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?