What we told our kids about Santa

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.

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6 thoughts on “What we told our kids about Santa

  1. We don’t do Santa with our kids, and my parents didn’t do Santa with me. They did talk about who Saint Nicolas was, and they explained the true meaning of Christmas to me. I’m trying to do that for my kids.

  2. We told Addelyn that Santa is pretend but we are still having him “come” and bring one present. But we continue to say how it is fun to pretend when we talk about Santa (this girl lives in a world of imagination) and focus on what the true meaning of Christmas is MUCH more than what we talk about Santa.
    As for me, I was the same as you. Heartbroken and felt lied to when I first learned about Santa not being real. So I guess that is what brought me to the place we are now.

    • Good stuff. I think it’s great that you’re having the conversations about Santa. I remember my mom saying that she arranged for Santa to bring “practical” gifts like socks so that his gift wouldn’t steal the show :)

  3. We pretty much have same the same thoughts, feelings, explanations as you, Ben. We feel kind of bad if our kids spill the beans to another kid, but not really. In fact, our Lindsey’s parent’s friend stopped by the other day and our kids answered the door with Lindsey. The lady said “Who’s going to come see you soon?” with an excited voice. Jason replid “Grandpa?” To which she said, “Well maybe but isn’t Santa coming?” and Ben chimed in “Santa’s not real!” haha we were trying not to laugh but it was awesome! :)

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