Q & A: What should I tell my kids about Santa?

Q: I have a question. Is it wrong to have your child believe in Santa Claus?  I was with my family over Thanksgiving, and there was a discussion about it. I just wanted to know what you think about it. Thanks

A: Thanks for your email.  That is a great question.  I don’t think it is wrong to let your kids be kids and pretend and use their imagination.  My wife and I have 2 kids and we have let them enjoy the fun of “Santa” coming at Christmas time.  However, I do not think it is right to lie to your children, and when they ask about Santa, we should tell them the truth.  Ultimately though, I think our focus at Christmas should be telling our kids about Jesus and explaining why we celebrate the holiday.  Our kids love Christmas, and the excitement and fun that come from Christmas movies, parties, and gifts.  We don’t remove them from that culture, but while we are celebrating with all of those things we do our best to focus them back on the reason for celebrating.

I remember last year talking with my children about Christmas and why we celebrate.  When I asked them some questions about what Christmas meant, they told me that the reason that we celebrate is because it is Jesus’ birthday.  Through that conversation I was able to talk with them about how cool it was that on Jesus’ birthday we get to celebrate by getting and giving gifts because the whole meaning of Christmas is about how God is a giver, and that He gives us good gifts, and how He gave an incredible gift to us in Jesus being born.

As far as talking with my children about Santa specifically…We never taught them about Santa Claus, but when they heard about Santa, through school, family, and other kids, and were excited about that pretend aspect of Christmas, we didn’t squash that enthusiasm.  About 2 years ago when my son was 6 he asked me if Santa was real.  I turned the question right back around and asked him what he thought.  He said he didn’t think he was real, but that it was a fun thing to pretend.  I agreed with him and told him that he was right.  We went on to have a great conversation from there about the fact that Santa was a real person that lived long ago, but the santa that people talk about coming to your house and the Santa they have watched Christmas movies about is just pretend and something for fun.  We also talked about the fact that his younger sister was still pretending about Santa and we should let her have fun with that until she asks about it too, which he agreed to do.
I hope this helps.  Also, here is an article on this subject that I think will help you, and Here is a great article from Mark Driscoll about how he handles this subject with his kids.
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