Monday, November 24, 2008

The Truth about Santa & Christmas?!

A friend of mine, Ms. Abby Hogelin, posted this on her facebook page. I liked what she had to say and asked if I could post it here. She said yes. Thank you, Abby. The message could be controversial if you've never thought of this aspect of Santa Claus, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Do you agree or disagree with Ms. Abby? Can anybody give me a scriptural reason to "believe" in Santa? Personally, we are still working out what to say to our kids about Santa. Princess will be 3 this year, and we will probably need to say something more about it, but Santa doesn't visit our house at Christmas. The kids know the gifts come from us. What do you do in your family?

Enjoy Abby's thoughts...

I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but I work retail, where Christmas seems to start right after Halloween. In fact, Academy's been playing Christmas music since the beginning of November (not non-stop thank goodness). While on a break there today, I heard a song that said something about being "good, extra good" so that Santa would reward you. And it struck me how the mainstream "Christmas" message is completely opposed to the idea of grace, which is what Christmas is supposed to be about.

Unlike most kids, I grew up not believing in Santa Claus. My parents never told me to believe in him, so I never had to face that terrible realization that my parents lied to me. I was exposed to the usual Santa Claus songs at school, though, and it never really bothered me that some people considered him to be a vital part of the Christmas season. After all, I knew that Christmas was really about Jesus being born in a manger, so why shouldn't other people have their fun with this Santa Claus myth? But my realization today has made me rethink my views on Santa Claus. I now see the myth as something much more sinister than probably many people realize.

It's not just the greed and the selfishness of wanting presents that gets me anymore. It's not the lies and deception that parents perform against their children. The whole culture that produced the idea of Santa Claus is warped. Our culture teaches that if you are a good little girl or boy, Santa will reward you with toys and gifts. This is a works-based worldview, training people from childhood to expect their good behavior to pay off, to count for something. It's a worldview that continues on into adulthood, long after people stop believing in Santa Claus. How sad and heartbreaking is it then, that this message should be broadcast across our airwaves and brainwashed into our minds during the same season that we celebrate Jesus's birth?!

Jesus was born so that he could die for our sins and offer us grace-- giving us the free gift of eternal life when we didn't deserve it because of our sins. I think many people lose sight of the fact that the Christmas season looks forward to Easter and the cross. There's a great Christmas song by Chris Rice called "Welcome to Our World." In it, he sings, "Tiny heart whose blood will save us / Unto us is born." This should be the message of Christmas-- that through Jesus's birth, death, and resurrection, we can have life by believing in his name!

It has been pointed out that Santa is an anagram for Satan. Before today, I just laughed off this comparison, but it might not be far from the truth. What better way to distract people from the message of grace than to present them with the myth of Santa and works-based rewards? Isn't it usually the case that evil masquerades as something appealing? Think of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Didn't Adam and Eve think it looked good to eat? Likewise, people everywhere want to believe in this works-based system, which Christians know is a lie.

Why don't we share with them this Christmas season that God is not like Santa Claus, rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior? God isn't someone to approach with a list of things we want, either. Instead, He loved us fully and completely in spite of what we have done. He sent His son Jesus to die for us to give us eternal life. Please join with me in sharing the message of grace this Christmas Season.


  1. I am in total agreeement. Our are almost 8 and 6 and they have always known that we don't believe in Santa Claus. I have heard that there was a real person St. Nick that did good deeds and gave gifts at Christmas and to me, that is fine. However, I agree with Abby that Santa steals the real Christmas message about Jesus. She said it very well.

  2. Shirley,
    Did you allow your kids to tell other kids the truth about Santa, or what happened there. I have a friend whose daughter told everyone in her 4K class that Santa wasn't real. Does anybody reading think we should also teach them to be truth proclaimers in this area?

  3. There is merit to the original post. So much 'bad' is dressed up as 'good' in our society today. However, I am not so sure that we need to over-analyze everything. What is wrong with letting a child get excited over Santa? Children tend to be visual learners so let your child see someone doing good things! Santa does good things! Our time with our young children is limited-why use it with extreme analyses of simple childhood icons? For that matter-how many people out there have their children pose with Big Al or Aubie characters? They are not real either! Elephants and tigers in their true form can be vicious so should we boycott SEC football too?
    God knows the conditions of our hearts. If my child's understanding of kindness and generosity is increased because of the story of Santa, so be it.

  4. Hey Kim,
    Thanks for commenting. :) Actually, Daniel and I aren't at this stage opposed to the kids having pics made with Santa. They know about Santa. Obviously Princess is a big fan of Cinderella and I would let her pose with her if she saw her. That's not the issue though.

    I personally am feeling guilty because I will use the "works based worldview" to my advantage, not about Santa, but in general. "If you do this, you will get this as a reward, etc." Is this teaching my children the opposite of grace? Maybe so. And that's the part about this post that is intriguing to me and that I would like to have others thoughts on.

    The only problem I have with Santa is that usually he overshadows Christ, and I want Christ first in my life and in my family's life. The original idea of St. Nick giving toys to those less fortunate - this is what we tell the kids about Santa.

    I appreciate everyone's thoughts...:) Please comment more often.

  5. I agree that Santa is distracting from the real reason to celebrate Christmas. I'm not sure how I will deal with this if/when we have kids, but I want Jesus to be the first thing my kids think about when they think about Christmas.

    But I think the works-based thing is getting confused. Don't parents reward good behavior and punish bad behavior all the time? Rewarding good behavior with love and bad behavior with no love would be "works-based" to me. I think if parents are able to teach their kids that they love them no matter what, then the child will more easily understand God's love.

    Of course, I'm not a parent - so you are more of an authority on this than me!

  6. Guac N Roll, I agree totally with you. Between Abby's post and a post I read on dated October 30, (which I found linked from Josh's page), these strange thoughts have been milling around in my head about how we should live out grace to the kids. Unlike the poster on the virtuous woman blog, I do try to teach self esteem because I have tended to have low self esteem in my life and don't want this for my kids. I just needed to think through my thoughts in discussion with you all. I always tend to see 2 sides to the story, which can be bad when it comes to pinpointing my own beliefs. Thank you ladies for your gentle reminders. What I teach my kids is that I love them when they are good and when they are bad and so does God. This is grace, and that's what I've been teaching, so I feel good about that. Punishment does not always feel like love to the kids, but it is important and in alignment with Him. Otherall, Santa is immaterial - it is what we teach our kids daily that matters.


I love to receive your thoughts. I am blessed and encouraged by them. May God bless your day today!


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