Today is St. Nicholas Day. Last night people in many countries spent time cleaning and polishing their boots before sitting them outside their doors in expectation of the little gifts that St. Nicholas will leave inside their shiny boots. Click here to read how St. Nicholas Day is celebrated around the world.
In light of today’s holiday, I thought it would be a good day to explain why our family does not make Santa Claus a prominent part of our Christmas celebrations. I’m not trying to convert anyone to accept our convictions, but the subject comes up frequently during this time of year. Since people seem genuinely interested (some, horrified, confused and/or angry!), I’m always willing to answer people’s questions concerning our beliefs. So here you go.
First, I want to say that I know what a hot button issue this is for many people. I know that many people hold very dear their traditions concerning Christmas, and Santa Claus is sometimes a big part of that celebration. I understand that. So the second thing I want to make clear is that I am not trying to convince anyone to cross over to the Santa-free zone. I am simply attempting to give some insight into my family’s personal beliefs on this subject. We do not proselytize this point of view and are not trying to make converts. To many people, our take on this Christmas tradition is curious, weird, and just plain stupid. We have even had people take offense at our personal conviction concerning Santa Claus – although I’m not sure why since it only comes up if people ask us why we don’t participate in this tradition.
When people ask us why we don’t do the Santa thing, for us it is really simple. It comes down to two things. Number one: it isn’t true. I have tried to teach my children to always be honest. Lying is wrong. The simple fact is that Santa Claus does not bring them presents. We buy their presents, and it is to us that they should express their gratitude – not to someone that has an endless supply of money and grants their every material wish. We believe that this does not create an atmosphere of gratitude. I can honestly say that my children are very grateful people and do not have the sense of entitlement that I see in our culture. Also, I can ask my children, “Have I ever lied to you?” and they can always respond, “No.”
Some people say it is merely a harmless game of make believe. It is pretending and no different from a little girl pretending to be a princess or a little boy pretending to be a pirate. Perhaps that argument would hold water if everyone playing the game knew that it was, in fact, a game. However, in the Santa scenario, children are not in on the secret. To them it is presented as true and factual and not as a game of make believe.
Number two: Santa Claus is given attributes that belong to God and God alone. He can be all over the world at one time – omnipresence. He knows who is good or bad – omniscience. He can give everyone what they want in spite of the cost or the situation – omnipotence. God is the only one who is all of those things. And He is so much more. In Isaiah 42:8, He says, “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor my praise to graven images.” He says it again in Isaiah 48:11: “My glory I will not give to another.”
Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. For our family, that has always been enough.
5 Comments Add yours
I appreciate your sensitivity towards those who might disagree. That’s a hard posture to take, but you did it with much grace. Merry Christmas!
This year my daughter was 5 at Christmas and it has been the toughest year, as we do not “do” santa either but now that she is in school we have the outside infulences trying to convince her santa is indeed real. I try to explain that he is make believe, just like frosty. She does not seem to grasp the concept, she understands Jesus is real but it is hard to argue that santa is not an actual person who brings gifts. Any advice to help her confusion?
Becca, I understand how confusing is can be for a young child to hear conflicting reports about Santa. The best advice I can give is to simply stay the course and keep expressing your beliefs to her. When my children were that age, I explained that it was a game that some parents play with their children and it was the parents’ job to tell their children the truth about Santa not theirs. My granddaughter is also 5 and this year she told me what “Santa” brought her for Christmas. I did not acknowledge anything about Santa but talked about the gift. However, if she would have come out and asked me if Santa was real, then I would not lie. Her mother (my ex-daughter-in-law) and I have a good relationship and she knows our beliefs. In fact, she used to share them, but I guess she has decided to go the Santa route now. Keep in mind that 5 is still pretty young to grasp many concepts, not just about Santa. As with anything, you just have to keep teaching her and eventually she will understand. Many blessings to you in 2017!