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Since Will’s first Christmas we have gone back and forth on whether we would “do” Santa at our house or not. And 3 years later I think we’ve come to a solution that will work for our family. It really couldn’t wait much longer since Will is old enough to understand most things!

The short answer is: We don’t do Santa. But, it’s really not as simple as that (nothing ever is)! I hope I am able to describe how we feel in a clear and meaningful way.

Advent: During the Christmas season we strive to put as much emphasis on Christ as possible. For that reason, we celebrate Advent in our home each year. We read Scripture each night of Advent that tells the entire story of Christ from the beginning of the world to His return as Savior & King. We hope that Advent will become a treasured tradition for our boys and not simply a countdown to Christmas.

Gifts: We want to teach our children that we give gifts (to our family, friends & others) at Christmastime to celebrate the gifts that God has given us. We want them to be generous towards others and not just in December but year round and Christmastime has lots of opportunities to pick presents for other children, donate food, or send gifts around the world through Compassion, World Vision, etc.

If we stop to think about all the gifts that God has given us, I think we would describe those as lavish. God’s love for us is lavish – he held nothing back not even the life of his only Son. In that way, the gifts that we give our children may be lavish. Or if you prefer, we are probably going to spoil our kids at Christmas! This does not mean that we are going to buy things that we cannot afford.

Santa: If we don’t “do” Santa what does that mean exactly? We’re not 100% sure but this is what we think it will look like.

The gifts our kids receive at Christmas will be from us.

We won’t use Santa as a discipline technique – “You better be good or Santa won’t bring you any presents.”  One, we don’t want to give our authority as parents away to anything. Our kids should (or suffer the consequences) obey us because we’re they’re parents. Two, if we give gifts as a representative of God’s gifts to us – God does not withhold the ultimate gift of salvation because we aren’t good. Thank goodness, salvation is by grace alone and not because of anything we do or don’t do!

As our kids get older, we will explain why people celebrate Christmas with Santa by telling them about the real St. Nicholas and how generous and giving he was.

We’ll still get our kids picture made with Santa because it’s fun!. We are definitely not “bah-humbug” about Santa but feel like this is best for our family. So, what do you do at your house?

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9 Responses to “Lavish”

  1. Allison Bussell says:

    We “do Santa.” Mostly because it just happened when Cooper was little and we never considered not doing it. We both did, our families all did, and you get carried away in inertia. Once I started considering other families’ choice not to “do Santa,” it was already established and not worth going back in my view. All in all, I think the Santa discussion is made into a bigger deal than it really is. I don’t think Santa detracts from the real reason for the season anymore than Christmas trees, or spending outrageous amounts of money on gifts that no one needs, or putting lights on the house, or any of the other “non-Jesus” (even anti-Jesus in some ways) things people do at Christmas. I appreciate both sides of this issue for sure, and I think you have made a very admirable choice for your family. But Santa is a very small piece of what we do at Christmas, and Cooper understands in a very real way why we celebrate Christmas.

  2. Amber says:

    We both had Santa growing up too! And I probably should have mentioned that we are NOT going to tell our 3 year old that Santa is not real. Just like we don’t tell him that Mickey Mouse is not real :)

  3. Debbi says:

    We had the exact same approach- we treat Santa like Mickey Mouse. Charlotte can label him and we talk about him but he’s not bringing our gifts (though there will be plenty of gifts). I wholeheartedly agree about the discipline issue too. Many parents use the elf on the shelf to keep kids in line this time of year, and I felt exactly like you did (my kids should listen to me essentially “because I said so”). One struggle I foresee is the Christmas movies and books. When the kids are old enough to understand those, how much harder will it be to keep this approach? Do we just say “Santa doesn’t come to our house?” I don’t want them to infer they were “bad”. This is seemingly so simple, yet it’s actually so complex! Thankfully, I have another year to think about it before Charlotte really gets it. And the girls won’t be getting pictures with Santa this year…because Charlotte finds him to be quite terrifying.

  4. Didi says:

    As long as you don’t tell him that Santa isn’t real because I have about three students in my class whose parents did that and it’s very hard to have Santa come to your class while three are saying you aren’t real!! :) I like your idea.

  5. Tiffany says:

    I love this post and your approach to Santa! We are currently trying to decide what Santa will look like in our home too.

    PS Sorry I’m so bad at leaving comments these days :) I’m still an avid follower of the blog! ha!

  6. Lora says:

    We’ve actually already discussed this, and while it is of course subject to change here’s what we’re “doing” with Santa

    – our kids will learn the story of St Nicholas from birth.
    – they will be taught that Santa is celebrated because of a real person who gave gifts and showed God’s love to people around him
    – Santa will be explained as the spirit of St Nicholas, and we will explain that some children believe he brings them presents too and not to correct them
    – each child will (most likely) get a “Santa” or “St Nicholas” present — but they will know that it came from us in the spirit of being generous. We haven’t really decided what that will look like yet (whether it’s something we wouldn’t ordinarily buy, whether it’s something they NEED, whether it’s something to enrich them spiritually…that is all to be determined)

    Of course, it’s easier to do this in theory…but I hope we’re ahead of the game and it’ll be natural to start doing this when our first baby comes, you know? :-)

  7. Honey says:

    You have inspired some very thought provoking conversation. I admire your choices to instill the truth in your boys.

  8. Mimi says:

    I’m so proud of the way you and Bill are raising your children. They should know the true meaning of Christmas.
    I love you!!
    I told Pawpaw on the way home that I was surprised that Will didn’t recognize Papa’s voice but I see he kind of recognized him anyway. He’s a very smart little “Dude”