Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why we told our 3 year old the truth about Santa Clause...

*Disclaimer - If your child is reading this with you, you may want to read this later. No, seriously...*

I want to share with you all why my husband and I chose to tell our (then) 3 year old the truth about Santa Clause. I understand that most of you will disagree with our decision, and that's okay.

My husband Justin and I both grew up believing in Santa Clause and the fairytale of him coming down the chimney, leaving presents, and eating cookies & milk each Christmas Eve. However, after a comment from our pastor we decided to do a little research before deciding what to relay to Madi about Santa. 

The main points we came across during our research, both from our pastor's brief touch on the topic and reading online articles, was that if you teach your children about Jesus & Christianity - the foundation of our family - and then teach your children about Santa Clause, you're giving them mixed ideas. 

Mark Driscoll explains it well in this excerpt from an article, "Since we also teach our children that Jesus is a real person who did perform real miracles, our fear is that if we teach them fanciful, make-believe stories as truth, it could erode confidence in our truthfulness where it really matters."

This is so so true. How can we expect our children to believe in Jesus, this man who walked the Earth and performed miracles, after we tell them that yes, St. Nicholas was a real man but Santa Clause is completely make believe? It's a hard concept to grasp as a child and can, ultimately, leave questions as they grow up as well. 

So, we decided to tell Madi from the start that we, her parents, are Santa Clause. We told her how Santa Clause was a real person who brought gifts to children, but that the man dressed up as Santa is simply that - a man dressed up, just like we do for Halloween. We will still leave cookies & milk for "Santa," because it's fun to do but she knows mommy & daddy are the ones who will be eating it. 

I also still mention Santa but again, she knows I mean Justin and me. It's something that gives me comfort as a mom whose sole purpose in life is to raise my child to love and serve Jesus with all her heart, to know that I'm doing everything I can to ensure her faith and confidence in Jesus Christ. I don't want her to think the people she should trust most, lie to her, even if it is about a fairy tale character. 

Oh, but if you do decide to tell your child about Santa at an early age, reiterate that other kids do not know this. We've already had quite a few slip-ups where I have had to cough loudly over her "BUT SANTA'S NOT REAL" comments. Ha!

So, thoughts? I value your opinions, but let's all keep it nice. :) 


Amanda said...

I agree with all of this completely & will most definitely be teaching my children the same thing as well. I've heard this many times.. people telling their children that Santa is real, God is real, etc & then telling them Santa really isn't real and the children questioning God's existence too... I would never want to have a negative influence on my child's belief in God over Santa!!
I agree with you 100% :)

Rosie said...

I completely understand your reasons but I will have to agree to disagree. Yes, I do agree that MANY children only focus on Santa Claus and getting presents as the reason for the season, and that is most definitely wrong. We as Christians, must keep the birth of our savior as the reason for the season and do good for others. Now, about jolly ole St Nick. My childhood, I believed in Santa until I was in the 5th grade (a little pathetic, I know)! And yes, I remember the exact moment when my mom finally told me the truth. I was sad but at the same time, I already had a suspicion that it was them all along starting at about 3rd grade but a part of me wanted to still believe in the magic. But my family ALWAYS put the story of Jesus first as the focus of Christmas. We, not only celebrated advent at church every Sunday but we had our own special advent that we would do on Sunday evenings with my parents and siblings. This was a memory that was very special to me and taught me the true meaning of Christmas adn the detailed story of the nativity. Our church's focus was on the nativity scene, the birth of our savior, and giving to others in need. I always knew the true meaning of Christmas but loved believing in the magic as a child of Santa and the North Pole. And a part of me enjoys remaking this magic with my daughter because I get to recreate that magic for her. My parents explained to me that Santa was St. Nick's spirit here on earth and that was there way of letting me believe in the magic but still keep the main focus on the true reason for the season. St Nick was a saint. A follower of Christ who did great things in a time of need long ago. And through Santa we celebrate his life during this season and continue his good work. It's all about balance during this time of year. And no matter what we as parents decided to do, it is most important as Christians to focus on the true meaning, no matter what approach we take. :)

Rosie said...

In other words, my parents approach to Santa never left me feeling that Santa Claus was a lie. It was just another fun way to celebrate St. Nick's life and good deeds.

Brittany M said...

I love this!! After becoming Catholic this past Easter, I told my husband that I did not want to teach our future children about the Easter bunny because that is not the real meaning of Easter. After agreeing on that topic we've discussed the topic of Santa. I love your explanation! We may have to use it in the future! Thanks for sharing!

Amber said...

I love this, and totally agree. I've actually even said I'm not even gonna mention Santa when I have kids because I don't want to "lie" to them, ya know? this is a tough situation, but you handled it wonderfully!

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