the Santa resolution

We've thought long and hard about it, and we've decided to not to Santa with our kids. I know, I know, we're going to get a lump of coal in our stockings, I'm a Grinch for not doing it, it's taking the fun out of Christmas, etc. But before a lynch mob shows up, I want to explain. We're not not doing Santa, we're redeeming Santa.

Here's what we're not doing:
  1. Using Santa as a reason for our kids to "be good"
  2. Showering our kids with presents because they're on their best behavior
  3. Telling our kids he's a magical man who will bring them presents if they obey us
  4. In a nut shell, lying to them
  5. Telling our kids Santa is bad, anti-Christian
  6. Allowing our kids to tell other kids Santa isn't real.
Why? Because for us, Christmas is about Jesus. Christmas is the celebration of the greatest thing to happen to the earth EVER. God coming to us, to live among us, know us, understand us, and eventually die for us. Christmas marks day one. Not in a literal calendar, but symbolically December 25th is when we celebrate that. The incarnation. God coming to live among men. A God who was not above us, but in every way made himself like us. A God who was not content to have us separated from him forever. A God who never said "obey me and I'll love you" (like Santa seems to say), but who did obey perfectly and then gave us his reward. For no reason except love.

But I'm guessing you already knew we thought that. So why ruin the fun that Santa can be? Honestly, it comes down to authenticity. We want our kids to trust us and know we'll always tell them the truth, especially because we will tell them of the great love God has for them, and showed them in Jesus. We don't want to confuse them with other larger-than-life ideas of Santa and flying reindeer when we're already introducing hard-to-conceive things like God and eternity. Our kids won't hear lies from us, bottom line.

But not doing Santa isn't really an option. It's obvious you can't ignore him. He will be a very present element of the holiday season, so we're choosing to redeem, instead of all-out reject him. We're telling them the true historical story of St. Nicholas, and how he was the root of the present-day Santa Claus. We're telling them about how St. Nicholas was a real man who loved God and lived like it. We're telling them about how he gave to children in need, out of a changed heart. How his generosity was celebrated and still is today, by the giving of gifts, especially to children.

We're celebrating the life of St. Nicholas with our kids. And in doing so, we'll also give gifts (yes our kids will still have the childhood experience of running with glee to the Christmas tree on December 25th to open presents), but not from a mythical Santa; In the spirit of St. Nicholas.

Here's what we will do:
  1. Give gifts in the spirit/remembrance of a man who, changed by God, did great things
  2. Teach obedience throughout the year, not for Christmas presents, and not using the "Santa threat" (he sees you when you're sleeping!!)
  3. Celebrate Christmas with the culture. Enjoy it. Watch the Christmas movies, sing the Christmas carols. Do the Christmas crafts, and buy Christmas gifts.
  4. Use the person of St. Nicholas as a testimony of how God truly changes hearts, and what beauty can result
  5. Ultimately, celebrate, have fun, and point our kids to Jesus, the ultimate gift-giver who did not give us his acceptance or love because we were good, but indeed when we were enemies of him, he chose to redeem and save.
This hasn't been the most popular of ideas, and we get that. We don't think it's the only way to "do Santa" and we certainly won't be judging any other families who do differently. But for us, this is how we can, in good conscience, celebrate Christmas.


  1. Working at a toy store, wrapping gifts for children from their parents and 'Santa' often makes me think about how I wouldn't want to lie to my kids just to keep up with cultural expectations. I like what you have said here, as I skimmed your resolution. So often there is a Christian behind the secular practices we have today (st. Valentine, St. Nicholas, St Patrick..) - making it easy to teach about faithful saints and the real meaning of the holidays.

  2. Someday I will tell you about the huge debate our family had about Santa. It was interesting for sure! I like your perspective. I appreciate how well thought through it is. Jen actually told me about this post before I even read it. :)