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Do You Believe in Santa?

January 8, 2015

Now that Christmas is over, I’ll bring up another bugbear of mine: why do so many Christian parents pretend that Santa is real?

I’m serious. I’ve never understood why Christian parents feel they need to allow their children to believe Santa is real. It’s deception, pure and simple – and I thought God disapproved of deception? I know people think it’s just harmless, and in most cases it probably is, but it’s still deception; and it still leads to a situation where you’ll have to admit that you lied to your kids. Does that build trust? How does that influence their view of what we say about God, another invisible supernatural being that we’ve been saying is real?

I definitely don’t think believing in Santa is in any way necessary for your kids to enjoy Christmas. Ours always knew that Santa was a fairytale, just like the tooth fairy, Bob the Builder and the Teletubbies. Despite this harsh reality check, they have always enjoyed Christmas with all the trappings, including filling the house with Santas (both the Anglo-Saxon and Swedish varieties) and singing about Rudolph. But likewise they have always known that Jesus is the main character, because – unlike Santa and Rudolph – he is real.

Yes, I realise that if you live your whole life as a follower of Jesus, not just at Christmas but in everything, your children will hopefully realise that there is a big difference between God and Santa: you never talk to or worship Santa, whereas you maintain a relationship with God through prayer and worship. Jesus influences your whole life, whereas Santa is conspicuously absent during most of the year.

So it might not be a huge problem – but I still wonder what the reasoning is. Surely you haven’t fallen for the Hollywood slogan “just believe” (as seen in The Polar Express, Miracle on 34th Street etc etc)? That smacks of superstition, or blind faith of the kind that our atheist detractors accuse us of: just make yourself believe in something, it doesn’t matter if it’s actually true or not…

But no, I hope that’s not the reason. Surely we all know that Christian faith is not blind faith, that it’s based on evidence and involves your whole life, that it’s a relationship rather than a religion… and that blind faith, whether it’s believing in Santa or in a certain political system or that you’ll win the lottery, is a completely different kettle of fish. As long as our children see proper faith modelled in our lives, we should be OK.

And as we don’t really believe in Santa, there’s no reason they will, either …


From → Christianity, Faith, Jesus

  1. andrew price permalink

    Amen! Did kids talk said Jesus was more important than Santa, great to see lots of little heads nodding in agreement.

  2. Susanne Rugg permalink

    My ten-year-old has friends who don’t dare to tell their parents that they no longer believe in Santa – for fear that they may not get any presents. My children have always enjoyed the giving part of Christmas presents and the secret knowledge about what brother/sister is going to get. If presents just appear from Santa I don’t think children appreciate them as much as the thought that “my mum and my sister chose this for me”.

    • Good point, I would have included that if I’d thought of it. And kids being afraid of not getting presents if they admit to being “asantaists” is just sad…

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