Why we Don’t Celebrate Santa

It always happens this time of year. The great Santa debate. You won’t find me preaching to anyone that Santa is an anagram of Satan (Seriously?). You won’t find me judging or criticizing. I generally try my best to avoid the subject. How you choose to celebrate this season–or not–is completely your decision and I respect it. 

However, concerning our decision to forego the big guy in the red suit, we have (mostly) not received the same respect. The most popular accusation is that we are “robbing our kids of their childhood,” “ruining their childhood” Or, simply, “I can’t believe you’d do that to your kids.”

So, I thought I’d take some time today and explain exactly why it is that we choose to “do this” to our kids. There are many posts that have been written about the subject from women far more eloquent than I (like this one and this one), but these are some of the reasons personal to us.

Note: I recently saw an article titled “Why Santa belongs in your kids’ Christmas.” It focused, not on the author’s personal choice, but on why everyone else should make the same choice. Unlike that article, this post is not why you shouldn’t celebrate Santa. It’s why we don’t. And that is a big difference that sometimes gets overlooked. So, again…here are our reasons for not doing Santa.

1. Jesus is Enough.

This is one of the biggest things for me. I can’t get past this issue because it is so far-reaching. This idea that Jesus is not enough. We constantly act as if we need to subsidize the gospel with trendiness, programs, bells and whistles. We see this even in our churches. We live in a materialistic and consumer-driven society where we are always craving moremore stuff, more glitz. Bigger and grander things.

Baby Jesus in a manger isn’t very shiny. That message seems humble, simple, and dull compared to the glitz around us.

A big guy in a red suit who lives in the North Pole with hundreds of elves, flies around in a sled with reindeer, and brings kids everything they ask for?  That’s shiny. That’s a message we can get excited about, and get our kids excited about.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Jesus is enough. He is enough at Christmas time. He’s enough all year long. The gospel message is enough. Period. He doesn’t need dressing up. We don’t need more, we just need Him–at Christmas and beyond.

Yes, we can tell our kids all day long that Christmas is about Jesus, but when our focus is Santa and lots of gifts, what message are they really getting? (Jennifer Hatmaker shares some great thoughts about this)

2. Santa is often given qualities of God.

I remember watching a made-for-TV Christmas movie a few years ago, and I was struck by the description of Santa. As I watched, I thought to myself, that is how we describe our Lord and Savior. It’s almost as if Santa has become a secular substitute for Christ.

And before you think I’m losing my mind with this one, I posted an article a couple weeks ago on my facebook page, and one of the commenters stated that she is not a Christian and uses Santa to teach love, giving, and kindness to her children.

We don’t have to use Santa for these things–Jesus is the real thing!

This goes for the “magic” as well. We don’t have to manufacture magic for our kids. Our lives are full of it. Except it’s not a false, fleeting kind. It comes in the form of miracles and it is real. It’s forever. It’s not something we’ll lose when we’re 8 and can never get back. That’s exciting!

3. Materialism

I’ve shared before how Christmas is a relatively simple affair for us. I’ve seen arguments for Santa that say things like “he inspires giving.” But in truth, that’s not what I see in practice. The focus of  Santa is on what he is bringing for them. That has nothing to do with giving, not really.

Yes, the real St. Nicholas was a benevolent man, and we teach our children about the real historical legends that the current day Santa is loosely based on. We try to help our kids learn to practice giving.

But focusing on what the guy in the red suit will bring for them doesn’t exactly foster that, in our opinion.

4. It’s a lie.

I know this is a hot topic, but for me, there is just no way around it. We don’t intentionally lie to our children. We tell them the truth in an age-appropriate, gentle way that they can understand. Telling them that some guy in a red suit brought their presents is just not true. Period. We want them to trust us. We don’t want to teach them about all the bigger-than-life characters and events of the Bible and have them doubt it all once they realize that we worked pretty hard to teach them the “truth” of this Santa guy, and that was all just make-believe.

So, what do we do with Santa?

With all this said, it would be pretty impossible for us to completely avoid Santa. He’s everywhere! We teach our kids about the historical St. Nicholas. In our family, the modern-day Santa is a figure similar to those in their favorite cartoons–he is a make-believe character.

And, I’ll just add here that my husband and I both did Santa as kids and, yes, as they say…we are fine. I was always a very practical child so I don’t think I really believed for that long anyway. We don’t personally hold anything at all against our parents, this is just the conclusion that we have come to for our family.

Related Articles & Resources

Comments

  1. says

    I love this article, especially because it is written as why YOU don’t do Santa, without putting judgement on those who do. We did incorporate Santa as the kids were growing up but I don’t know that I would if I had it to do over again. And most importantly, you inspired me: the last few years at home our kids didn’t believe in Santa but we still did the stockings or one gift as ‘from Santa.’ What a better idea to give to a cause like Compassion International and include the item donated as the gift given on our child’s behalf in Jesus’ name?! Honestly, I had the thought reading this and it’s never occurred to me before. Merry Christmas!!

  2. says

    No Santa in our house, either. As a kid I was absolutely devastated when I learned that not only had my parents lied to me, but all adults, and even the news stations (when they “tracked” Santa on the weather radar). I cannot and will not lie to my children.

  3. says

    This is SO well done, Crystal….though our traditions differ, I did enjoy your post. May I share with you something I wrote last year? My claim for developing the trad in our family ( and continuing the tradition that my dh and I grew up with ) of Santa/St Nick is that Santa does continue the traditions of giving selflessly begun in the 4th century by a real person who was Catholic and the Bishop of Myra Turkey who we know honor as St Nicholas. His feast day is Dec 6, which falls, perfectly, during the Christmas season.:
    http://campfiresandcleats.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-santa-debate-and-honesty-my.html

    Since you may not know of him, I hope you don’t mind me sharing my thoughts and my POV. I know that we’re both Christian but some of the doctrine in which I believe and in which you believe is different, obviously.

    In terms of the celebration and bringing Santa into our family’s rituals, it’s so interesting and shocking, actually that ppl feel the need to criticize. What We have found is that non Santa celebraters tend to be highly critical of US and seek to be sure that >gasp> we are indeed keeping Jesus the center of our family’s celebration. So it’s “funny” ( not really!) that you and I are bearing the brunt of the negative ppl and naysayers from the “other camp” in this debate!

    And really WHEN did this even become a thing….for heaven’s sake. We should all hte “allowed” to celebrate how we want and what speaks to our hearts in terms of adopting or letting go of certain traditions. When did it become ok to trample other families’ ways of celebrating no matter what the holiday or religious day?? it’s just jaw dropping!

    I truly hope that you don;t feel as if I’m casting negativity on your position as you share here. I just thought I;d stop by and offer a viewpoint from someone who’s on the other “side”
    so to speak of the Santa issue, yet who is not down on your traditions…..also to share historically why my fam adopts Santa in terms of making real St Nicholas and his contributions to our faith and our salvation history.

    Thanks my friend! xoxox
    ~Chris

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Chris, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am glad that we can “agree to disagree” without judgment. Also, to reiterate, we do teach our children about St. Nicholas. We just believe that the modern-day Santa he has become is very far removed from him. Thanks for weighing in with your thoughts in a respectful way.

      • says

        True~ the commercialized SC is very far from the 4th century Bishop Nicholas….. true.
        The whole darn season is so overdone and cheesy……simple simple simple is really how we do it with Santa…..

        I still can’t fathom ppl casting negativity on others’ traditions…it’s just awful…esp at this time of year as we should be celebrating the birth of our Savior……. And what are we focusing on??

        I wonder if my dh and I did not grow up with Santa, would we really have the tradition with our kids, given a clean slate and the ability to think it through w/o sentiment and memories and just ask ourselves if this is a tradition we want to put forth.Not that I question what we do; I’m not. But it’s interesting how our trad are impacted by our upbringing, you know?
        Ok, it’s 330 and we still have math to do! yikes. Gotta run.

        take care, my friend.,Have a great afternoon!!

  4. Jessa says

    Hi Crystal, I had a question because I have done Santa in the past with my child but I’ve been getting a lot of *looks* in my church. I want to do the right thing and tell my son that it’s only through Jesus that we have any of the things we do. It’s like walking a tightrope with how do you do Santa and still emphasize Jesus? I’ve started telling my son that Jesus is the one who gives Santa the gifts to give to him. But, anyway, my question is: if you are honest with your kids and tell them that Santa is a fictional character, how do you counsel them on what to tell children who *do* believe in Santa so that they don’t ruin it for others? Thanks in advance!

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Thanks, Jessa. To be honest, that really hasn’t been an issue for us. They seem to just play along, just like they would if a conversation were happening about a character on a show. For example, if someone said “Hey Doc Mcstuffins did this…” they would just have the conversation based on the show and not say “she’s not real.” So far, that’s what they do when the issue of Santa comes up. They “know” about Santa and his reindeer as a fictional character so they just go with that.

      And you’re right, it’s definitely a tough thing to navigate, regardless of which way you choose to do things.

    • Anonymous says

      I did not grow up in a family who emphasized Santa, and I got in trouble in Kindergarten for explaining to everyone else how Santa isn’t real. Fast Forward more years than I care to admit, we don’t emphasize Santa either, but I’m paranoid that my son will follow in my Know-It-All footsteps and ruin it for other people.

      I’ve told him that if other kids are talking about Santa that he just doesn’t need to say anything . . . if an adult asks him, he is welcome to say “we don’t do Santa in our house” or to not say anything (this is assuming that he’s not asked a direct question). I purposefully avoided saying “he’s pretend” or “Santa isn’t real” because I don’t want to ruin another family’s traditions. I think he thinks that Santa is more of a game that other families play. So far it has worked for us. He knows other people believe Santa brings presents. He knows if someone asks what Santa brought him for Christmas to just say what gifts he received. Mostly I just emphasize that it’s fun for other families,and we don’t want to ruin their fun. I also talk to him about the things that we do that are special, fun traditions. Sometimes, I think that as adults we overthink things

      • Crystal Brothers says

        Sounds like you’ve worked hard to ensure your son doesn’t “ruin” it for anyone else which is very thoughtful of you. Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Amy says

    Hi Crystal–just read this via a friend’s posts and wanted to tell you that we also did not “do” Santa. Still read a few “Santa” type Christmas books, but just made it clear that they were stories, like fairy tales, not truth. When my oldest did go to school, I told him not to contradict his friends about it–that it was for their parents to deal with. He recently told me that he did argue with the other kids in kindergarten about it, but they just thought he was wrong! (He is 28 now; the other three were always homeschooled, so it was a non-issue). Anyway, I think that as the culture has become less Christian, the “cult” of Santa has become more prevalent. I really didn’t encounter any friction about our choice, but I understand it happens a lot now. Hang in there, folks!

  6. Carolyn Owens Martens says

    I think you would enjoy Pastor's message on "Big Red". He repeated it several years because the parents requested it. Hasn't preached it in years and don't think a lot of the people here have even heard it. He always announced it ahead of time in case some parents didn't want their children hearing it——–that was surprising to me. Our children got in trouble at school with some parents for telling the kids that Santa wasn't real but make believe. It's amazing how the attributes of God are also those given to Santa.

  7. Anonymous says

    If and when our children find out we weren’t truthful about Santa, how will they know we ARE truthful about who Jesus is ?

  8. says

    Hi Crystal, this is a great post. We have 2 older children 25 and 19 and 2 younger 9 and 7, and we did Santa with the older 2 and then realised that we were telling them a lie. so we don’t do Santa with the younger ones and for quite a few years they called him the Christmas Man. We do tell them that he is not true and that he is a lie but we also say to them that it is not their job to tell other children that, we need to allow them their choices. Thanks again for this . Blessings

  9. says

    I so agree with you here, Crystal. We just never could bring ourselves to lie to our children about Santa, though we share with them the story of Saint Nicholas and explain how the legend grew from there. We actually have more than one friend whose child has angered teachers and/or parents by telling their class there was no Santa Claus. I can’t help but roll my eyes at the thought of people being so bent on protecting a lie. And a pretty silly lie at that! But I also know a lot of parents use Santa and his naughty list as a bargaining tool. That’s sad, of course, but I’m sure that’s why so many of them prefer to perpetuate the lie…

  10. Paula Kaye says

    I respect your right However many, many people ( myself included) struggle to believe the 'magical' stories in the Bible….walking on water, feeding the multitudes, separating the waters…we just need to respect all peoples beliefs even when they differ from our very own

    • Crystal Brothers says

      I agree that we should respect other people even if their beliefs differ from ours. It was not my intention to disrespect you or anyone else, but instead simply to share my personal belief. Thank you for understanding.

  11. Michelle Anderson says

    Excellent thoughts! I totally respect your decision. I think one of the reasons I had so much trouble believing Jesus is real is because of finding out santa is not.

  12. says

    I appreciate your reasons for doing what you do and I applaud you for trying to raise your kids to love Jesus. Our family has different reasons for doing things the way we do them, but I definitely understand most of your reasons. The one that I don’t understand is number 2 — “Santa is often given qualities of God.” I understand why you don’t want Santa to become a substitute for God (and that is as it should be), but I think it’s fine to give the qualities of God to other things simply because He made all things. Yes, the modern interpretation of St. Nicholas known as Santa, is a man made thing, but God made man and St. Nicholas (who is the origin of the modern Santa myth) was made by God, so it makes sense that we might attribute to Santa some of the qualities we attribute to God. Think about it not as “giving” Santa those qualities but perhaps describing him in that way. We do it all the time with other things and people. We say of our spouse, “he is so loving, so kind, so generous, so giving” and it’s not a problem. We say of our pet, “he’s so sweet, so gentle, so loving” and it’s not a problem. We describe a favourite book as “so interesting, so good, so awesome” and this is not a problem. We speak of a favourite place we go for vacation as “so beautiful, so restful, so much fun” and it’s not a problem. God is all of these things — loving, kind, generous, giving, sweet, gentle, interesting, good, awesome, beautiful, restful, and fun — and yet we often attribute these things to other people and things. I guess my point is that I don’t see any problem in using a concrete concept like Santa to describe these attributes of God to children who are concrete thinkers. Yes, we should also talk to them about Jesus and how He is all of these things too, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong in using Santa to teach about these things too. Saying these things about Santa is no different than saying them about your spouse or parent or another loved one and it doesn’t diminish God’s majesty or grandeur or cause people to love Him less for doing so. You can take it too far (and certainly many people do), but I think it’s fine as long as you emphasize that the point of Christmas is about celebrating the greatest gift ever given to humanity — Jesus. Santa gives gifts, but it is a dim reflection of this greatest gift. I think that sometimes we, as Christians, are too quick to throw out secular stuff simply because it’s secular and we lose a lot of good that way. We are all called to be John the Baptist, pointing the way toward Jesus, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use what the world may try to pervert for good and for accomplishing this goal. I’m not saying that we must embrace everything secular or that we ought not eschew certain secular things and practices as evil and bad (obviously there are many of those), but that we ought to be more discerning about whether or not something is really worthy of embracing or eschewing. Like I said, I respect your decision and your reasons, but I disagree with number 2.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Thank you for weighing in with your thoughts in a respectful way. I think that representing that the peace, love, joy, and goodwill of the season comes from Santa (when I believe it comes from God) and making Santa out to be a god-like all-knowing judge, omnipotent, etc. is completely different than describing a person as loving or kind. Those, to me, are very different situations. One is bordering on idolatry in my opinion, and I don’t think that’s something we should accept from the secular world. So we’ll have to agree to disagree on that. I do, however, completely agree with you that we ought to be more discerning about whether or not something is really worthy of embracing.

      Thank you, again, for your respectful response.

  13. says

    Love this. I get such mixed feelings since we don’t “push” Santa. My husband and I differ though so for now, Santa somewhat wins.

    I teach the kids about Saint Nicholas, and we have never pushed Santa on them. They walk by Santa at the mall like it is nothing. Santa brings one gift to each kid, and not the big gift. We never did the elf, or anything drastic. My girls actually both told us last year at 9 and 7 that they were pretty sure we brought the Santa gift. So, we were honest. This year my boy somewhat “believes” in Santa (at 3) so I guess my hubby is putting him a present under the tree.

    Another thing we have always done is explain that sometimes kids need to believe. That there are kids out there who get nothing from their parents due to financial reasons, drugs, or other issues. THOSE are the kids that WE need to be Santa for. THOSE are the kids that St. Nick would have took gifts to. My husband was the recipient of such joy one year when he was a child and it still stands out to him. I think it is important to share that Santa (as St. Nick was) is not a bad thing, but the world has commercialized Christmas and Santa in way that is frankly just ridiculous.

  14. Rachel G says

    Neither my husband and I were raised with Santa being anything other than just a character in poems and movies. I love the movie “The Santa Clause”, but I know we won’t be talking about Santa as if he’s real when we have children, either. Like you said, Jesus is enough. Christmas is already awesome and celebratory enough, we don’t need anything extra. I think the additional fact that Santa plays no role whatsoever in our memories of Christmas traditions kind of makes it not even seem like an option for us, we wouldn’t even know what to do! Funny enough, though, i did believe that the tooth fairy existed for a ridiculously long time.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      That is funny! We somewhat do the tooth fairy here. My oldest son, when he lost his first tooth, said he wanted to put his tooth under his pillow so the tooth fairy would come. My husband was like “Now, you know there is no such thing as the tooth fairy.” He said “I know that. But you and mommy are supposed to do it.” lol

  15. Laurie Palmtag Barno says

    This article is great. We remind our kids that Santa is kinda like Barbie. We enjoy books and movies about him but he's not real!

  16. trgoodwin says

    An opposing thought hopefully crafted with respect and some perspective on “the other side.” We are followers of Jesus and believers in the story of Santa Claus, and our adult children know the difference. We have some young believers and some older believers as children. It has never been so harmful for us as your blog might suggest. Jesus is central to our family every day–all year. Santa, our elves, the tree, stockings, garland and lights show up in December in a very small way. To us it’s all about a season of celebration and surprise, wonder and innocence. There is a time to grow up and face reality–we all face it, adulthood. And we want to extend the childhood wonder and imagination as long as possible. We have three adult children who have done that without issue and still highly respect and believe the more foundational truths of creation, sin, salvation, grace, life, holiness and purpose that we have focused on in Scripture.

    More importantly, I wonder if this is more of a temperament preference for families. You stated you have always been practical and that as a child you couldn’t really buy into the story. I’ve always been a dreamer, loved surprises and relished in worlds of imagination, doodling what could be and designing hair-brain ideas that will never come to fruition due to their impractical impossibilities. But I still dream on and in a very small way this expresses itself through our celebration of Santa. This creative ought-to, this impractical sense of innocence is so missing in our pragmatic and analytical world where practical truth tellers stifle dreaming and innocence. I want my kids to experience innocence and childhood, and I am sure all parents do. One of the ways we do that is through of Christmas traditions which include Santa.

    But we never do anything (all year long) that would be at the expense of believeing the much larger story of the Most Magnificent Creator who made us in His image for His glory and sent His Son as a perfect provision for our sin, the One of whom is said created all things for His glory. We celebrate that now and always. 365 days a year.

    Thanks for helping me understand more of your convictions and reasons for not believing in Santa. I trust there is room for respect for both sides of the story as we proclaim Jesus to our children and those that do not know Him and to those of us who do.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      I certainly respect your family’s choices. Just want to address a couple things. I’m actually very much a creative type. Some difficult things in my childhood made it difficult for me to believe in the idea of Santa Clause, though my parents did try. I wouldn’t, however, say that we stifle dreaming or innocence of our children. I actually disagree that the idea of Santa Clause fosters (or is necessary for) imagination. And, of course, we certainly try to honor our Creator all year long as well. Just because we choose to focus on him for our Christmas celebration doesn’t mean that we don’t any other time of year.

  17. Suzie B. says

    I couldn’t agree more! I don’t care what someone else does, and I wouldn’t judge or criticize them either. But, I so agree that if you do Santa, then all you’re doing is focusing on your kids getting everything they want from the exciting “big guy”, and it tells our kids that Jesus isn’t enough. He’s indeed all we need and there should never be a time to give our kids presents—when we do that, all the focus is removed from Christ. You know, in my opinion.

    I wouldn’t ever criticize, but only in my opinion do I also agree with you that if you do Santa, then all you do is use Santa as a substitute for Jesus to teach your kids about love, giving and kindness. And also do I agree with you that doing Santa would never teach your kids about giving…actually, it only teaches them materialism and the idea of GETTING MORE!

    I also couldn’t agree more that telling them that some guy in a red suit brought their presents is just not true. Period. Well, at least in my opinion, for our family it’s a horrible thing to do. I would never judge, but there’s no way of doing Santa without substituting baby Jesus’ birthday and remembering that alone.

  18. says

    This is wonderful and I totally agree! Our four year old has been extremly curious about Santa this year and we have taught her that he is just a character and that he does not see her when she is sleeping….haha!

  19. says

    Well said! I’m not a parent, but when I was a kid my family did not celebrate Christmas with Santa. And my childhood was certainly not deprived of anything because of it!

    My brothers and I were taught that Santa is based on a historical figure and many children believe in the consumerist version. When people asked us what Santa was bringing us, we’d simply say “we don’t believe in Santa”. I’m sure that got quite a lot of strange looks!

    I am not planning to incorporate Santa into Christmas when I do have kids!

  20. says

    Everyone is entitled to do what they want and raise their children in their own way, that's the great thing about this country. But letting kids believe in Santa and the MAGIC of Christmas doesn't have to take away from Jesus. Kids believe what you teach them, If you teach about giving they will be givers If you make it about receieving then that's what it will be about. My daughter is 4 and during Christmas (and throughout the rest of the year also) she asks when can we make our donations, when can we give to the kids with no mom or dad? I do hope you told your children not to ruin it for the rest of the kids that DO believe. I'd hate to hear my kid coming home from school crying because someone in their class told her that Santa and his magic of making children happy and message of being a good, giving person are a lie…. We are a family that loves God and believes in Santa, and I don't think the 2 have to be exclusive of each other.

    • Sally says

      I agree with the author, and I think you’re being a bit harsh. You say “everyone is entitled to do what they want,” then you proceed to attack her. Here is my take on this, Just as you think that the [fake, nonexistent] “magic” of Santa doesn’t take away from Jesus (I disagree) I believe the TRUE MIRACLE of Jesus, doesn’t take away from the fun of the Christmas season for children. It makes it better. You’re right “kids believe what you teach them. I want our kids to believe the TRUTH and not a lie. Why would anyone want to focus on a cheap imitation? I have never understood this.

      The author stated already that her kids don’t go around telling other kids the truth about santa. However, my stance is this… Our kids don’t make a habit of talking about Santa in general, so no worries about that but honestly if it comes up, it’s not their job to perpetuate your lie.

  21. says

    YIKES!!! I never knew being Christian meant taking the fun out of Christmas for little kids. You can go to church and worship anyway you like and still have a Christmas tree and presents and get a picture of the kids sitting on Santa’s lap without doing mental damage to the child. I was raised Catholic, and went to Catholic school as a child, and Santa Claus was always incorporated with our celebrations at school as well as instilling reverence for the birth of the Lord. I thought the nuns handled it perfectly and with with grace and the spirit of celebration and also fun. We were always reminded of “the reason for the season” and somehow, as young children, we understood.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Hi Rosemary, thank you for your comment. I did just want to clarify one small thing. I did not say or imply that having a Christmas tree, presents, and sitting on Santa’s lap would do mental damage to a child. And actually, we do have presents and a Christmas tree in our home :)

      I’m so sorry that you feel the only way Christmas can be fun is if the lie of Santa is perpetuated. However, I can assure you that is not the case. Our children love Christmas just like other children do and they have plenty of fun throughout the Christmas season.

      I’m glad that the way you were raised seemed to be a good balance for you! However, we are all different and our family can be God-honoring and fun, even if it looks different than yours.

  22. Low-Key Katt says

    As a teacher of religious education for youngsters (1st grade), I’m often asked if Santa exists and my pat reply is that if you believe, then he is real. We teach the kids about the real St. Nick and explain that the Santa (which means Saint) is not the same guy. We explain that today’s Santa is meant to be the embodiment of the spirit of giving (Santa gives selflessly, without expectation of recompense) and that is how Jesus wants us to behave at Christmas and always. Children are little sponges…if the environment preaches secularism without the core family (however it is aligned) providing counterbalance, the getting is what is emphasized.

    Is it wrong? That depends on how you as a parent feel. This is my version of what Santa is, your mileage may vary. But my opinion does not and should not cast aspersions on another’s Belief System…each should be entitled to his/her own.

  23. pennymarvel says

    In my country we don’t have Santa Claus at Christmas, we have Christ-as-a-child (Roughly translated. It’s more elegant in my tongue, believe me.)
    St. Nicholas is celebrated at 6.12. and he “brings” only nuts and oranges (as a symbol for the gold he gifted to the daughters of a poor man, so he wouldn’t sell them into prostitution)

    Some tell their children, that Christ-as-a-child brings the presents. In my family we read Luke 2, 1-20 together, and the explanation was: Christ-as-a-Child’s present to mankind this day IS his birth – Without being born he couldn’t have died for our sins.
    (We got presents as well, just not in excess)

      • says

        I’ve looked up the English Expression. It would be “The Holy Child” or “The Christ Child”.
        We have a second Familytradition. On All Saints Day all family members who are in the same region get together and we eat together, and then pray for the dearly departed. When part of my Family is in the capital City (where I live) and the other part is in the west of the Country, one of us calls the other to talk and give Blessings.

        When we were kids, my elder brother once called it “The Better Christmas” because no one was crying, no one was stressed, no one had to go into debt, no one complained about “bad presents”. It was just the family together (sometimes small, sometimes extended), joyful and friendly and praying. (Our parents didn’t go into debt. They established great Family traditions early on. But our friends and extended family? Not so much…)

        To be honest, I still call it sometimes “Better Christmas” for exactly the same reason… It is sad, but the whole commercial overkill with the Coca Cola Santa flood makes it really hard to remain in a Christmas Spirit…

  24. Michelle says

    I just found this article via a google search. I really love the way you listed the reasons why you don’t do the Santa celebration at your house. We do not do it either. Our children are very small still. But I dread when we have to try our best to make sure they don’t “ruin Christmas” for other Christian families. Honestly I don’t give one iota if other families celebrate Santa. Go for it! I’m like you! I will never ever try to convince anyone not to celebrate Santa.
    That being said, we’ve been called AWFUL things when we told a family member weren’t “doing Santa”. Basically she told us in numerous ways we were absolute horrible hateful unloving parents to be so evil as to “rob a child of the magic and joy of Santa”. She was the first person the topic had come up with outside of our parents (who were respectful).
    After that experience we try to keep our mouth shut and we haven’t told anyone else yet (oldest is 2) that we don’t do Santa. I’m not looking forward to the day when I’m inevitably told again how awful and sad and horrible and terrible it is hat we would be so cruel and close minded.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      It’s so sad that we feel we have to be “secretive” about our own family’s traditions, yet I completely understand as we are the same way. Though I addressed it in this blog, in my everyday life, I tend to shy away from the topic with people oftentimes just because I don’t want to deal with the backlash. It really is sad how much people attack our traditions that aren’t hurting anyone in any way. I hope you can find some more accepting friends around you as well.

  25. Brenda Nelson says

    So many people are programmed by the Santa-myth-promoting movies and commercials to believe that anyone who doesn’t “believe” in Santa has something wrong with them. They don’t realize that these ‘pro-Santa’/anti-‘non-believer’ messages have taught them to be wrongfully judgemental, aggressively prejudiced against, and downright rude to people who have different convictions. They are not entitled to harass you into teaching your children to cower from speaking the truth. I think it’s time that we start standing up to these bullies (gracefully, of course). When we celebrate the much-anticipated coming of Christ that occurred when he was made flesh, we should look forward to his 2nd coming. When we look up into the night sky on Christmas Eve we should think about how someday we will see Jesus Christ coming again, riding through the sky on a white horse. According to the book of Revelations, Jesus’ hair will be white and his robe will be white and red. When he comes again he will have his reward with him to give to those who have served him out of love. He is the only one who can know everything we are doing (when we are sleeping and when we awake/ “when we sit and when we rise”- the latter being an actual Bible verse). He also knows what is in our hearts- if we love who He truly is and what he believes. Jesus taught that we should believe Scripture as God’s true word. The Bible says that Satan aspired to set his own thrown above God’s. Satan parades as an angel of light, doing his best to steal God’s glory. I know it sounds crazy to say that Santa is Satan, but who is it that is sitting on a thrown at all the shopping malls and just about everywhere else, this time of year? Santa doesn’t bring glory to God. Santa (according to what our culture teaches about him) pretends to be God-like: omnipresent, omniscient and the righteous judge. I’d strongly advise the readers against mixing what they teach about Christ to their children with Santa Claus myths. All we need to do is a quick search of the word “idol” in an online Bible to see how God feels about people mixing the worship of Him with idols. Our culture, including some Christians, is absent-mindedly drifting away from God and deeper into idol worship of all kinds. If you are familiar with the Old Testament, you will know that the Israelites repeatedly digressed into idol worship along with other sins, generation after generation, until God finally had to do something about it to bring them back to him. Then they would repent and destroy all their idols. So, I actually threw away all of my Santa figurines (and there were some really nice ones). I’d even suggest that you all consider whether or not it is really beneficial to teach about the supposedly ‘true’ Saint Nicholas. Most (or possibly all) of what is being taught about the ‘historical’ Saint Nicholas is likely also a myth; and there are some really weird and scary ones that have been swept under the rug. So instead of using stockings at our house, we put treats and small gifts in bags that are stored inside treasure chests, to commemorate the wise men’s gifts. The kids really love opening the treasure chests! Instead of putting the gifts under a tree, we put them under a tall “Christmas Gift Shelf”. On the top shelf is a decoration that looks like a wrapped gift. On the face of the gift is printed the verse “Every good gift is from above, coming down from The Father of Heavenly Lights”. The rest of the shelves are decorated with framed pictures of other moments in Jesus’ life, stars, battery-powered candles, male angels, a Bible opened to the book of Luke, and other decorations that bring glory to God, like an ornament that says “Jesus is the greatest gift of all”. Also, since I believe that Jesus was actually born during the Feast of Tabernacles, that would put his conception at about Christmas-time, so I have a star-shaped frame ornament with a painting of a baby in the womb in it, and a figurine of a pregnant women on my shelf as well. I still have a nativity scene. I also have a Christmas tree. It’s just a little smaller than the Christmas Gift Shelf and not put right beside it. I don’t want the tree to be the center of attention, but I think it is a nice winter decoration. I also have a few other winter decorations like snowmen and bears and a small Christmas village. I don’t use any elf, reindeer, or even normal deer decorations, because the neighbor kids will think they are Santa’s reindeer. Last year, I added a dragon toy, being stopped in his tracks by a warrior angel, to my nativity scene, because the Bible says that the dragon wanted to swallow the baby as he was being born. That may be a little scary but no more than the abominable snowman in “Rudolf The Rednosed Reindeer”. I do like to celebrate Jesus conception, birth, life and promised second coming at Christmas-time, when most everyone else is celebrating it, but I have also built a full-sized stable/sukkah, for the Feast of Tabernacles, and live in it (eat, read the Bible, and look up at the night sky (for 8 days, in the fall, in my backyard). This is the only holiday that God instructed his people to celebrate with great joy, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that God instructed them to live in temporary dwellings, like tents or stable-resembling booths for 8 days. I think the 1st day corresponds with Jesus’ birth, and the 8th day with his circumcision. All of the other Old Testament holidays correspond with other events in Jesus’ life. I could be wrong about the date, but I also know it is well-documented history that the Catholic Church invented the Christmas date to try to take over a pagan god’s birthday holiday. However, I believe we are free to celebrate Jesus’ birth whenever and however often we want to. We aren’t even instructed to celebrate it at all. But the angels and the shepherds did, so we are in good company. I don’t celebrate most of the other Old Testament holidays, but the Bible says Jesus will expect everyone to celebrate The Feast of Tabernacles, after his return, so I figured: why not start now? Jesus said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” Mark 7:6&9. We aren’t commanded to celebrate any holidays in a prescribed way, but “not having any other gods before God”, and “not making up any kind of idols” are Commandments #1 & 2 of The Ten Commandments. We can’t really pretend that we can’t understand these commandments just because we think our traditions are fun. Please study the Bible and pray about it. Let’s make our season bright with the joy of celebrating the One, and only one, who is truly worthy.

I love to hear your feedback and value your thoughts! All I ask is that we remain respectful and civil, even when we disagree. Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate you!

Thank you for joining in the discussion!