I remember a letter my dad sent me back when I was single. Enclosed was the reason he didn’t ever tell us about “Santa”. He believed that if we ever found out that Santa wasn’t real that we wouldn’t believe other things he told us like his testimony of our Savior. He never wanted to lie or tell us any untruths. Growing up I always knew “Santa” was my parents. My favorite thing was when I was finally old enough to help “Santa” wrap presents. I seriously still love wrapping presents!
When my eldest daughter was 8, she started asking lots of questions about if Santa was real (as in the big jolly guy that comes down a chimney on Christmas Eve). I really wasn’t sure what to say without telling her a lie so I gave her very vague, generic answers. Finally, we sat down and I told her the truth about who Santa really is. We also told our younger two and my youngest daughter thought everyone should know and told all the girls in the neighborhood that Santa wasn’t real. Ooops! Lesson learned!
So who is Santa really? For us, Santa represents goodness, love, kindness, and miracles at Christmas time. Anyone buying gifts out of love for another person is a “Santa”. Anyone who considers the needs and desires of others and wants to help meet those needs is a “Santa”. On all of my kids’ presents I write “From: Santa”. We say things like, “Santa needs to wrap the presents or buy the presents”, “Get to bed so “Santa” can get his work done”. We love being “Secret Santas” and picking needy neighbors to sneak treats and gifts.
Santa is a part of all of the “fun” parts of Christmas…the lights, gingerbread, Christmas movies like “The Grinch”. I think we enjoy all of these so much because we do them together as a family. We spend so much more time together during December!
These are some of my cautions about believing in Santa…
- Be careful not to tell lies. Over the years I have heard parents tell extravagant lies to get their children to continue to believe in Santa. I have found that if you have to lie to them, they are probably old enough to know the “truth”.
- Be careful that Christmas doesn’t breed greed. My kids used to circle everything in the kids’ Toybooks. They wanted it all and everything they saw in commercials too. Sometimes the Santa myth is that he’ll bring you anything you want. We had a good talk with our kids about budgets and what the spending limit was for Christmas gifts is.
- Don’t spend money you don’t have for presents your kids don’t need! If you can’t afford it, they don’t need it. Make sure to set a budget in January for what you will want to spend next Christmas and start saving! Be wise with what you buy!
- Ask yourself if the activity brings your family closer together? If not, maybe you should consider a different activity. Check out my post on Simplifying Christmas.
- Most importantly, does it bring you closer to Christ? Make sure that Santa does not replace Christ during this season. Santa can be a good part of the fun and goodness but shouldn’t be the main focus.
I think the true magic of Christmas happens when we replace the Spirit of “Santa” with the Spirit of Christ. I have nativities all throughout my house and one that I love is of Santa kneeling near the baby Jesus. I really love the symbolism of goodness and light and doing things out of love. This to me represents Christmas. Think about the ultimate Christmas present…The gift of our Lord and Savior and his life and love for each of us. Make Him the center of your Christmas and you will see true peace and happiness!