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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why Our Family Is Choosing Not To Celebrate Santa Clause

Here are the reasons our family is choosing to abandon the tradition of Santa Claus:

1. Santa Claus has become an idol to many children, and we don't want our children having any gods before the Lord.

2. The obvious one - the tradition of Santa Claus takes away from the real meaning of Christmas and promotes getting, not giving.

3. We want our children to trust us. If tell them year after year that Santa is real and you just have to believe, and they one day find out you lied to them and he isn't real, it is not only crushing, but dangerous ground when it comes to their belief in God. Perhaps, they think, that God isn't really real either.

Yes, I celebrated Santa Claus with my family as a child and I have wonderful memories (I could have sworn I heard reindeer on my roof every Christmas eve!) I also remember crying when I found out he wasn't real...and even then I continued to believe because I wanted so badly for him to be real.

Also, we are not sheltering our children from Santa Claus; they know who he is, we watch Santa Claus movies, etc., we just treat him like any other fictional character, that's all.

I know that many Christian families choose to incorporate Santa Claus into their Christmas traditions, and you won't find any judgment here! We also realize that to many we are horrible parents (hi dad, love you!) denying our children of the fun and wonder of Christmas, however, we think the fun and wonder comes from the anticipation of celebrating the birth of Jesus and His coming again one day.

How did you find out there was no Santa Claus? And be honest, how old were you (I believed until I was probably eleven!)


Laura said...

Good morning! :)

Homesteader in Training said...

I'm not even sure if I ever really "believed" in Santa. My parents always put gifts from Jesus instead. My oldest who is now 15 believed in Santa because of my ex husbands parents and when she asked me one day if there was one I had to tell her no because I didn't want to "lie" to her. They were mad but whatever. I'm her Mom and that's that! LOL! My two boys haven't been raised believing, we only treat him as a fictional character as well. I love Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer just as much as the next gal.
We have started doing the Jesse Tree Advent devotionals for Christmas and that is such a nice way to bring Christ to the forefront. I love your honesty my friend and I'm right there with you.

Katy Lin :) said...

i think my parents did the same thing you guys are doing bc i do not remember ever believing that Santa was real. We did stockings and knew about the character, but it was always just a fun game i guess - if that make's any sense! - hey, it's early :) hope your 5am was fabulouse :)

Kimba said...

I really don't remember when I actually figured it out. Maybe around age 8 or so? I remember finding the packaging for a set of doll furniture that I received as a give (Santa's gifts were always unwrapped under the tree).

I figured that there was no way Santa would bring a toy in it's original packaging. I did play along for another year or so because I didn't want my mom to be upset. Weird, huh?

I was up at 5AM! Woo hoo!

Dustybug said...

Good for you! I grew up knowing that Santa Claus was not real. We also didn't acknowledge the tooth fairy or the easter bunny. My child hood most certainly did NOT suffer because of this, and it bothers me when people insinuate things like that.

My husband and I have decided to take a similar approach as you have. We see Santa in the mall, watch movies, etc. and our kids get one "santa gift" but we do not ever acknowledge that he is real. We think of him more as a fun thing to talk about on Christmas but that is all.

Mrs. Trixi said...

Oh, Sarah Mae, this is a tough subject for me, as well. We do not "do" Santa Clause either. We just look at him as any other fictional character like Mickey Mouse. However, this year, I struggle with Christmas altogether. It's roots are pagan and Jesus was not even born in Dec. It would have been more like Oct. Plus, Jesus never celebrated birthdays. He celebrated Biblical Feasts. I don't think He has commanded us to celebrate His birthday. We have really been studying Mark 7:6-9 about the traditions of man vs. the commandments of God and I wonder if "Christmas" and all her commercialism and meism is not just another tradition of man. We will probably do things as we normally do this year but it is such a struggle to know what is the "excellent" thing to do here.

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

Good morning - I was a little late getting up again this morning! I did wake up at 5, but my brain didn't fully realize for several minutes that I was supposed to actually get out of my bed! :) So we'll call it 5:15.

We don't do Santa Claus either! I stopped believing in Santa when I was 7 and being a bossy, know-it-all sort of child, I then proceeded to tell all of my second-grade classmates that Santa wasn't real! I felt it was my duty to spread that info around! I found out years later that my mother received a few phone calls from upset parents - oops!

We have always put the focus on Jesus instead and try not to give very many gifts. When we made the decision not to do Santa, my son was just a baby. I actually had a collection of Santas for decoration and gave them all away.

Like Mrs. Trixi though, we have had the same struggle with the Christmas celebration. Our Pastor does not celebrate it for the very reasons she mentioned. We are still celebrating it, but our son is aware that it is not actually when Jesus was born, but that it is the day that our culture celebrates it. We try to remember that we should be celebrating Jesus' birth the whole year, not just on one day!

Thanks for your brave post and I am glad to know I have company!

Hugs to all!

Friend Chick said...

I was in 6th grade, so I was also 11. My uncle had dressed in a Santa Claus outfit and delivered our presents when I was 6, and I heard his jingle bells and saw him! How can you argue with what you've seen? I was the last of my friends to believe, and I finally sat my mom down and had "the talk". I wasn't crushed. More embarrassed. After all, my younger sister already knew the truth and was keeping her secret from me!

twingirlsmom said...

Hello Sarah! You come up with the best topics to discuss!

My family actually didn't even celebrate Christmas for the first 7 years of my life for the very reasons listed above. We lived overseas where families don't exchange gifts so it never seemed odd to me. The focus was on the birth of Jesus and sharing a nice meal with family and friends and it never occurred to me that us kids were getting 'jipped' out of gifts. I didn't even know that is how kids my age all over the US celebrated Christmas! Growing up, it was a day of community outreach as well. Many people are open to the Lord on that day and we had special activities for the neighborhood children. The focus was so different than it is here where it is a very private 'family only' day of gifts, gifts, gifts!

So I never grew up believing Santa Claus is real and am grateful for that... My daughters--who are 5--are hearing all kinds of stuff regarding Santa at school and have asked me several times if he is real or not in the last couple weeks! Of course, I explain he is not real, just a fun, jolly ole' character! :)

I do think it's important to commemorate the birth of Jesus, especially with our children, and it's possible to do without getting caught up in the mayhem that is Christmas these days. I am already teaching my children that we focus on the gift of God to the world and because God gave His best gift, we give gifts to others. I do not focus on having my children write Christmas wish lists [there's enough of that going on around their birthday!]. Instead, we talk about what we can give to others.

Another thing my husband and I try to stick with is limiting the number of gifts per child. In the past we have given 5 gifts--I would love to get it down to 3--plus a stocking full of odds & ends.

We are right with you--we choose not to celebrate Santa Claus either...nor the way Christmas is being celebrated in the US currently! We are celebrating by our own rules. :)

MamaHenClucks said...

I was up at 6am, but I was up!!

We grew up getting gifts from Santa, but I don't remember actually believing in him. We do Santa over here but oh the discussions that we have had. My hubby loves the magic of the kids getting up and seeing gifts. I don't have a problem with doing gifts, but wonder if they could just know they were from us? But how do you stop when the kids are almost 7 and 5 and believe? It's a huge deal to hubby and his family?

messynester said...

Wait....Santa isn't real? MAN! hehe jk

I found out in 2nd grade that he isn't real. My sister was a baby so my mom was getting the stroller out of the trunk of the car and I saw a BARBIE DREAM HOUSE in the trunk. I didn't mention a word of it to my mom because I knew she would be sad if I saw my present. So then Christmas morning comes and low and behold look what i got from Santa. A barbie dream house.

Maybe the fact that I got the dream house cushioned the blow of me figuring out that my parents were santa.

Traci said...

I can't really remember how old I was.. but I remember that it never "made sense" to me. I was a pretty practical child. My dad explained that Santa was just a fun game that we played to give gifts without giving ourselves "credit" for them.. Looking back the concept makes sense except for I'd much rather give Christ credit for the inspired giving, lol.

I woke up at my aspired 6am this morning but a little munchkin crawled in bed to cuddle and I couldn't pass up that opportunity! I'm making progress though.

Traci said...

Oh and Sarah, my email address is just Tracilouwho@yahoo.com

Traci said...

I don't remember! I really have NO clue! I've always been a little slow, so it was probably later then most, LOL. I remember swearing to my mom that I heard the elves on the roof!

I can't believe it's almost Christmas. I need time to adjust! {granted, I am in so cal. and it's like 90 today}.

Dana said...

i discovered a few years ago that my son's birthday, december 6th, is also st. nicholas day. there are a few nice websites that go into the details of the "original st. nick". so we take the time on this day to explain who the historical figure really was (just like you would on washington's birthday) and how that turned into today's santa clause (thanks to cocacola) ;) we simple teach that st. nicholas's heart was to give to the poor and that is also our goal at christmas time. we put christ at the forefront during advent and christmas so much so that we don't really have to worry about avoiding santa. the kids are going to see him everywhere and after we talk about st. nick they have a better understanding of who he really was.

Katie @ 3 Blondes and a Redhead said...

I believed WAY too long. I think I was 10 and the LAST of my friends to find out.

My mom told me that those attraction spotlights (the ones that you can see in the sky when there's a big event in town) were Santa watching me...all year long. Then one day, we drove RIGHT PAST one and I asked the tough question. My mom could have continued to play along, but I seriously had to have been 9 or 10, so she told me the truth. I don't remember this, but she says she asked, "Are you okay?" as I looked out the window in silence and all she saw was a single tear falling down my cheek.

How SAD is that?!?!?

My husband and I have gone back and forth on this issue since we got married and didn't even have kids yet. I've recently heard of the idea of doing "St Nicholas Day" which explains the legend of Santa, that he was a Christian and gave to those in need, just like Jesus. I think you're supposed to celebrate it on his birthday which was Dec 14 or somewhere around there. Then after that, it's ALL about Jesus!

HeathahLee said...

We decided even before Kiddo was born that Santa Claus would not be the focus of our Chrismases. All the things he gets for Christmas he knows come from us, even the ones left unwrapped on Christmas morning. We even told him where the legend of Santa Claus came from and about the real St. Nicolas.

While I remember a few Christmases from when I was a child, what brings me the most joy, and I have the best memories of, is giving. Gifts I've given my husband, my child, my Mom, my Dad, and many others. I get so much more of a blessing giving than I do getting. I want to instill that into my son.

Christina said...

We don't do the Santa Claus thing here either.
And for the same reasons as you. But mostly reason #3.

Anonymous said...

I still believe in SANTA!! SANTA is about love and giving, the spirit of Christmas!
I grew up celebrating Saint Nicolas Day, which is Dec 6, or Santa's bday. I also received presents from Santa.

Jacquelyn said...

We never believed in Santa and it was never a big deal growing up. I have always been very careful to teach my kids that Santa isn't real but family members and the rest of the world are out to prove me wrong. When my oldest was in preschool he came home from school and told me that I was a lier. It seems his teacher had told him all about Santa and he felt I had been hiding it from him!!! It is a struggle each Christmas to balance things and keep the truth of God's gift at the forefront of our celebrations while aknowledging alternative worldviews and not disparaging them.

Anonymous said...

I am Laura's mom from "10 Million Miles" Though Santa was a huge Christmas figure in my childhood, I had no problem ditching him for the awesome Christ who gave Himself for me! Like you, I allowed Ol' St. Nick to be a ficitonal and fun character in the season, but my children knew it was just for fun. Santa was no big deal! They received their gifts from us because we loved them...not because they were good or bad. This helped to point to the gift of salvation freely offered in Christ!

Anonymous said...

I believed until I was 10 or 11, really a long time. The reson I held out so long was when I was 6 my mom and my aunt did this thing where we went out light looking on Christmas eve and then when we dropped my aunt and cousins off at their house "Santa" had already come. Since in my child mind the adults had been at my Granny's house all day Santa had to be real. I think as I got older I began to see the implausibility of it all. I was very sad when I finally asked my mom for the truth.
My mom enjoys doing the presents so I still get something from Santa.

I don't remember having any confusion about the true meaning of Christmas though because my mom always told us that Santa wanted to give gifts to children to remind them about G-d's love and the gift of Jesus.
I think it is just the same as when you pretend anything else (princesses, firefighters,camping in the living room, etc.) with your kids. We don't have children yet (where in the middle of the adoption process) but we will do Santa. I will tell my kids the same thing my mom told me so they know that everything at Christmas is about Jesus.