Over the years, we have chosen not to include Santa Claus in our Christmas stories and decorations. There are several reasons.
First, fairy tales are fun and we enjoy them, but we don’t ask our children to believe them.
Santa has some God- like characteristics
He’s omniscient—he sees everything you do.
He rewards you if you’re good.
He’s omnipresent—at least, he can be everywhere in
He gives you good gifts.
He’s the most famous “old man in the sky” figure.
These are characteristics reserved only for God.
For example, does Santa really care if we’re bad or good? Think of the most awful kid you can remember. Did he or she ever not get gifts from Santa?
What about Santa’s spying and then rewarding you if you’re good enough? That’s not the way God operates. He gave us his gift—his Son—even though we weren’t good at all. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He gave his gift to us to make us good, not because we had proved ourselves good enough.
Helping our children understand God as much as they’re able at whatever age they are is our primary goal. But we’ve also seen some other encouraging effects of not including Santa in our celebration.
Our gifts are already under the tree. Our kids know that we bought them, we wrapped them, and we can’t wait to give them to them! They understand that those gifts cost money out of our pockets. It’s not that I want to hold over their heads the financial sacrifices that come with giving gifts to them, but I do want them to be grateful, both to us as their parents, and to God who provides us with jobs so we can have money to buy gifts.
Second, I think most children know their family’s usual giving patterns for birthday and special events. They tend to have an instinct about their family’s typical spending levels and abilities. Knowing that their Christmas gifts come from the people they love, rather than from a bottomless sack, can help diminish the “I-want-this, give-me-that” syndrome.
And finally, when children know that God’s generosity is reflected by God’s people, it tends to encourage a sense of responsibility about helping make Christmas good for others.
The most important reason not to include Santa in our Christmas is because it isn’t about him. It’s about Immanuel—God with us! I know there are many other good things that creep into our holiday celebrations such as time with family, good food, and gifts, let anything to from the wonder of the King who came to earth to die for their sins. What about you? What will you do to keep your family focused on Jesus this Christmas?