So What Do We Do With Santa?

“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.

For Parents:

–  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?

8 thoughts on “So What Do We Do With Santa?

  1. I agree with your statement “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.””

    We can talk about Jesus with children without damaging relationships with families, or “supporting” Santa.

    My favorite Christmas show, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” – but that’s another lesson maybe 🙂

  2. My wife and I wrestled through this a lot. We landed on talking about Santa, but not making a big deal out of him. We’re also really intentional about incorporating Jesus into our traditions.

  3. We have always enjoyed the idea of Santa but we focus more on the nativity story on a daily basis throughout the holiday season. Santa is usually reserved for fun at the grandparents house. It is a fun concept but that is about as far as it goes. We don’t live and die by Santa. We just haven’t put that much emphasis on him in our house.

  4. We decided from the beginning to tell our boys the truth about Santa.

    We were given the perfect opportunity when my husband was asked by a friend to play Santa at a Christmas party. Our oldest Micah was only 2 at the time and our youngest Aaron was just a baby. Andrew came in dressed as Santa, and the kids one by one sat on his lap. When it was time for our boys to sit in his lap, they immediately knew who he was. And we did not deny it. After that we began to research St. Nicholas, and when they began asking questions we told them who St. Nicholas was and how through the things he did, legends, and Coca-Cola campaigns he became who he is in America today.

    We stress that Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa. We also stress to the boys that it is not their place to inform their friends about Santa.

    Our main concern, was an issue that I had as a child. If we decided to tell them the lie that Santa is real along with teaching them about Jesus, that when they eventually found out that Santa wasn’t real, they might be confused or question if Jesus was real. For that reason, we were upfront with them about all the fictitious creatures: tooth fairy, easter bunny, leprechauns, etc. We don’t want to ever cause confusion about the TRUTH of Jesus because of the legends and traditions of American holidays.

  5. With my own kids, I have referred to Santa Claus as kinda, “he who must not be named.” In other words, I don’t call him Santa. I refer to St. Nicholas when discussing the historical character and his story. I call him the “guy in the red coat” when I mention him in the context of modern American Christmas propaganda. And at other times, I just call him “the funny old man.”

    My kids caught on that there is a historical basis, and that the general ideas about Santa are based in popular culture (media) rather than truth.

  6. I liked your comments. I have always been a little uneasy about leading kids to believe in Santa. What happens when we find out we were leading them astray? But I have heard others say that imaginary friends are an important part of a child’s development.
    I think the story of St. Nicolas as a giving person is good. But the main focus needs to remain – the birth of Christ and God’s greatest gift!
    Although I have to say that stories/movies like the Polar Express can be a great parable and challenge us to have faith like that of a child.
    As long as Christ is the One we put our faith in.
    Christmas is such an exciting time especially for children and I think it is such a great time to introduce them to the source of true joy.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win!

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