We told our children that Santa was not real. Right from the start.
“Yea, that guy in the mall is dressed like Santa but he’s still stuck in his Halloween costume and will not be making a visit to our home through the chimney,” I said to the kids. “Don’t worry, you’ll still get presents. But not from him.”
My wife was not pleased with “our” decision to spill the beans, an act that has earned me the nickname “Grinch” all December long. Liz liked the idea of having a whimsical-fun Santa vibe in our house. I like fun, but that doesn’t match my definition of it.
My purpose for sharing inside information about Santa was not supposed to be a big deal. It’s with the intention of making Jesus the big deal.
As a kid, I went coo-coo for Coco Puffs over Santa. I had a Christmas Wish List longer than Santa’s beard and I couldn’t wait to get to the mall to sit on his lap and tell him all about it. My brothers and I would fight over who got to set the milk and cookies out on Christmas Eve and then we would try to stay up all night, hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa.
As a family, we were involved in the church community all throughout the year. We talked about Jesus and knew that he was “the reason for the season” and that was all good and nice. But when it came to Santa, he was the one who brought presents and the one I waited for.
Yea, Jesus was delivered. But Santa delivered.
When I found out that Santa was not real, it was a crushing blow. It seemed as if I was lied to. And I was embarrassed for being dumb enough to believe it.
In that moment I knew that I would not promote Santa to my kids. Why focus on a fake part of Christmas and miss out on the real deal? Why even drift toward it and blur the lines? Can children really hold two images of Christmas (Santa and Jesus) in their mind? Or will one grow stronger than the other? They hear about Jesus, but Santa gives them presents.
Thinking about this whole Santa vs Jesus thing, this is what it comes down to: You will stand for something at Christmas time. Do you want your children to wonder who you stand for?
Question: When did you learn about Santa and how did you feel? Click here to comment.
Tomorrow, I’ll talk about what we shared with our children and how they’ve handled the insider information about Santa.