Friday, December 10, 2010

What to do about Santa?

James and I have talked about what we are going to tell our kids about Santa a number of times.  We're in agreement, we just don't know how the best way to handle our plan will be.  See, we are fed up with how consumeristic Christmas is.  We don't want to turn our kids into little consumeristic monsters, any more than they will inevitable become since they will be Americans.  We want Christmas to be about the Christ child.  The God-Man.  Deity mingling with fallen man to do a job that should have been ours, but we were inadequate for the task.

We both believed in Santa as young children, but I had the whole thing figured out by the time I was in kindergarten.  I have a few memories of writing letters to Santa and wondering if I would catch him in our living room on Christmas Eve, but not many.  We aren't at all upset over our experiences, but the whole thing about telling your kids lies about Santa, the Easter bunny, and the Tooth Fairy just doesn't sit right with me.  It seems to be a way to manipulate your child into behaving properly.  Attributes that belong only to God get handed to Santa. . ."he knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake.  He knows when you've been bad or good . . ."  Santa is not God, God is not Santa, and only God is omniscient.  If you lie to your kids about Santa, the Easter bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, what else are you going to lie to them about?  We want our kids to trust us to provide them with honest answers to our questions.  We are going to tell them the history and folklore behind the story of Saint Nicholas and they can have their photo taken with Santa if they want to, but that's about it.  There will no gifts from "Santa" under our tree.  No cookies for Santa left out on Christmas Eve - the dog would eat them anyway!  Instead of those cookies, we're going to have a birthday cake for Jesus.

Before you start leaving me nasty comments,  I'm not trying to criticize anyone for how they have chosen to celebrate Christmas with their children.  This is just how we are thinking about doing things.

Since this will hopefully be our last Christmas with no kids in the house, we decided to try something new this year.  You know, give it a "dry run" before we had a kid in the mix.  I made these little advent boxes.

This is just a few of them.  There is one for every day of advent.  Advent is the four Sundays before Christmas, so this year the first day of Advent was November 28th.  Inside each box is something to read.  Some days it is the words to an old Christmas hymn that I was unfamiliar with.  Other days it is scripture.  I also included some of John Piper's Advent poems. These poems can be found at Desiring God.  We have been opening the box for the day at dinnertime, and reading what was inside.  It has been good for us, and it has opened up conversation.  I hope this will become a yearly tradition at our house.  I got the supplies for the boxes at Michael's.  Everything except for the ribbon came from the bridal department.  The boxes are little metal tins that they sell for wedding favors.

Here is a good article about how to address the "Santa issue": What we tell our Kids about Santa


  1. You seem to be a little concerned about negative comments. This will not be one of them. I can tell we came from the same family. I too, am worn out with the commercialism of Christmas. I have gotten to where I dread this time of year. If we could just hit the skip button at the end of November and go right to January. Thanksgiving is more spiritual / religious to me than Christmas anymore.

  2. I love your Advent boxes!! Thank you for your thoughts. We agree that Santa's presence definitely takes away from the meaning of Christmas. Yesterday, I saw a billboard advertising that kids could see "The Big Guy" (meaning Santa) at a local store. It seems like people used to refer to God as that.