Thursday, December 08, 2011

Christmas: Santa vs Christ

I've had a huge struggle these past few weeks with the thought of teaching Henry in the coming years what Christmas is all about. It's weighed so heavy on my heart and mind that I've decided to reach out to you, my Christian friends, for some advice on how you handled your children at this time of the year when they were growing up.

I want him to know that Christmas is Christ's birthday. I want him to hear the Christmas story every year and know that this is the true reason why we celebrate. I've already decided that each year he will only receive three gifts from Jeremy and I; as Christ received three gifts from the wisemen. I've also decided that I'd like to start the tradition of making cupcakes the night before and singing 'Happy Birthday' to Jesus Christmas morning and allowing my children to each blow out a candle for Him. These are things I am sure of, things Jeremy and I have discussed and agree upon and are excited to start as our own family traditions.

Where I am struggling is how to introduce Santa Claus without taking away and confusing my children with what Christmas is all about. I don't want to take the 'magic' of Santa away from Henry and any future children we may have, but I'm just not sure how to incorporate both into Christmas. One just seems to take away from the other. I hate that. I hate that our country is so wrapped up in things that are so far from the true meaning that I have to seriously worry about how to keep the true meaning of Christmas in my children's hearts without depriving them of what every other child around them is celebrating.

So really I want your opinions. I want to know what you think about it all and how you taught your children growing up what Christmas was truly about while also incorporating Santa into it all. I'll really appreciate any of your input!


  1. We had Santa bring 3 gifts to Allison and Christopher representing the three wise men. The other gifts they got were from us.

    We have always attended church on Christmas Eve. They have attended Christmas mass(catholic) and Christmas Eve Service (Disciple of Christ) with both of us. They were taught to see the sameness of the two religions and not the difference.

    We also always adopted a child for each of our children to buy for. We hoped that doing this every year would show them the importance of giving and not receiving.

    Your ideas sound wonderful and I am sure that you will demonstrate to Henry through your everyday living what a true Christian is.

    Remember what you do this year can always be modified.

    Have a merry Christmas...

    Allison's mom

  2. Jen,
    Funny you brought this up. I work with a doc who has a 10 and 12 yr old who told them at the age of 3 that Santa was fictional. He said he refused to lie to his kids about something like that and also didn't want them to be good on the premise of getting or not getting gifts. He said they are just fine and still enjoy Christmas and know the true meaning behind it.

  3. this issue has definately been on my mind also. my oldest son is four, and we've never really made a big issue out of santa. this year my husband and i have really been talking about how we want to handle this issue of santa. i want to use santa as a tradtion but i think i'm deciding i'm not going to really push my kids to "beleive" in santa. i feel like it is such a let down when you have to tell you kids that he isn't real. i'm really struggling with how to put more Christ into christmas. it is depressing me to see all the commercialism surrounding the holiday and to realize that even though i'm not really into the materialism, i have still pushed the true meaning of christmas out of my mind in a lot of ways. thanks for sharing your ideas :)

  4. Jenn - when James and I have children, I'd like to speak of Santa has a helper to Jesus. Because Jesus is everywhere, helping/blessing other families/children or celebrating his birthday with his family, that Santa steps in to allow us to celebrate Jesus with gifts. I really like the idea of th 3 wisemen gifts.

  5. We have been discussing Christmas traditions too, especially how to possible incorporate Santa, but always bringing it back to the real reason we celebrate Christmas; as Christ's birth. I've found a devotional that starts on December 1st through Christmas Eve. It also has 4 Advent Sundays where you light a candle to represent Hope/Prophecy. Love/Bethlehem, Joy/Shepherds, Peace/Angels. As well as a 5th candle lite on Christmas Eve, Christ's candle. We want to bring the story of Jesus in every day of December as a constant reminder. {Of course how you live your life for Henry is the best example.} But I do agree that throwing Santa in and then telling him he doesn't exist does make many children then question if God exists. So far, I'm gathering information on the real St. Nicholas and will say that the Santa today represents this person of long ago. We haven't decided on whether Santa leaves any gifts, but if he does it will be just one and probably he who stuffs the stockings. It's definitely tough being a parent and making decisions that will shape your children. Merry Christmas!

  6. I am a Christian and grew up in a Christian home that LOVES Christmas and EVERYTHING that goes with it! You don't have to choose one or the other--Jesus or Santa. Tell your child(ren) the truth from the beginning. Tell them the story of the real St. Nicholas, the Christian man who lived out his faith by giving to the poor, as the Bible commands us to do. Tell them that people from all over the world have added to the story bits of their own culture and language. Explain the difference between lies and pretend. Jesus and Santa are both real people who lived long ago. Sometimes people dress up and pretend to be Santa to remember how he have to poor children. Sometimes we dress up as nativity characters to celebrate what Jesus did for us. Jesus and St. Nick are both in heaven. But we have the Holy Spirit and the "Christmas spirit" and when understood correctly, they don't conflict with each other. Kids will get that even from a young age. Most importantly, be faithful in teaching your children the truth of the bible all year long. Live it out as an example for them. Celebrate the birth of Christ every day. Give joyously every month of the year. Pray with them and for them. If you do that, they will know the real meaning of Christmas regardless of what you choose to say about Santa.

  7. I read a letter that another mom uses to incorporate santa and Christ and the Elf on the Shelf. (I didn't read the other comments so I am hoping I am not repeating.) The note was from Santa and he told the kids that he was so proud that the children loved God and celebrating Jesus birthday. He explained how has Christ in his heart and that is why he loves to give presents to children. He said he did not have a naughty and nice list, that was just a myth as God uses grace to all and explained that Grace is what we get when we don't deserve it. He said he gave presents because he felt that was what God wanted him to do. He was also leaving the elf on the shelf with them because he was a little onry and needed the kids to teach him about Jesus, the real meaning of Christmas and Grace. I thought it was pretty neat.


You don't know just how lovely you are...thank you.