Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why We Don't "Do" Santa Claus

Christmas will be here before we know it! As of today, there are 72 days left until Christmas! :o

With Christmas being so close, people have started saying to my boys, "Better behave, Santa's watching!" I know they mean well, but I have to correct them: "We don't really do Santa."

But why? Why have we taken this beloved childhood icon away from our children? For two reasons.

1. I felt bad lying to them. I really try to tell my kids the truth. I expect honesty from them, so I try to present honesty to them as much as possible. By telling them Santa was coming and they'd better behave because Santa was watching, and making up reasons why he could get in our house when we have no fireplace, I was lying to them. And God was convicting me. Big time. I felt horrible every time Santa was mentioned in this house.

2. It took the focus off of Christ. I'm not saying you can't believe in Santa and know the real meaning of Christmas at the same time. You most certainly can. But I didn't want my kids to behave because Santa was watching and if they weren't good they'd get coal in their stockings. I want them to behave because it honors God. Because the bible says to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1). Because God is watching, not Santa.

Some moms I know refuse to "do" Santa because they are afraid that once their kids found out they were lying about Santa, they'd think their parents were also lying about God. I don't hold this same view. One only mentions Santa around the last 1/4 of the year. We don't go to church every Sunday and praise Santa. There are not whole radio stations and television stations based on Santa's teachings. People don't dedicate their lives to loving and serving Santa.

If you're afraid of your kids dumping God because they found out Santa isn't real, try making God real to them. How do we make Santa real? We leave milk and cookies for him, then we show them the empty plate and glass in the morning. We tell them Santa left presents for them. We take them to see Santa in malls and stores. We try to have an answer for every question they ask about him.

So let's make God as real to them as we've made Santa. Every time something good happens, point out that God had a hand in it and have them thank him. If they want or need something, have them pray about it. Then, when the prayer is answered (whether it's in their favor or not), point out the fact to them. Take them to a good, bible-believing church. Research questions kids might ask about God and Christianity so you're ready with real answers when they ask. (This book is a good place to start.)

So, what happens when other kids start talking about Santa? I realize that not everyone shares my view about Santa Claus and that their kids still believe in him. And that's fine. I don't think he's evil or that believing in him is bad. If Santa works for you and your family, by all means, do it. My kids are instructed not to tell other kids that Santa isn't real. That's up to their parents and/or other family members. My kids are instructed to sit quietly while the discussion of Santa is happening. It's worked so far. :)

What about you? Do you let your kids believe in Santa?