Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Question of the Day

Should young children be taught to believe in Santa Claus?


Michael said...

There is a part of me that says there is no harm, that the magic of Santa is just part of the magic of the holiday. Yet there is the other side of me that says we are in debt up to our necks because everything Santa promises, we have to buy. And it is expensive to keep up with Santa ... and it misses the entire celebration of Christmas.

So I have concluded that while it may be harmless to talk about Santa, it is better for Christmas that the proper focus of Christmas be maintained.

Keith Taylor said...

I think they should.

Santa Claus is one of my foundest childhood memories. And don't give me a load of manure about being emotionally harmed when I figured out the truth. Toughen up and get a life. We have become a nation of .... well, this is a Christian Blog, so I'll stop there.

The truth is that Santa does exist. He came every year when I was a small boy and I loved him very much.

John Wilks said...

Our kids know the story of Santa, but we have never once claimed that Santa is real. Our five year old likes to pretend that Santa is real and he doesn't spoil the fun for his friends, but he knows the truth. And it hasn't spoiled the magic of Christmas one bit in our house.

Shay said...

When I found out the truth about Santa, I immediately associated that myth with the myth of the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy and that other character that kept showing up around the holidays, Jesus. My 7-9 year old thoughts immediately began questioning all the stories my parents gave me as a child. It didn't damage my emotions, but it did put a wrench in my faith.
Keith, you said Santa is one of your fondest childhood memories. I think that is exactly why Christians should do away with the fat man. He is honored and glorified way more than Christ at Christ-mas and what he has come to stand for is not so much giving, as consuming.

The Thief said...

We bought a book on the real Saint Nicholas and read it to our (4 and 2 year old) boys. We also emphasize that we get to be "Santa" for others. And our kids love to sit on the fat guy's lap at Christmas time.

The Bass Player's Wife said...

My folks always told us that Santa was the spirit of giving and that served us well. When I was very young and literal, I probably thought he was a man who came down a chimney, but I can't remember back that far. My understanding of Santa developed as I did and I never once felt "lied to" about Santa.
I don't have children as yet, but I would do the exact same thing with my kids.

The Ironic Catholic said...

Well not if the guy looks like THAT!

Gord said...

I see no reason why not. As long as it isn't overdone in the commercialized version of Santa.

I learned about Santaa but it didn't confuse me as to what Christmas was about. Or rather what Christmas is about to people of faith.

And I know of no people who have actually been harmed by the Santa event.

However if we are going to continue with Santa we must get rid of the conditional love side of the story. That directly contradicts the message of Christmas grace.

RERC said...

We made a conscious decision when our son was young (he's 17 now) not to buy into the Santa thing. We just felt Christmas is about Jesus coming to the world, and whatever Santa was historically, in these days the concept has been so co-opted by forces we do not want to encourage that we did not want to participate. Neither did we want to lie to our son, especially about anything connected (however tangentially) with our faith.

For the same reason, we never did the bunny or Easter baskets.

Like The Thief, we did teach our son about St. Nicholas. This worked well, especially since our son's name is Nicholas.

rocksalive777 said...

I've always thought that if I had kids, I would teach them about the history of Saint Nicholas and they would get their visit on December 6 - the feast day of Saint Nicholas - as to not get Christmas and Santa confused.

I have no problem with Santa, but with the way the saint associated with giving becoming the commercial icon associated with receiving.

John said...

We're going to take the traditional path and teach our kid to believe in Santa, and when she's old enough tell her he's all made up. This will be good training ground for the crushing disappointment that is life, in which all of her hopes, dreams, and beliefs are slowly destroyed over time.

Because that's what growing up is all about.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled across the following after seeing your question yeasterday.

I don't know what's worse: telling a young kid there's no Santa Claus or sanitizing the Christmas holiday altogether?

My son was playing on Nick Jr.'s Free Draw making a Christmas tree and when he went to write 'Merry Christmas'. The program would not allow him to type the word Christmas on her drawing. The error message was "Word Blocked" (also blocked where the words and phrases: Savior, Pope, Blessed virgin Mary, St. Nick, Hark the herald angels sing, Silent night, Away in the manger, no crib for his head, and even 'Obama is the AntiChrist', but I think it was because of the word Christ, not Obama, because I was able to write his name alone.)

I was able to type in Mohammed, Hanukkah, Eid and Kwanzaa and anything pagan like Yule, Beltaine, Samhain etc. So it seems that only the Christian celebration of this season is unacceptable.

I went to Nick Jr. today to give a try, and the writer above is abosolutely correct.


Elizabeth said...

I don't know about should or shouldn't, but I'd rather not teach my children about Santa Claus. My older cousin told me there was no Santa when I was five. It made sense to me, and didn't make me think there was no Jesus or anything. I did catch my mother acting as tooth fairy around the same time. She looked at me, made arm movements like wings, and said, "Flap flap." The jig was up there too. But I just don't think teaching about Santa is necessary, especially in terms of opting out of total consumerism at Christmas.

doodlebugmom said...

When I was a kid, I believed. My kids believed.


I don't see the harm in it besides its fun. Several years ago, my husband and I slid off the road late in Dec. A man with a gray beard came along and helped us. My husband rolled his eyes when I told him it was Santa Claus, the only guy just chuckled. (of course this man, who lived in the same small town as us loved to razz me about that for years. :o) )

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

(but really, that pix you have up is seriously creepy!)

doodlebugmom said...

one more thing I came across this morning. Read this one:


That little girls belief in Santa may be one of the only stable things in her life.

homemadewithlove said...

I just did a blog post about this very same subject. Santa from a Christian perspective. You might enjoy it.