Reasons why our family deliberately chooses to believe in Santa Claus! Plus a free "Is Santa Real?" Letter download to help explain it to your kids!
LET'S TALK SANTA CLAUS!
Do you believe in Santa Claus? You know, the jolly man in the red suit?
Santa brings more controversy this time of year than I think he ever intends. For years now, I've been trying to hone in on our family's philosophy towards Santa. Since I'm a bit of chameleon at heart (not a trait I love), I find myself going back and forth on my opinion of this jolly fellow.
I agree with those who are Team Santa and I agree with those who aren't.
I've never been one to speak up in conversations about my feelings toward Santa, because I honestly see both sides. I agree that Christmas has become way over-commercialized and that Santa often takes the place of any thought of Christ.
But I also love the magical aspect of Santa and that it allows each one of us to hope in something we can't see.
Finally, I think we have found the perfect balance for our family.
TO BELIEVE IN SANTA OR NOT TO BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS
Before I get into all my thoughts, I just want to say this:
- You are entitled to your own opinion about Santa Claus!
- You do what is best for your own family. There is beauty in that!
- If your opinions are different than mine, that's totally ok! We can still be friends and I won't judge.
- Whatever side you take, I hope that you are being deliberate about it and not just choosing a side because that's the cool thing or what you did growing up.
CHRISTMAS AT OUR HOME
Before I get to all the reasons why we choose to have Santa in our home, let me explain what Christmas looks like at our house, especially when it comes to gifts.
When my oldest child was only 3, Santa brought him a pile of gifts, just as he had when I was a little girl. My little boy opened his first gift, threw it aside, and went for the next one. This continued on until all his gifts were opened. And then he said, "Is that all?"
This was the first moment when I knew something had to change. My son had just received numerous gifts, but instead of appreciating them, he wondered if there were more. Instead of enjoying his new toys to the fullest, he seemed discontent that there weren't anymore to open.
Since then, we've simplified our gift giving and all aspects of our Christmas. We realized our family (and our children) had ENOUGH.
Sure there was room for something new at Christmas because that's fun, but we became very intentional about what Santa would bring our children.
Santa usually brings our children a book, a toy, and something they need, plus a stocking with some treats, snacks, a toothbrush and maybe a small gift. Santa will sometimes leave a gift for the family like a new game or movie.
This amount of gifts works well for us because:
- Our children rarely play with their toys. They would much rather create art or play with random household items than with actual toys. I've boxed up or gotten rid of about 80% of our toys and they don't even notice.
- We've noticed that our children cherish what they receive. Less really is more!
- Along with gifts from grandparents, they get plenty!
WHY WE BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS
With that said, we have chosen to have Santa in our home. This is why.
When gifts are given in Santa's name, they are given without need of recognition.
Santa is the generous, anonymous gift giver. This reminds me of the scripture found in the Bible when Jesus said, "But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." (Matthew 6:3)
If Jesus teaches that our gifts should be given in secret, I think that giving gifts in the name of Santa fits right along with Jesus' teaching.
As we celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6th each year, we are reminded that Nicholas devoted his life to giving food, gold, and clothing to those in need. And he did this in SECRET.
There is magical feeling that comes when you can do things in secret.
Since the American Santa Claus tradition is based off of St. Nick of old, I feel it totally appropriate to promote anonymous gift giving.
WHY PEOPLE DON'T BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS
As I've been trying to come up with our own philosophy for Santa Claus, I notice that the families who choose not to have Santa base it off these reasons.
(And again, I'm not trying to change anyone's opinions by discussing these arguments against Santa. By addressing them, I'm clarifying our family's stance on Santa and why we believe.)
1. "I'M LYING TO MY CHILDREN."
If my children ever ask me, "Do you believe in Santa Claus?" I say yes. I do believe in Santa because he is a symbol of Christ and his selfless service and spirit of giving.
When our children ask questions about Santa, we respond with "What do you think?" They usually come up with their own answer. I don't think there is anything wrong with letting children use their imagination to decide what Santa looks like to them.
With that said, we don't make Santa a huge deal by hyping up the stories of North Pole, reindeer and flying around the world. We will read those in story books, and it's okay to imagine those fun things.
I don't feel like we are lying to our children because the magic of Santa is real. There is no lie behind the spirit of true charity.
When they have questions, we will answer them. But Santa is real. He is you. He is me. He is all of us at our very best. He is a symbol of the Savior Jesus Christ.
2. "SANTA SHOULDN'T GET THE CREDIT FOR THE BIG GIFTS."
This is a valid argument! But, I think that anyone who acts in the name of Santa is doing it out of pure love--with no thought of reward or recognition. True joy comes from serving others without the need to be recognized.
I think modeling this to our children will help them learn how to genuinely serve and give to others without doing it for praise.
HOW TO INCORPORATE SANTA AND THE TRUE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS IN YOUR HOME
Even though we believe in Santa, Christ is still the focus of our Christmas season.
Here's a few tips that we have found useful in finding this balance.
- We don't decorate with a lot of Santa items. Nativities are our primary decoration, along with our Christmas tree, stockings, garland, wreath, mistletoe, and candles. All of these symbols remind of us Christ as the darling book See Christ in Christmas teaches.
- We celebrate Advent Sundays.
- We read I Believe in Santa Claus. This is a perfect way to explain how Santa can remind us Christ in so many ways.
- We do our scripture advent, focusing on an attribute of Christ each day.
- We do the 12 Days of Christmas, Secret Santa and other anonymous acts of service throughout the month.
- And here's 25 Christ-Centered Christmas Traditions that we also choose activities from.
HOW TO TELL KIDS ABOUT SANTA CLAUS
So what happens when your kids ask "Is Santa Real or is it your parents?" We created this Is Santa Real letter that helps explain all of this!
I think this is a good approach for how to talk about santa without lying.
So, is Santa real today? That is totally up to you! But I hope these thoughts have been helpful as you decided how to do Santa in your family.
No matter what side you find yourself on, I hope that Christmas can be a wonderful, peace-filled season for you and your family!