No Santa? Where is my Christmas Spirit?

These past few days I have been in a frenzy of last minute shopping and Christmas preparations as I’m sure most of the general population has been as well. Usually I love this time of year. I love the decorating, the music, our church services, the lights, (sometimes) the shopping, the wrapping of gifts, the food, and time spent with family. I love all of the traditions we have started as a family throughout the season. But this year, maybe because our children are getting older or maybe because God has really been working on my heart about all of the other “junk” associated with Christmas, I have not had my usual happy spirit about the season.

Steven and I had already decided years back that we would not do Santa in our house -That’s right, NO SANTA.  We wanted our children to understand that Christmas is not about a man in a red suit, but about Christ. We didn’t want them to later come to the conclusion that we had been lying to them about this man that sneaks into our homes every Christmas eve and leaves gifts. To then maybe assume that we would lie to them about other big things like who Jesus is (not to put them in the same category). There are also many other reasons why we made this decision but this year because Zoe is older and more aware of life outside of our home we have come to some hard realizations. We can’t say that Santa doesn’t exist, because he is EVERYWHERE!!! To her he is real.  And his story is plastered all over the media, not to mention every well intended friend and family member who says to her “you better be good, Santa is watching” or “Are you excited that Santa is coming?”  One afternoon we were sitting in the living room talking, and she started to explain to me how Santa was going to come down our fireplace and fill our stalkings. I then preceded to make one of my greatest parenting mistakes to date, by telling her that Santa was just pretend, he doesn’t really come to our house. She didn’t even let me finish talking before she burst into tears. I comforted her but then dropped the subject. To date it has never come up again. And for that I’m thankful.

Looking back I can see the many mistakes we have made regarding this holiday. But I (as I’m sure most) really struggle with the balance of living in this world and living for Christ. We want our children to understand that Christmas is about Christ coming to Earth as our saviour. That we give gifts as a reminder of God giving us the greatest gift of all. I think we have tried hard through talking about it, reading books, visiting a live nativity and watching videos. But we have also failed by allowing too much emphasis on the receiving of gifts, by spending too much time anticipating Christmas day, by reading too many books with Santa and allowing them to watch too many Christmas specials on T.V.

It was never my intention to “steal Christmas” from our children, but I want to pass down a heritage that is more meaningful then the gifts that will be long forgotten by Easter. I want them to remember that the reason we celebrate Christmas is because of a man named Jesus that saved us from our sins, not a man in red that decides the fate of their gifts based on whether they have been naughty or nice throughout the year, with a standard they could never live up to.

All that said, to say… The fate of Santa in our house is still up for debate. If he shows up Christmas eve, it will only be in the imaginations of our children and not by our purposeful doing. And maybe by next year we will be more prepared and better able to handle this issue.


3 Responses

  1. I don’t think telling your child that Santa is only pretend was a “mistake” at all. The emotional response you saw is pretty natural when something we “really really hope for” is found to be lacking. The comfort you provided was important, and will not be forgotten. I’d continue the conversation with yoru child – asking her if she’s doing O.K. with learning that Santa is just pretend. Find out what she’s feeling and help her to deal with those feelings in a healthy way. Leaving it in silence until next year will only create a distance between you, whether you notice it or not.

  2. Thanks for your comment Carey. I appreciate the support and encouragement.

  3. Angela,

    I read your blog and want to want you to know that I actually understand the decision you and Steven made about Santa and I understand why you began to tell Zoe that he didn’t exist when she was telling you about him. We have struggled with that decision prior to having our kids for many of the same reasons. We did decide to have Santa “come” to our house, but we talk during the entire season about why we celebrate Christmas, why Santa brings gifts, and we chose to celebrate a true Advent (the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas we have a bible story focusing on one aspect, and then a 5th bible story on christmas eve focusing on Jesus).

    I am not telling you what we do to persuade you to do the same, I believe what you chose for your family is the right thing since God had laid that on your heart. But, I wanted you to know that another Christian mom struggled with the same decision and I still word every answer about Santa very carefully b/c I know that one day our children will know that Santa doesn’t exist and we don’t want them to question the reality of Jesus.

    So, stand strong! Others may not understand or agree, but that’s not who we are called to live our lives to please. Don’t miss out on the joy of the season like you posted. You know the real reason we celebrate, and that should bring GREAT JOY. Nobody every said being a mom was easy, and being a Christian mom??? Forget it! 🙂


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