I totally get it. I’m a Christian woman. I get that Christmas is about Jesus. I really do get it. I herald it. Because it’s true. There is no CHRISTmas without Christ. So, when my husband asked me the question at the beginning of the Twins’ first holiday season if I thought we should lie to them about whether there was a Santa, I replied with great fervor and absolution:
“You bet your sweet bippy, we will. And the Easter Bunny. And the Tooth Fairy. And Mickey Mouse.”
There is this magical quality to a child’s imagination that is God-given. Whoa! Don’t get offended that I said “magical,” Sis. Super-Spiritual. The Creative Spirit that is the latin word genius was breathed into Adam—the need to create and imagine worlds beyond our own. We are quite capable of creating so much because of Him—He breathed it into our being.
We can create vehicles of feeling, too.
Santa Claus is the belief of hope.
The Easter Bunny the belief that nature will renew itself.
The Tooth Fairy? I got nothin’ eloquent for her, but my kids are still gonna get a little change and a note anyway. Losing teeth is hard work.
I remember that Christmas Eve when I woke up in the middle of the night to hear my parents putting together my Barbie townhouse. Well, I didn’t know it was the Barbie townhouse until I woke up the next morning. But, in my little six-year-old half-asleep mind, everything clicked. Mommy and Daddy were Santa Claus and they were doing something in there. I didn’t tell them I knew. I didn’t want them to feel bad. So, I kept up the ruse for a few years while they did their thing.
Did the realization totally negate the David & Goliath or Daniel in the Lions’ Den stories I had heard in Sunday School?
Did I suddenly feel like learning the scripture “Love your neighbors as yourself” was irrelevant?
Did learning the books of the Bible seem a waste of time?
No. And that is because my parents never let anything outweigh the value of Christ in my life.
One mother asked,
“How do you teach them about belief in those mythical figures and then, about Jesus? What’s to keep them from dismissing all of it when they reach a certain age?”
It’s all in the delivery and our own faithfulness.
To say that we will raise children who believe everything we say and not be able to separate the wheat from the chaff is to insult their God-given intelligence. And, quite frankly, our ability to make these characters as loving, caring, and ever-present as God…well, good luck with keeping up that subterfuge.
Even Jesus taught in a story form called parables. Parables were not literal truths about actual people but vehicles of story-telling to convey philosophical truths.
Where we get it wrong is to make those vehicles idols. When we focus so much on Santa without balancing out the story by keeping Christ at the forefront, we are in danger of alienating our children once they start thinking for themselves.
So, when you are deciding whether or not to tell your children about the Old Elf, be fully aware that it does complicate things. However, trust that your children will be able to keep proper perspective with continued guidance from you. Enjoyment of childhood is about make-believe. The hard part of growing up is learning to leave the surface image behind in order to cling to truth behind it all.
As the Apostle Paul said,
“When I became a man, I put away childish things.”
Let your children be children for as long as possible. I have faith that you will expertly explain why the Santa myth was so important in the first place. If it’s even necessary. Kids are smarter than you think.
What do you think? To tell or not to tell about Santa? Let’s talk about it in the Comments section below.