It’s that time of year again. The Christmas trees go up, lights and decorations line the streets, and holiday shopping begins.
You enter a department store with your kids, and there sitting by the toy department is a man dressed in a red suit saying, “Ho Ho Ho”. Santa has visited the store and there is a line of children lined up to sit on his lap.
Your two children are begging you to get in line. What do you do?
Christians and Santa. Santa seems to be the symbol of Christmas these days; the mascot that gets all the attention. We seem to see more blow-up Santas than nativity scenes decorating lawns. The highly anticipated Christmas specials on TV are mostly devoid of anything Jesus related. And the big man in the red suit litters the shopping malls.
So, the question is, should Christians jump on board with this trend? And more importantly, should we allow our children to believe in Santa?
Christians and Santa and The Origins of Christmas
Okay, so most of us already know that Christmas did not start off as a Christian holiday. And if you didn’t already know that…well now you do. You’re welcome.
But instead of diving into the fascinating details about how Christians came to celebrate the day, I would like to share some great resources that do a great job explaining the origins of Christmas below.
- 25 Popular Holidays With Surprisingly Pagan Origins – Excellent YouTube video that breaks down the origins of several holidays that we celebrate.
- 6 Arguments Against Christmas And Why They’re Wrong – Very detailed and informative presentation about the origins of Christmas and how Christians and Santa became entangled in the same holiday.
- Why We Celebrate Christmas in December and Other Traditions – A fun but insightful blog post highlighting and explaining the origins of many of the Christmas traditions we participate in.
So, if you’re at all interested in how Christmas started, these are three resources that I found to be very helpful. But long story short, Christmas was not originally a Christian holiday. In fact, Jesus was not even born in December.
However, let’s refocus. This post is not focused on the origins of the day, but rather on the figure in the red suit that climbs down chimneys and leaves presents for all the little girls and boys.
Santa was a real figure in history. That’s an undisputed fact. According to this article on Biography.com, Santa was actually St. Nicholas, a Christian bishop who was widely known for helping the needy. And his life eventually became a legend, and then somehow turned into the fairy tale that we all know today.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good Santa Claus story. There are several Christmas movies about Santa that I look forward to watching every year. But, Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa, right? Sometimes it’s hard to tell.
So, the question remains, should we allow our Christian children to BELIEVE IN the fairy tale version of Santa? Should we let our children to believe in the magic of Santa, and to put their hopes in a figure who just isn’t real? Is taking the focus off Jesus and putting it on Santa a good idea?
5 Reasons We Should Not Allow Our Children to Believe in Santa
So, let’s just dive right in. Below are 5 reasons why teaching our children to believe in Santa Claus might not be a good idea.
1. It’s a lie, and lying is a sin.
There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.Proverbs 6:16-10
The Bible is very clear about God’s stance on lying. And to get straight to the point, telling our children that Santa Clause is real, he will bring them toys through the chimney, and he knows when they are good or bad is very simply put…a lie.
That’s no secret. No one can dispute that.
So we have to ask ourselves, is this something Jesus would want us to tell our children? Would Jesus approve of this lie just because it’s fun and magical?
2. It teaches them lying is okay.
Telling our children that Santa is real, when we know he is not, teaches them that lying is okay.
At some point, your little ones will grow up and find out the truth. And when they find out that mommy and daddy lied to them, even though they knew the truth all along, not only will they be hurt, they will think it’s okay to lie sometimes.
If we treat lying, even for something as innocent as Santa, with the attitude that it’s no big deal, this could lead to our children thinking lying is no big deal. And we shouldn’t be surprised if they start telling us little lies of their own.
If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.Mathew 18:6
3. It can cause them to lose trust in you as a parent.
Children believe just about anything that we, their parents, tell them. Can you imagine having that level of trust, to then find out that you were deliberately lied to by the people you trusted most?
I did not grow up believing in Santa. So, I don’t know firsthand what this feels like. But I have heard some stories of how friends and family were hurt when they found out the truth as kids. And I never understood why parents choose to tell an avoidable lie that would hurt the kids once the truth was discovered.
As a kid, you must start wondering, “Hmm, if they lied about this, what else have they not been honest about?” The last thing I want is for my kids to start doubting everything I teach them. God forbid they start questioning the truth about God. If Santa is a lie, then maybe God is too.
4. It ruins Christmas…forever.
Okay, maybe not forever. That’s an exaggeration. And maybe ruin is a strong word.
But once your child learns the truth, Christmas time could bring up sad memories for them moving forward, at least while they’re still young.
Of course, they will eventually get over it. But just about everyone remembers how and when they found out Santa wasn’t real. Why create a bad memory that never needed to be there in the first place?
5. It takes away from the true meaning of the day.
The final, and perhaps the biggest reason, not to allow our children to believe in Santa is because it takes away from the true meaning of Christmas.
Christmas is not about presents or some man in a red suit. Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa. It’s about the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Christians and Santa don’t necessarily have to be enemies. But, Santa should never be a replacement for Christ or even taught side by side as the truth.
Christmas is About Jesus, Not Santa
It’s easy to fall victim to the hustle-and-bustle of Christmas. I go Christmas shopping just like everyone else. And I admit I often get swept up in the flashiness of Christmas. What, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, and Christmas movies featuring Santa and Frosty. It’s all fun and you get lost in it.
But we must remember to bring it back to Truth, especially for our children’s sake. It seems silly. But it’s important to ask ourselves, does lying about Santa please God? Shouldn’t we ask this question with everything?
I know, this all seems like an unnecessarily extreme perspective to take. But I think if we are wanting to please God as scripture tells us to, we might need to do a self-check and truly ask if what we’re doing is in line with the Word of God. Even if it looks or seems ridiculous.
In the end, we can still enjoy the holiday season. We don’t need to give up all the things. However, whichever traditions or customs we choose to keep should not go against God’s Word, disobey, or dishonor Him.
So, what do you think? Christians and Santa…should they co-exist? Is Santa harmless? Do you think God cares?
You might also like:
Christians & Halloween: To Celebrate or Not to Celebrate?
Apologetics Gift Ideas for the Holidays
It’s a New Year’s “God” Resolution
12 thoughts on “5 Reasons Christians Should Not Allow Their Kids to Believe in Santa”
Thank you for sharing this! We just had our first baby this year (he’s 6 months now) and have started having this discussion. He’s too young to understand yet but nonetheless we’ve started talking about it. My husband is very pro Santa and the “magic” of Christmas. I am not. These thoughtful points might be helpful to our next discussion!
Hi Bethany. I hope these points will be helpful in your next discussion. Thanks so much for your comment. I think Christmas can still be “magical” without Santa. I grew up absolutely loving Christmas, but never believed Santa was real. So I know it’s possible to keep the joy and fun of the holiday without taking away from the true meaning. 🙂
So true. We jumped into parenthood just doing the Santa thing (like everyone else) and within a year or two into it, I just felt wrong about it. Christmas is such a wonderful and special time of year that I didn’t want my kids to focus on Santa but on the Savior and His coming to the world. I tell my new Momma friends now all the time to just really consider and pray about it before doing the Santa thing. I wish someone had told me that early in my motherhood! Great article!
Hi Michelle. Thanks for commenting. Amen, yes! It’s such a wonderful and special time of year on its own. We are celebrating the birth of our Lord Savior! What can be more special than that\?
I grew up never really believing in Santa and if I did, I don’t even remember it. My husband on the other hand totally believed in Santa and grew up in a Christian home. I shared with him some of your very points and he said he never felt lied to and he loved the magic of Christmas, however, he was still taught the true meaning of Christmas. I told him I’m alright with our kids believing in Santa as long as they really learn the true meaning of Christmas. Great post! Thanks for sharing!
Hi Sarah. Thanks for commenting and sharing your’s and your husband’s viewpoints. I understand not wanting to remove the magic from the holiday. I will say that although I never believed in Santa growing up, it never diminished the joy and magic of the season for me. I loved Christmas then, and it is still my favorite holiday season. I still enjoyed all the Christmas classics (movies, music, etc), but I just didn’t believe Santa was actually real. Christmas can still be special without believing in Santa. Thanks so much for participating in the conversation! 🙂
Yes. I agree. We did not have Santa in our house but each child received a ‘ Santa’ sack filled with treats that I left for them – and they knew that. They were still excited. They didn’t spoil the fun of other families and we did not avoid the shops just to avoid the Santa stuff but they always knew the truth. They also enjoyed Christmas!
Thanks for your comment! Yes, I loved Christmas growing up. Not believing in Santa did not take away the joy of the season. My mom did special things like you to make things fun for us. I did get into an argument with a kid at school one time about it though. Whoops! lol The teacher took the other kid’s side and said I was wrong and Santa was real. I was so frustrated. I think I was 10.
I, also, grew up not believing in Santa and I never stressed Santa being real with my own kids while they were growing up. You made some valid points here.
Thanks for your comment. Same, my siblings and I didn’t believe in Santa growing up either. And I always felt glad that I knew the truth.
Love that you took such a bold stance witht the title, it really drew me in!
Our son is 2 and too young for santa. We’ve always talked about teaching “the spirit of Santa,” kindness giving, etc. so we don’t ruin it for other kids. In my home our presents always came from Jesus & Santa but I can’t remember if finding out Santa wasnt real made us question Jesus as kids.
Thanks for your comment! I was definitely nervous to push the POST button. 🙂 I love the idea of teaching the spirit of kindness, giving, etc. The great thing is if you decide not to share Santa with your kids, you can still teach those traits because Jesus represents all those things.