What should I tell my kids about Santa Claus?

Do you remember when you discovered Santa wasn’t real?

I don’t know how old I was at the time, but I remember the horror of realizing so many children around me believed a lie. It felt like a great letdown, and the Christmas experience seemed to lose its magic.

Now, as adults, we have to wrestle with the question of Santa again. However, this time it’s not about what we think of him. As we get older, we have to deal with the question of what to tell our children about Santa.

Are we leading kids astray if we tell them about Santa and let them leave cookies and milk on Christmas Eve? Are we depriving our kids if we skip the Santa story? Parents have been crippled with fear about making the wrong choice. Friendships have been tested when couples disagreed, and family Christmas parties have been ruined by the great Santa debate.

Three Points to Consider Before You Decide What To Do With Santa Claus

1. Santa’s not in the Bible.

Go ahead, search your Bible. You won’t find Santa Claus mentioned anywhere. The Santa Claus legend comes from the story of St. Nicholas, a Christian leader in the 4th Century who provided for the sick and the poor, treated people justly, and helped the needy. After St. Nicholas died, people honored his tradition by giving gifts to family, friends, and neighbors. As centuries passed and the tradition carried on, different nationalities put their own spin on St. Nicholas and he eventually became known as Santa Claus.

Here’s the thing: Just because something isn’t in the Bible doesn’t mean it’s evil. Think about the number of things we enjoy that the Bible doesn’t command us to do or not to do. Watching football? Not in the Bible. Eating turkey on Thanksgiving? Not in the Bible.

Anytime the Bible doesn’t specifically command us to do or not to do something, the best question we can ask is:  “What’s the wise thing to do?” (Ephesians 5:15-17).

2. You are responsible for leading your family.

Children are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3). He has trusted you to raise your kids. So when it comes to what’s wise for your family, no one can answer the question for you. God has made you the most qualified person to determine how your family should think about Santa.

3. Your convictions are just that—yours. 

Whether you love Santa, reindeer, and cookies, or you think it’s a terrible thing to let children believe, it’s not worth losing a relationship over.

Some beliefs are too important to not correct. For example, if a Christian is telling people that Jesus was a good teacher but not God’s son, that would be an important distinction to lovingly correct. But when it comes to whether people in the church teach their kids about Santa, passing judgment on those who don’t think like you do is just plain sin.

Judgment is God’s job, not ours (Luke 6:37-42). Instead of criticizing others for what they do or don’t do, let’s use our words to love and encourage each other (Ephesians 4:15, 29).

Instead of criticizing others for what they do or don’t do, let’s use our words to love and encourage each other.

Whether or not we talk with our children about Santa and Christmas traditions, we can take the opportunity to tell them the real story of Christmas. We can tell them how God is the best gift-giver, and how Jesus came to give us hope and new life.

Jesus has been and always will be the most important figure of all human history, so let’s use the Christmas season to explain more about Him.

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