This is the second installment of a two-part series addressing the question, “What do you ‘do’ with Santa at Christmas, as a Christian parent?” You can link to the first part of the series here.
We worried about how our kids’ grandparents (our parents) would react to us “depriving our kids of Santa”… We don’t take our kids to see Santa at the mall, but their grandparents do, and that’s fine with us. We’re just clear with them (clear with our kids and clear with our parents!) that they are going to see a man dressed up like Santa.
Again, we don’t say “Santa’s not real…”, instead we say “Santa lived 1600 years ago, and people dress up like him around Jesus’ birthday to help us remember to be generous at Christmastime”. So see, rather than just rejecting Santa and popular culture/tradition, we sort-of cleverly co-opt the worldly materialistic take on Santa, and use it to our advantage to promote generosity and giving! Pretty slick, huh!?
Honestly, even after all this teaching and explaining and reminding, it can still be a struggle with our kids. Even with all the proactive talking about giving & generosity & celebrating Jesus at Christmastime, it’s still their tendency (and ours, too!) to crave “stuff” and think about “what we are getting at Christmas”.
But we think, how much worse would it be if we were pushing Santa and wish lists and “being good so you can get everything you’re asking for”? It’s already an uphill battle against the flesh and greed and self-absorption anyway – that fire doesn’t need any extra fuel!
In conclusion (wow this is way too long of a response to your question – sorry!), we don’t reject or condemn all the fun, traditional, cultural icons of Christmas – we have Santa ornaments, and we put up stockings, and we listen to secular Christmas music on Sunny100, and we watch the movie Elf, and do all that fun cultural Christmas-y stuff with our kids…
We just make it point to put our focus – in our little family’s personal traditions and discussions together – to make the main topic of what we constantly talk about leading up to Christmas be on Christ and celebrating God’s Gift of Him to us – and how we can honor His giving by participating in gift-giving on His birthday.
How about you? If you’re a parent, what do you ‘do’ with Santa at Christmas? If you’re not a parent, what do you plan to do? Or what did your parents do, or your friends’ parents do, that helped you keep Christmas Jesus-&-giving-centric instead of Santa-&-getting-centric?