Can Christians Do Santa Claus?



The Santa question looms over new parents. Should Christians do Santa Claus? Santa Claus, like so many other aspects of American culture, has deep Christian roots. Christmas, along with Santa, have morphed into a secular holiday based in commercialism–the downside of American culture. Nevertheless, it doesn’t have to be that way. We can give our children new Christmas traditions. Christians can do Santa Claus and honor Christ at the same time.

Is it OK to let kids believe in Santa?

When it comes to Christmas, the talk of believing is all about Santa Claus and Christmas magic. Oftentimes, our Christian vernacular is highjacked using words like “believer” and “Christmas miracle.” This can be confusing for young children.

Cartoons and Hallmark specials light up the season with warm stories of Christmas miracles and magic. Watching these as a family can be a wonderful family tradition. Our family watches the same Christmas movie every Christmas Eve.

For young children, there is a fine line between fantasy and reality. That’s why it’s important to always be truthful with our children as to what is real and what is pretend. Especially, when talking about abstract concepts they are not fully capable of understanding.

We can tell our children the truth about Santa, once they know the truth, they can enjoy the fantasy.

Santa Claus giving a small child a gift, can christians do Santa

History became legend. Legend became myth.

Yes. He absolutely was real.

Santa Claus is the evolution of the Dutch name Sinterklaas, which means Saint Nicholas. Nicholas was in fact a real man. Not only did he live, but he also followed his faith, just as his mother taught him as a young child.

Nicholas lived during a time of severe Christian persecution. This period has gone down in history known as the Great Persecution. His good works were in stark contrast to the world around him. And like the Apostle Paul, he spent part of his ministry in prison.

Parents no longer have to choose between celebrating the birth of the newborn king, and Santa.

The real Nicholas was a rugged, brave, man. The stories of his kindness and powerful prayers had spread throughout his small Mediterranean village, then spread throughout the world.

Christmas gift under the tree

Christians can do Santa, by living our lives as he did.

The real Santa Claus, was a Christian. He lived around two-hundred years after Christ. Christmas had not been established for much of his lifetime. As mentioned, he lived during a time when Christians suffered torture, imprisonment, and horrible deaths. After Nicholas was freed from prison, Constantine declared December 25th Christmas. So he saw the very first Christmas!
The tradition of gift giving began with Nicholas (Santa Claus) giving away his inheritance to the poor.
He did so in secret.

“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you…” Matthew 6:3-4

The joy of giving in secret, is one tradition we can give our children that will create lifelong memories. As parents and grandparents, we know there is a deeper joy in giving than anything we can unwrap.

Two children looking at a Christmas tree

At around 8 years old our children’s reasoning abilities are developing.

It’s critical to lay your  foundation of truthfulness with your children on matters of faith. Telling children of the real man, Nicholas, who gave all he had to the poor and protected the innocent in a dark time in history that he became a legend, we are giving them a lens to see through.
By the age of eight, children want to know and understand the world around them. When we give them the truth, that yes in fact Santa is the name his classmates use for Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra. He life was so well lived, that history became legend. Legends have a way of becoming myths. The man the Catholic Church canonized as a Saint, St. Nicholas is the same man, two thousand years later, American culture turned into the myth school children call Santa.

Christians Can do Santa, the Right Way

woman opening a small Christmas gift on her lap

Whether or not to believe in Santa, is arguably the first time Christian children are confronted with the fantasy of our culture, and the faith of their family.

Commercialism in Christmas has concerned parents for generations. It’s hard to combat the onslaught of shiny new toys, the latest electronics, and the hope in a child’s eyes. Let’s be honest, it is our Christmas joy to give children gifts that make their faces light up. Nonetheless, when we base what we tell our kids in truth, we can create new traditions that are grounded in Scripture–the way the real Santa did.

Giving our children Christian history, untainted by secular commercialism, gives families a deeper sense of their own spiritual heritage, and inspiration to create new faith-filled traditions this Christmas.

Help Your Child Write the Perfect Letter to Santa

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