“You know the letters of Santa rearranged spell Satan.” Have you ever heard that? People can have strong feelings about the big bearded guy, either for or against. Love him or not, Santa is an icon of Christmas tradition, especially to children.
The people at What’s in the Bible have created a new series called Why Do We Call It Christmas? Is intended to give children a historical context for our Christmas traditions which is very cool. (See bottom of this post to find out how you can win your own copy of the curriculum)
This includes Santa traditions by explaining the story of St. Nicholas and more. You can see a brief clip here. While this will be great information for kiddos, it might be a bit tricky for adult volunteers and parents to discuss fully with their children.
So, here are my thoughts on how volunteers and parents can address the tricky Santa issue:
For Kidmin Volunteers:
- In my opinion, this is a family’s subject matter to deal with. You will have kids whose families are all in for Santa, and you will have some who don’t do Santa at all. You could just as easily
If a child asks you if Santa is real, it is very appropriate to say, “That is a question for you to talk to Mom and Dad about.” You may be very strongly pro-Santa or anti-Santa, but you’ve got to remember that your feelings, as right as they may be, are your opinion. It has to be the decision of every family how to handle Santa.
- What’s In the Bible does a great job of sharing the story of St. Nick and talking about Santa without directly talking about whether he is real or not. And that is probably the best approach to take in class too. I would not dwell on the topic of Santa, but redirect questions and focus conversation on the story of St. Nick.
- Remember your time is limited. Your role is to point kids to Jesus.
- Decide early on (like before you have kids is ideal) how you want to handle Santa in your home. Talk about it alot and revisit your decisions each year. It’s super important to be on the same page and have clarity in your own family. Whatever you decide, be intentional!
- The awesome thing is that God does not tell us “Thou shalt not believe in Santa” nor does He say, “Thou shalt put out milk and cookies.” It is up to every family to pray about how they want to approach it and to discern what God wants for their family. And then do it. And don’t judge others who choose a different path.
- Some families choose to be pro-Santa because they love the fun, excitement, tradition and wonder that accompany the story. Kids love wonder and families need fun! If this is your family, work hard to keep Jesus the central figure, not Santa. Tell the St. Nicholas story. Focus on giving more than getting. And prepare yourself ahead of time for the question of “Is Santa real?” In the younger years, separate faith in Jesus enough from belief in Santa that your kids can grow out of Santa without growing out of Jesus.
- Some families choose to be no-Santa because they don’t want to lie to their kids or take the focus off of Christ or a multitude of other reasons. If this is your family, seek other ways to incorporate the excitement and wonder into the Christmas season. Your challenge is going to be keeping your kids from being the ones that ruin others’ Christmas by ratting out Santa.
Those are my general Santa thoughts. I would love to hear yours. Comment below for a chance to win your very own copy of Why’s It Called Christmas?