I never intended to write this blog post, and I never thought I’d even question this jolly old tradition. My husband and I both grew up believing and what is so wrong with fantasy? Recently I posted a question on facebook about lying being a sin. I will pose this same question to you. Do you believe that all lies are sins?
100% of the people who answered me said even small lies were sins. Why then do we lie to our children about Santa? As I thought about the lie of Santa and contemplated whether or not I was okay with it; I realized I have quite a few problems with Santa.
1. Santa is a lie and lies are sins.
I remember feeling betrayed when I learned the truth. I learned it from my friends not my parents and I couldn’t believe they wouldn’t tell me the truth. It made me question things they had told me were true. I didn’t stray far from their values, but I can see how the lie of Santa could create a pattern. You see if my friends were telling me the truth and my parents were lying what other things might follow that pattern. Drugs, alcohol, sex, and so on; these are big issues we all teach our kids about. However, their friends might have a different view on these things. Santa opens the door and teaches our kids that mom and dad aren’t always honest. Now I know that is an extreme example, but I really think it is valid. I also think we must consider that the lesson we are teaching is all about hypocrisy. Honestly how often do you tell them not to lie, and what are you doing?
2. Santa isn’t at all biblical and goes completely against what we teach about grace.
Santa has a naughty list and kids work really hard to stay off of it. If they are nice enough they will get great presents and if not they will get coal. This is the exact opposite of God and the true meaning of Christmas. Now many of my friends say, think of Santa metaphorically. Well that could make things even more unclear. Santa is a bit like God isn’t he. He is everywhere all the time, sees everything, and knows everything. Presents can be likened to heaven, and coal would then be compared with hell. So basically we are teaching the opposite of grace in a metaphorical manner. The bible teaches that we are all on the naughty list, that no matter what we do we can never through our own good works get off the list, but God sent an amazing gift to help us. This gift, his son, died to put us on the good list. Wouldn’t it be better to spend this season teaching our kids to count their sins. We could add them all up and see just how overwhelmingly flawed we were. Then on Christmas eve we could worship our Lord repenting and praising him that he chose us despite our sins. When we wake up on Christmas Day there all our gifts are not because we were good enough, but because we are forgiven.
3. Santa is all about stuff and not about giving
Honestly I know this is not the intent, but it happens. The list of what you want, the anticipation of what he will bring, and then either joy or disappointment. Santa teaches us ask and you shall receive, or in some cases be very disappointed. When you say no sweetie I don’t think you are getting a life-sized jet for Christmas, and your kid says Santa will bring me one and we will fly it. How do you respond? Most of us aren’t going to buy our kids a jet, and they are too young to be a pilot. If we take Santa out of the mix we can spend more time talking about how Jesus gave to us and who could we give to in memory of him. We can find amazing joy in what we will give, how we will give, and who we will give it to.
4. The pesky elf and all the other jazz
It just keeps getting bigger. The lie is growing. When I was a kid there was no elf watching us. My kids are the only ones in their class who don’t have an elf out and creating mischief this Christmas. It’s that slippery slope again, and one lie leads to another. We spend a lot of time perpetuating a lie that they will eventually discover. One more betrayal, one more chance to show them we are hypocrites, and most of all more work for us in the here and now. What for?
So this is the year we will tell our children Santa just isn’t real. We will teach them to not talk to their friends about it, and we will tell them it’s okay to sing songs about Santa and enjoy movies with him in it. We just won’t lie anymore. We will teach them a lesson in morals, we will teach them that adults mess up, and we will teach them that we are willing to apologize when we are wrong. I never thought I’d say I was wrong to teach them about Santa, but if I could start over again I would have told them from day one. Christmas will still be magical, and they will still be innocent and full of love. It just won’t be overshadowed by our sins.