Here is a fun little note from my Mom about her thoughts on using Santa in Christmas celebrations:
The Truth about Santa Claus
Like many children I have fond memories of Christmas morning. I remember waking up at the crack of dawn and sneaking out to see presents, toys, ballons, and candy as our whole house had been transformed into a wonderland.
I loved all the activities surrounding that celebration; Christmas pageants at church with the manger and cardboard animal stand ups; Caroling outdoors with cheeks reddened and chapped by the blustery cold wind; Baking cookies with my mother and packaging them up for Aunts I had never met; and holiday visits from Grandma and Grandpa.
The whole season seemed magical!
As a young mom I wanted the magic for my children. But an era of child phychology, and parenting gurus writing “how to” books were imposing some ominous questions.
What do you tell your child about Santa Claus? How can you build a foundation of parental trust if you lie to your children and tell them a ficticious character is real? If parents tell children both Jesus and Santa are real, then tell them that Santa is not, will children then conclude Jesus is not real?
It had all seemed so simple as a child, and was becoming so complicated as an adult.
Deciding to avoid the dilemma all together, I simply told my children Christmas was a day we celebrated the Birthday of Jesus. Santa Claus was a game we played at Jesus’ Birthday Party. We set out cookies for him to eat, we put out socks for him to fill then go to sleep in the hopes he will come and give us goodies.
But the day came when I was confronted with “the” question. My son asked, “Mom, is Santa Claus real?” I had been warned by the books and child phychologists this day of reconning would come. Those guru’s had cautioned I was on a parental precipice with my son’s emotional, spiritual and psychological growth hanging in the balance.
Yes, indeed, this was a slippery slope. If I answered “yes,” in an attempt to keep my son’s hopes and dreams and child-like wonder alive a little longer, I would be lying. If I said “no” I would ruin the next few years of Christmas magic for him. To make matters worse, I looked into those little innocent eyes and they said to me they wanted to believe.
So I dipped from the “well” of my childhood (I was blessed to have very wise parents), and I gave him the answer similar to the answer my parents had given me.
“Santa is a real as any super-hero, like Batman and Superman.”
I truly saw a sense of relief on my son’s face as he replied, “They are real to me.” He wanted to believe in magic and a world of super-heroes. A world where little boys with hand towels pinned around the neck could win every fight against imaginary bad guys and every girl could find a handsome prince to carry her away.
I realized children are not little adults seeing the world as I do. Living in the world they still thrive and play in a world of make-believe and immagination. They can truly pretend. Infact they flourish between the two worlds of reality and fantasy. One world does not contradict the other, they both simply exist to a child.
A child’s faith will be strengthened by the years of family celebrations, joys and “games” shared together. My children will believe Jesus is real because they will see a daily example of his presence and guidance in my life.
Sometimes I think it’s best, to keep it simple and let our children imagine.
– Written by : Carol Goodlet
My Mom. 🙂
Side note: I am one of 4 children. We are all
adults now and, to this day, not one of us
has given up on faith in Jesus Christ
because of Santa.
For another great resource to explain Christ at Christmas check out:
Why do we call it Christmas? by What’s in the Bible. This DVD is a family favorite in our house. From the creator of Veggie Tales, get a simple explanation of how Santa Claus (St. Nick) came about and how he too can help teach our families how to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.