mad man in prison and other parts made up by the Roman Catholic Church and the powerful and wealthy men in charge to keep the ignorant masses in check. We follow Christ purely through faith, if the Bible is truely the inspired word of God, why steal holy days from other religions?

    • Randy, “Christmas” never was a Pagan holiday. It always was a Christian holiday in that Christmas has always been a day that was about Christ, hence Christ’s name in the title. That said, the day we celebrate Christmas, December 25th, held significance for other reasons.

      December 25th, in the Julian Calander was the day of the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and the longest night of the year. It was a day of Darkness. The Germans burned the Yule log to ward off the darkness or evil that seemed to be consuming the day. December 25th was seen as the first day of winter. It was often the last day of feasting before the famine months of January through April. They were entering into a time of uncertainty. People didn’t know if they’d survive till spring. It was also seen as the beginning and the end of the world seasonal cycle, which brought about themes of death and rebirth.

      Because of these things, the 25th was a day of significance to which many cultures and religions attached spiritual meaning. It was also a day of debauchery because of the feasting before the famine of winter. For the many reasons above, it made sense to celebrate the birth of Christ on this day.

      Many early Christians were drawn into the pagan practices and the feasting of the day, both of which often lead to debauchery. It made sense to give these Christians an alternative celebration that would aid in their faiths and not draw them from Christ. Also, because of the winter solstice being the darkest day of the year, it also made sense to celebrate the coming of the Light of the World. As was writing in Isaiah9:2 and quoted in Matthew 4:16, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

      And as John writes in Chapter one 4- 9 of His Gospel Account,

      “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. 6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

      The 25th was the best day to celebrate Christmas. Biblically, there is no evidence as to what exact day Jesus’ birth happened. If we are to celebrate it, we have to do it on on a particular day. Many scholars claim there are some hints that it happened in the spring, yet there’s nothing conclusive. The early church chose the day that would hold the most significance. So instead of cowering in fear of the darkness of that day, they would celebrate the new light that had come into the world. In the face of uncertainty of death, it was a good reminder of the certainty of life that we have in Christ.

      Here’s a couple of really short articles that claim that Pagan celebrations were added to December 25th because of the growth of the celebration of Christmas on that day. The second article actually makes the case that the 25th was actually the birthday of Jesus. http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2005/12/is_christmas_pa.html http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2009/12/christmas-history-tradition.html

    • Randy,

      I totally understand your concerns. However, the dating system (the Julian calendar) was not developed until AD 525 which is after the Bible was written. Since there are no dates in the Bible, all dates shown in any document are derived from the information provided in the Bible and other historical writings. This is the same issue for any historical documents (Biblical or secular) written prior to AD 525.

      This being said, we don’t know exactly when Jesus was born, but we DO know He was born, so it really shouldn’t matter which day we choose to celebrate His birth. There is much information available to explain why they thought that December 25 is a possible date of His birth, but I won’t go into that…..

      Have a Victorious Day!
      Marianne Clements
      http://www.VictoryChristianCoaching.com

  5. Nice post and links. We won’t be teaching our 2 year old son about Santa Clause. We have been doing Advent for the first time in our lives and his. It has been so cool to see how liturgy forms and teaches us. Merry Christmas.

    • Thanks. I’m glad you liked it. I’m glad you got to celebrated Advent this year. It’s a great way to focus on the coming Kingdom of Christ during a time of year where the kingdom of consumerism reigns. I love the connection with the ancient church as we look forward to Christ’s second coming when he restores all things, but also connecting with the yearning of the ancient Hebrews as they awaited the messiah we know as Jesus. Have a Merry Christmas as well!

  1. Pingback: Kick Santa To The Curb? | Leaders & Entrepreneurs

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