Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Can Santa and Christ co-exist?

I was at the mall the other day with my family when we saw Santa.  Yep, I said Santa.  My son said "look mom, Santa is here".  I promptly informed him he was mistaken that they were just getting the area ready for Santa.  Sure enough we walked pass the outdoor gazebo to find none other then Santa himself sitting in his chair listening to little boys and girls giving their Christmas list.

It seems we have skipped over Thanksgiving as the Christmas season starts earlier and earlier every year.  This encounter with Santa made my husband and I come home and have a conversation about how we are going to address Santa going forward in our household.

Here is our problem, we are trying to figure out where Santa fits into our christian lives.  As our kids get older they become better critical thinkers.  In our household, we teach our kids about Jesus and the bible three hundred and sixty five days a year.  What happens though around the christmas season gets a little tricky.  Santa comes out of hiding.  The jolly fellow who brings Christmas spirit along with toys for the kids who are nice and coal for the naughty.  The man who brings us all together around the tree on Christmas morning.  The man who we never see but we tell our kids if they believe then he is real.  The man who brings Christmas Miracles this time of year.

As a christian mom I start to think if maybe we are replacing Jesus with Santa. I start to think Santa is the distraction that takes away from the birth of Christ.  The spirit of love and joy, generosity and grace that is given this time of year is chalked up to the Christmas spirit that comes with Santa rather than the unconditional love at the foot of the Cross.  My kids are more focused on what Santa is going to bring them this year instead of the blessings God has provided to them all year long.

We tell our kids if they are good enough they will get toys from Santa yet we all know there are so many kids out there that no matter how good they are wont get toys because their parents cant afford them.  How do we make sure these kids know that they are just as special as everyone else?  We need the message of Jesus, not Santa.  And lets be honest, the kids that are bad still get toys from their parents because we have no intention of not getting something for our kids, we just need some leverage.

What happens when my kids realize someday that there is no Santa?  I'm not worried about them being upset, I don't think they will be.  What I do worry about is if they start to question the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy and everything else they don't physically see, do they also start to question God?  If we replace God with Santa and Santa turns out to be a lie, will they believe God is a lie?  I'm not willing to leverage God for Santa.

I went to a church one time around Christmas and they had a cross in the middle of the room and at the bottom of the cross were bikes, and toys, and an xbox, and all the other things you would see under a tree. I think to myself, is this how my boys see Christmas?  The confusion of merging Christ and Santa.

Here is the thing.  I haven't told my kids the real dirt on Santa.  I love doing Santa things around Christmas.  I can not lie... I have an Elf on the Shelf and his name is Zozo and the boys are already excited for him to come.  We love writing letters to Santa, and setting out food for the reindeers on Christmas Eve.  I also don't sit here in judgement if you do embrace the "Santa Spirit".  I have all these years too.  I personally just have a heavy heart about Santa this year.  I just don't know where Santa fits in.

Anyone else have these thoughts?  Or maybe you think I'm crazy and completely wrong.  I would love to hear from the Santa supporter.


Anonymous said...

The other thing to consider is whether you are comfortable lying to your kids about there being a Santa, Bunny, fairy, etc. Is the message your teaching them is that ok to lie for the sake of a good story. Will they return that favor when they are older and tell the pretend story how they didn't...bla bla bla....or never saw...yada yada yada....?

bobby said...

Santa - no worries.
Elf on the shelf - that's a whole nother ball of wax. Been thinking of a blog post myself about how creepy that thing is.

Heidi said...

I love the imagination and delight that Santa sparks in all of us. When my kids were younger, and they asked if Santa was "real", I always countered with "What do you think?" I totally understand what you have written, Megan, but am thinking there might be a way to FOCUS on Jesus as a family, with Santa as the side-show (rather than the temptation to do it the way most of the world does). Santa doesn't always have to bring the BIG present and enjoying the TRUE Christmas Story and the wonder of that night can still be the focus of the season.

LeAnne said...

I am one of those bad moms who never promoted the Santa thing. I don't know if either kid actually ever believed in him. We didn't exile him, or do the naughty/nice thing, we just said he brought gifts because he was so excited about Jesus' birthday. We made the birthday aspect our focus complete with birthday cake and games. The kids made gifts for Jesus and put them under the tree. Under each of our trees is a nativity to remind us that Jesus is the best gift. I don't have a problem with Santa. C still likes to put out cookies and milk for tradition, but he was definitely the sideshow. There is plenty of wonder and miracle surrounding Jesus, that I don't think not celebrating Santa takes away from the joy and wonderment of the season. Love your thoughts on it. Just remember, whatever you do will be just fine. Haven't heard of anyone turning into a serial killer because their parents told them Santa was real. :-) (p.s. I want an elf on the shelf!)

dcpaseman said...

The point of Santa is the spirit of giving. Sacrifice your ego, to see others relish in gifts that you can not claim. The spirit of Christmas is within Santa..love, joy, kindness, forgiveness, patience, ..and as you see, the line becomes a bit more blurred. The real Santa did exist, if you say Saint Nicholas in a strong enough German accent, you will see soon enough how Santa Claus came to be (Seriously try saying Saint Nicholas out loud, quickly 4 or 5 times). My humble suggestion is when your children ask about Santa, simply state that Santa represents the spirit of Christmas which is Jesus Christ. The spirit of Santa is everywhere around Christmastime as evidenced by Santa's in malls, and on t.v. and everywhere. The whole point is to show that giving is a selfless act. Follow up by stating that Saint Nicholas (Santa) was a real person who delivered real candy in stockings to children's family's who were poor. Jesus stated we should help the weak and the poor with a joyous heart of giving. Santa simply is a practical application of that instruction.

dcpaseman said...

p.s. I still have 3 elves on my shelves!