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It really is a magical time of year, isn’t it? What is there not to love about all the garland and boughs of holly strung up everywhere?
Houses are decorated so beautifully and at night entire neighborhoods are lit up from one end to another.
Stores keep longer hours hoping to entice that last-minute shopper.
Children are writing out their Christmas lists for Santa Claus.
Church choirs practice singing their Christmas hymns.
Grandma and Grandpa are anxiously awaiting time spent with grandchildren who live hundreds of miles away.
Stockings are hung by the chimney with care.
This time of year is a favorite for kids of all ages. After all who does not remember sitting on Santa’s lap and the anticipation of telling him what you wanted, especially you told him that you were a good little boy or girl?
Some churches put on live nativity scenes to help celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior.
Some parents even do the Elf on a Shelf, who watches little children and reports their behavior back to Santa Claus.
For most of the population, especially parents with young children, Christmas time is about Santa Claus and receiving presents.
Going Against the Grain
In this polarized nation that we live in, everybody has the freedom to make choices for how they raise their children. Some choices are applauded and some are not quite so popular.
My husband and I made one of those choices, regarding the jolly old fat man.
We decided before we had our first child not to teach our children about Santa Claus.
Gasp! The horror! I know, how could we?
Well, we have a few reasons why we have decided not to teach our children the lie of Santa Claus:
Why We Don’t Teach Our Children About Santa
We never felt comfortable with forcing our children to go sit on a stranger’s lap just to create that perfect photo op. We spend so much time teaching them about stranger danger, then we expect them to sit in a complete stranger’s lap?
Creepy Fake Dude:
We never liked the idea of teaching our children that a fictional character is assessing their behavior from afar. Creepy, if you ask me.
That a fat man in a red suit drives a sleigh powered by reindeer; which is able to hold enough toys for all the good little boys and girls. Reading a fiction story is one thing, but teaching your child that magic is real is only setting them up for failure.
We do not want our children behaving all year because they believe that Santa Claus can see them. And if Santa thinks they are good then they may get a gift for Christmas from him.
Receiving gifts should not be based upon good works, but done out of love. Our own personal salvation is a gift based upon faith, not through the good works of man. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God“. Ephesians 2:8
We want our children to know this truth. They cannot work their way into heaven by doing good things, but only through their faith may they receive the gift of salvation. Their salvation is a gift, which gives them eternal life.
There are mothers using gifts from Santa to manipulate their children into behaving in a way that pleases the parent at the time. This kind of manipulation is entirely unbiblical. Using gifts from a mythical figure can only serve to promote a form of moralism that is foreign to the gospel of Jesus Christ. If our actions are done to earn rewards for ourselves, are we not acting selfishly? This is not an attitude we should seek to instill in our children at all.
We want our children to worship the one true God, not any false gods. It is written in Exodus 20:3 that “you shall have no other gods before me.” By allowing other priorities to be placed first before the Lord then we have false idols in our lives. And we do not want the idea of Santa Claus becoming a false idol to our children.
We choose to speak truthfully to our children, all the time. If a child has been lied to their entire life, in this case teaching them that Santa Claus is real, then how do we expect them to trust us when they get older?
We want them to trust us when they are older and not question their faith in God. Any parent who teaches their children much of what is popular about Santa knows that they will eventually learn that it was all a lie. Lying is a sin and it cannot be justified on biblical grounds.
Have we bowed to cultural pressures to have our children conform to the ways of the world, or do we celebrate Santa so that Christ can be exalted? Rather than dealing with the root of sin against God, who is the definition of “good,” the “goodness” promoted by Santa finds its roots in the humanistic philosophy of behavior modification.
“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:5–10)
“Now, therefore, fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.”Joshua 24:14
“Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24
The Other Side
I am well aware of the arguments on why your family may choose Santa Claus. I have heard the following comments for defending the jolly old fat dude.
“Christmas is not the same without Santa Claus”
“I was raised believing in Santa Claus and turned out fine”
“It is all about the magic of believing in Santa Claus”
“You are going to ruin Christmas for your children”
“You suck all the fun out of Christmas”
“Do you not have any creativity?”
“How on earth do you celebrate then?”
How We Celebrate
Believe it or not but my children are normal happy children who have not missed anything by not believing in Santa Claus, they are just as excited about Christmas as little Sally or Johnny down the street. However, they have been taught the truth and believe the truth about why we celebrate Christmas.
We believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior, the son of God, born to Mary and Joseph. Whether or not the actual date is Christmas, we choose to celebrate the birth of our Savior that day. We open gifts, bake cookies, and decorate in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ.
So how do we celebrate? Probably a lot like you in many ways.
- Make a birthday cake
- Sing happy birthday to Jesus
- Bake cookies and candies
- Visit family
- Open gifts
- Hang stockings
- Attend church services
- Attend holiday concerts
- Go caroling
- Read the real Christmas story
Christmas is Coming
Christmas is wonderful, magical, full of imagination, and hopefully creating memories our children will carry with them for a lifetime. And here in just a few days, we will have six excited children waiting by the tree to open presents.
Stephanie, Training Keepers of the Home