Saturday, November 22, 2008

What About Santa?

What is a Christian to do about Santa? The subject came out on a site I used to vist, - well, there is actually a my instead of "their", just my name for it. I and some others presented some ideas, and they were scoffed at, but I think the ideas have merit, so since I love to blog, I decided to take on jolly old Santa.

I think we all know where Santa came from: a man named St Nicholas, and how he was generous with his gift giving to the poor. I won't go into all that, but Wikipedia has a page on all that.

What I want to tackle, is what are we as Christians, especially parents, supposed to do about Santa Claus? Here are my thought and opinions. I know I have no kids, and to some people, thats seems to exclude me from the right to talk about subjects pertaining to kids, but what do they know?!

I read about a Sunday School teacher who was talking about the devil, and one of her students raised their hand and said "I don't think the devil is for real. I think its like Santa Claus - he is Daddy!" That brings a smile, but should also make us think. If we let kids believe Santa is real, and tell them he brings their presents, is there not a danger that when they find out he isn't for real, that they could assume the same thing about God & Jesus?

Kids can't always distinguish between the real and fantasy. I personally don't think a child should be led to believe that Santa is real and brings his presents. Beside the dangers, why let them think someone else brought the presents? If I pay money for gifts, I want my nieces & nephews to know they are from me - I don't want some fat guy getting the credit!

Some may scoff at the idea of kids getting confused about Jesus after finding out the truth about Santa. Really? On one hand you tell your kids this fat man in a red suit brings their presents, watches them to make sure they are being good, and has a naughty list if they are bad, and they might get no presents if they get on that list. At the same time, you tell them there is a God they cannot see, who is watching all they do. He also has a couple of "lists" - they want to be on the one that will mean they are going to Heaven. Then at some point the kid finds out Santa isn't real. He didn't bring them presents. What if they start wondering about this God they were told about? Is He for real, or is He someone Mommy and Daddy made up to make me be good........

It is a very real, and dangerous possibility. Plus, it is lying to your kids. Yep, lying. I don't see how anyone can get around it. Sure, someday you are going to tell them Santa isn't for real, but it is still lying to tell them he is for real and is bringing their presents. And if the kid finds out you were lying about that, how much trust will they have in their parents?

I know of course, that it won't affect every kid that way, but just because it isn't a guarantee that it will mess a kid up with his view of God, doesn't mean it is guaranteed that it won't mess them up in that area. There are tons of people who struggle with their view of God, why risk having Santa possibly cause problems?

I am somewhat middle of the road with Santa. I think Santa plays a big part in the commercialization of Christmas, and he shouldn't be portrayed as real to kids, but I don't go clear to the right and point out his name is an anagram for Satan, and all that. As I pointed out in another post, I do have some "Santa" songs on my Ipod and CDs, but they are far outnumbered by songs that don't mention Santa.

I think a lot of what to do with Santa should be left up to personal convictions and discretion - other than lying to kids and letting him think he is real - I know people who refuse to have anything to do with him, and that is fine. If one has kids, and Santa songs are played around them, and they go sit on Santa's lap, they should be aware that he isn't real, he is just a symbol of Christmas.

One other Santa issue I will mention, is having Santa at the manger. That totally disgusts me. We sold them at the bookstore when I worked there, and I was totally against it. Santa does not belong at the manger. I know the idea behind it, but to me, it is just plain sacrilegious.

So what is a Christian to do with Santa? Tell the truth, and handle the situation with kid gloves. You can't be too careful with kids and their beliefs.

I will close with the words of a Santa song that I love. From the first time I heard this song, I thought it was a cool song, and still do. Words & music by Buck Owens & Don Rich

Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy

Well, Santa looked a lot like daddy
Or daddy looked a lot like him
It's not the way I had him pictured
Santa was much too thin
He didn't come down the chimney
So mama must have let him in
Santa looked a lot like daddy
Or daddy looked a lot like him
Well, they thought I was fast-a-sleepin
'They thought that I was tucked in bed
They never thought I'd come a-peepin'
Or that I'd hear what was said
Santa put his arm around mama
And mama put her arm around him
So if Santa Claus ain't daddy
Well then I'm a gonna tell on them
Well, Santa looked a lot like daddy
Or daddy looked a lot like him
It's not the way I had him pictured
Santa was much too thin
I never saw Dancer or Prancer
I never heard the sleigh bells ring
I never saw a red-nosed reindeer
Like they show on the TV screen
But he sure brought lots of presents
So Santa Claus he must have been
Well he sure looked a lot like daddy
Or daddy looked a lot like him
Well, Santa looked a lot like daddy
Or daddy looked a lot like him
It's not the way I had him pictured
Santa was much too thin


Christa said...

I found this interesting. I agree it is lying. I used to be deathly against Santa for alot of the reasons you mentioned. I have finally eased up on the poor guy to let him in our house as a fairy tale--just NO belief system! I know a family that teaches Santa so strong to the kids of the family, they literally open their gifts, and, get this!--look UP and say, "Thank you, Santa!"
Great post!