Friday, December 23, 2011

Amy Speaks about Christmas, Christianity, and Santa

I am a grown woman, a mother to four little angels. Even at my ripe old age of 30-something, I’d bet one of those little angels that if I were to ask my mom if she was the one who filled my childhood stocking, she would feign great shock and offense at such an accusation. “Me?” she would say, “Santa Claus? Not a chance!” In the same breath as her bold denial, she would probably whisper, “Here are some things for the children’s stockings.” And she would hand me a bag chock full of trinkets for her beloved grandchildren.

My mom always kept the magic of Christmas alive. Is she a liar because of claims that a jolly fat man dressed in a red and white suit was the one who filled our stockings every Christmas Eve? Did the fun we shared as a family diminish the REAL Reason for the season? Of course not! I treasure the memories of anticipation and then excitement in discovering what lay deep in my wooly red and white stocking on Christmas morning.

There are many people who feel that allowing such secular things as Santa Claus to be a part of their Christmas is in some way offensive to Jesus Christ whose birthday we celebrate on December 25. I know there are people with this view because I know some of those people. Some of these people have, in fact, looked with disapproval upon my own family’s tradition of hanging stockings by the chimney with care.

No one likes to be judged, and I especially do not like to be judged with a “Good/Bad Christian” measuring stick. It’s unfair to assume that our adding a delightful – albeit secular – dimension to our family tradition means that we have pushed aside Christ and the miracle of that birth in Bethlehem so long ago. Quite the contrary, it is, after all, God who created us in His image. We who love to be delighted, who love to be part of relationships. Family traditions are all a part of relationships. God is the God of relationships. And I picture Him in Heaven looking down on His  children celebrating His birthday. I picture Him with a smile and a twinkle in His eyes as He watches the absolute delight on children’s faces as they uncover the treasures in their stockings. I can hear Him saying, “Wow! What a fun way to celebrate a birthday!”

I want nothing more than to honor God on Christmas, and I strive to do so as I build traditions with my family. Santa Claus happens to be one of those traditions. Please don’t judge me for it.

Amy is a homeschooling mother of four children. You can read more of her writing at Treasured Chapters...of Life and Family.  (Images courtesy of Turn Back to God at


  1. Yes, we all celebrate different and it sounds like you have a wonderful loving family! it is sad that some judge...some judge those who 'do' santa and others judge the ones who 'dont'. I think...that is one main reason we are told: "Do Not judge"....none of us are perfect, not one! There was one and it's his birthday we are celebrating. God knows our hearts...and your choice for your family should never be judged by others....embrace this beautiful season and thank you for this sweet post!

  2. A hearty AMEN Amy!

    As a parent, I want my kids eyes to light up on Christmas morning, filled with joy, wonder and surprise! I see nothing at all wrong with this!

    The lovely thing about "Santa" is, he teaches us about the joy of giving selflessly...anonymously. Giving a gift really isn't supposed to be about taking "credit". It is supposed to be about bringing joy, without the expectation of anything in return.

  3. Amen! I am delighted that, even at 9 and 10, my daughters still retain their innocent belief in Santa - and I'll be so sad when they give up the myth.

    Two facts have helped me deal with the judgment: 1. Santa is not really secular, since the myth is based on the real person of Nicholas, a bishop in the early Church who loved the Lord and demonstrated that through rich generosity; 2. Jesus' Incarnation may very well not have been in December at all anyway! I have no problem with celebrating it now - I'm not a stickler for figuring it all out - but we should actually remember it significantly EVERY day, not just one day a year. So it's really okay - if we focus our kids on Jesus and add a little Santa fun, it's no big deal. And it's not other people's business anyway!

  4. The only danger I see in enforcing the modern day myth of santa claus to be truth,  is in the same breath trying to teach the truth of Jesus Christ - here are two men that do fantastic, wonderful things for them ... But only one of them is real? When the truth comes out that there is no Santa riding a sleigh, deliver gifts to good girls and boys - I believe that could very well diminish a parents credibility in the other things they have taught their children - most importantly the "story" of Jesus.  I have 4 and 2.5 year old (she oblivious to it all for now) but my 4 year old son has heard and seen Santa and then asked plenty of questions (like a 4 year old will) and I simply tell him the truth - Santa clause was a wonderful man that lived long ago that love and helped children, gave them gifts when they didn't have any ect.  And some people pretend that he brings gifts to good girls and boys from the north pole, riding in a sleigh in the sky pulled by rain deer.  We don't vilify Santa (like my own parents did to some extent) we simply celebrate and enforce the truth and use this season of unwarranted gift giving as a reminder and symbol of the greatest gift we've ever received from God - Jesus christ our savior.   And my kids are joyful and excited to celebrate Christmas! (just like me) :D

  5. Personally, as long as I think I'm doing right, being judged doesn't bother me at all. No skin off my nose.

    We don't "do" Santa, in the sense that we've ever tried to get our kids to believe in him. Given the fact that we distinguish between truth and fiction in every other area of our lives, and enjoy both equally in our reading and entertainment, I don't see what all the fuss is about. We read about St. Nicholas, both the legend and the modern incarnation in the red suit. The kids are in on the joke, because our way of dealing with literature just doesn't allow for believing fairy tales. On everything else, I ask the kids, "now do you believe that's true? Why?" But with Santa somehow I'm supposed to stifle the critical thinking I'm trying to teach them? Just can't put anything past these kids, I'm afraid.

    Their grandmother believes in Santa, though. Very much. So we do, too, when she's around. ;-)

  6. Your post implies that those families - like mine - that choose NOT to teach their children that Santa exists are somehow depriving their children of a delightful Christmas. I can tell you that would be a wrong assumption.

    I do not want to, year after year, teach my child that a non-existent person really exists. That's my choice. I do see an inconsistency in teaching my children that the God we worship - who we cannot see - is real and at the same time teaching them that a non-existent person - who they cannot see but who can supposedly see THEM all the time (like God?) - is also real. I just don't want to do it.

    In spite of that my children have always anticipated Christmas with as much delight as children who are taught to believe in Santa. In fact, my youngest who is nine was absolutely over the top about Christmas this year. I have never seen a child who anticipated Christmas so much as he did! And he pretended his dad was Santa. And I wrapped a Rizzo the Rat Muppet toy and said it was to him from the Muppets. In other words, we can play about these things but my children KNOW it is play and not real. And that is my choice.

    Perhaps you should not be so quick to assume that all families who choose not to teach a belief in Santa are somehow depriving their children of a joyful celebration.

  7. I find myself the mirror image of this post. I am a Mom of four who homeschools. Instead of being judged for my participation in the Santa tradition, I have more often been vilified for not participating. It has been bad enough that I no longer feel welcome to the table of polite conversation to try to explain my own choice. We now simply say, "We don't have the Santa tradition at our house." Funny how this issue has made me an outsider in many social circles where they claim to be inclusive. I just wish those who want to judge me, would stop and get to know me a little better before they decide that I'm one of "those" people. Can't a person simply have a difference of opinion?

  8. Anne, I do not see the implications in this post that you see. Can you direct me to a line or two that leads you to your conclusion? This writer expressed her love of her family’s tradition and asked that she not be judged for it. How does that lead to your assertion that she believes people who do not share in this tradition are “depriving their children of a delightful Christmas?”

  9. Tonya, you are always welcome to this polite table of conversation. I am happy to see that you commented!

  10. I am a mother of 4 and grandmother of 10. Christmas has always been a magical time complete with milk and cookies for Santa and great joy opening stockings filled in the morning. Also - precious times of worship with the family as we celebrate the Incarnation of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is central always - the incomparable and perfect gift of the Father to us. Please let us not get 'hung up' over whether we do or don't include Santa in our celebration. With all of the problems of our poor, sick world we need to be focused on how to share Christ and His love with scared, hurting people. And this world will know that we are Christians BY OUR LOVE for each other.