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Christian Christmas

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

I was hoping to get some help from some of you mamas who have been thrus this dilemma. We are christian and my husband and I have different views on Santa Claus. I loved my childhood Christmas memories, I remember all the anticipation and it was wonderful. My husband was never made to belive in Santa, and I think was deprived of some wonderful childhood memories.

He has agreed to allow Santa but how to I teach my 3 yr. ds the true meaning of Christmas and include Santa in this equation.

Thanks for all your feedback!

post #2 of 37
My husband and I both grew up with Santa Claus, but have decided to not do Santa with our children. I have a problem lying to my children, which is what it would be if I led them to believe in Santa. And if I tell them to beleive in Santa who they cannot see, and then years from now learn that Santa is not real, then why would they believe in Jesus who they also cannot see, but whom I told them about? Just my thoughts on it
post #3 of 37
We don't do santa either. We are Christian and we don't do santa for similar reasons that the previous poster mentioned --

Why do you think that you can't have the magic of Christmas without santa? You totally can!! We do! We do all kinds of crafts around Christmas (christian and secular crafts like snowmen and whatnot), we bake cookies, we make hot cocoa and drive around looking at Christmas lights --- when it is warm during Christmas (we live in FL so sometimes it is warm) we walk through the neighborhood looking at lights ...

We do an advent calender to count down the days until Christmas with a tiny treat inside for each day... we decorate together, watch the Christmas cartoons from the 60's like Charlie Brown and whatnot...

We do presents (only a few), but no santa. DD will be 2.5 this Christmas and got a huge kick out of everything last year... as she gets older we will tell her that santa is a pretend man to represent giving blah blah all that good stuff and she can pretend if she wants but she will know he is not real.

Totally your call of course, but you completely can have all the magic and wonder and awesomeness of the season without doing santa and still being Christ -centered.
post #4 of 37
And if I tell them to beleive in Santa who they cannot see, and then years from now learn that Santa is not real, then why would they believe in Jesus who they also cannot see, but whom I told them about?
I don't have a good answer, except to say that I grew up with "Santa" and believe in Jesus today.
post #5 of 37
I grew up knowing the true meaning of Christmas and never believed in Santa. But DH believed in Santa when he was younger....

So we have decided true meaning, and I have told my kids there is no santa alive today. However.....the grandparents insist on telling my kids there is a santa. So our kids understand the real legend of santa. How he was a real person etc.... and we explain that while he is no longer alive, people like to dress as santa and give gifts from him for fun. Honestly, I think it's creepy to think of a strange guy comming into my house at night while I'm asleep. I also think it's dangerous to give kids that belief in something that is not real. One day they will find out that they were lied to. How will your child feel when they learn you've lied? Will they question other things you've told them? Plus, you never know who is dressed in that santa suit at the mall that little kids are forced to sit on his lap.... Little kids can easily mistake a bad santa for the jolly good one that they've been told about.

So perhaps you can tell her the real story of santa. But emphasize what the real meaning of the season is about.
post #6 of 37
I equate believing in Santa to believing that characters on cartoons or in books are real. I don't think there's anything wrong with taking a photo with "Santa" just like I don't think there's anything wrong with taking a photo with Mickey Mouse at Disney World. I don't think that means I'm lying to my kids, I'm just letting all of us have a little fun.

I think there's a big difference between having Jesus in your heart every day of the year, and Santa around for a month or two.

For Christmas in our house, Santa is just the guy who makes sure the presents get to you. Kinda like the UPS man. We do three gifts because three was good enough for Jesus, so it's good enough for the rest of us.

Santa and presents and Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph and whatnot doesn't have to be the FOCUS, and I think that's the difference we have made in our house. But I don't see the harm in having him involved as part of the fun.
post #7 of 37
We talk about Saint Nicolas, and what a kind and wonderful man he was, and how people dress up as Santa to honor his memory.

We take credit for our gifts, but are considering observing the traditional St. Nicolas day (candy in the shoes).
post #8 of 37
This is not specifically Christian, just my two cents.

My brother and I both believed in Santa for a really long time. I dealt with it fine. My brother, not at all. I witnessed the following firsthand.

The year that my brother was 9 or 10, he made this INSANE Christmas list for the fridge. Motor scooter, grappling hook and rip line, every item of sports equipment known to man, a Nintendo and about 90 games, every GI Joe made, etc.

My mom sat him down and said, "Son, we've got to get realistic about this Christmas list".

"Oh, I'm not worried, Mom. Santa will totally take care of it. I have been so good this year." And then he launched into this spiel about all the instances where he wanted to do the wrong thing, and instead was a good boy, because he thought of Christmas and kept his eyes on the prize.

Bless her heart, my mom laughed. "You know that Santa's just an idea, right?"

My brother FLIPPED OUT. He was, and still is, pretty mild mannered and reserved. Not this time. He screamed "You LIED to me! All this time, you've been lying to me!"
Then he opened the front door and yelled, "My whole family is nothing but a bunch of liars!" Then he ran upstairs and slammed the door. (The weird part is that his bedroom was on the main floor.)

We were all speechless. Our family Christmas has never recovered. My brother is now 25, and he still does not like to talk about this.

This experience has informed my thinking in many ways. I think it is bizarre to mix up the notion of St. Nick and Jesus and magic and commericalism/materialism and to put a bounty on children's behavior. Because these are the roots of the Santa legend.

So while we will tell our kids the legend of Santa, the history of St. Nick, and the spiritual nature of Jesus and the story of his birth, that virtue is it's own reward, and that material items are not that important, and that gifts are given as part -only part- of a celebration, not as a reward. We will not tell them that Santa is going to sneak in our house, or that he and his army of elves make all the toys and magically deliver them all the same night. I just don't think that's fair.
post #9 of 37
I grew up with Santa but I won't be doing it for my kid. I think I can make Christmas special and warm without that particular mythology. I don't feel strongly enough against it that it will be awkward to explain to her why other people believe in Santa, I just don't think it is something our family needs to do.
post #10 of 37
I also had a bad "Santa" experience growing up.
We were Jewish, but we did Santa, and Santa has nothing to do with God anyway so I don't guess it matters what religion you are to do the whole Santa thing.
Anyway, when I was around 7 years old I found out that our parents did the Santa thing and there was not a real Santa Claus. I told my 5 year old sister and my mom got mad at me and spanked me. I guess she thought I was being mean and trying to spoil Santa for her, but I felt like I had found out and was telling a neat secret or something and I remember being shocked that I had been spanked for telling the truth.

And, I did equate Jesus with Santa. I thought that all Christians were brainwashed by their parents to believe in Jesus and be good so they would go to heaven instead of being bad and going to hell just like you had to be good to get presents from Santa and if you were bad you did not.

As an adult, I was Christian when my oldest dd was born and I did not do Santa with her at all.
But, when my son was 3 or 4 years old, I was selling Discovery Toys and we were selling "Peef" the Christmas bear and book http://www.puzzlestoysandmore.com/IB...rchy/0401.html
http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html/602-3825378-1687049?asin=0931674263&afid=yahoosspplp_bmvd&lnm= 0931674263|Books_:_Peef:_The_Christmas_Bear&ref=tg t_adv_XSNG1060
and I got them and read the book to my ds for a few weeks before Christmas and then put the bear on his pillow at Christmas and he totally believed that Santa gave Peef to him and he loved that bear and thought it was so special (and his sisters each got one too, but that did not seem to bother him). Then the next winter DT had Peef in the catalog again (we don't anymore) and my ds saw it in there and realized that Peef was a Discovery Toy and not from Santa, but he was not upset about it - although he was a bit suprised, it did not bother him. It was fun and kind of magical for him and he is so easy going it did not bother him at all. I did not do that with my youngest dd though. I think it would have upset her to think Santa existed and then find out he did not.

I guess it just depends on the child how they will take things.
post #11 of 37
We don't do either, but I think a good way to include him is to teach your children about the real St. Nicholas. And perhaps learn with them about all the various ways he's represented in different cultures.

I knew early on that gifts from "Santa" were from my grandparents. I don't feel at all deprived, and I have many happy memories of Christmas. The pudgy American Santa and chimneys are not a neccessity for a good Christmas, and you cans still follow many of the traditions (stockings and gifts) without including him.
post #12 of 37
We do advent wreaths. We also do Santa, but there isn't too much emphasis. I think as long as it isn't built into a the only thing Christmas is about it's fine.
post #13 of 37
The problem I have with the Santa idea is how parents play up the "naughty or nice" thing, so ironic because the idea about Jesus is unconditional love and forgiveness. When DS is old enough to explain that stuff too I'll tell him about St. Nick, great guy, was born back in this time, did this and this and this, some people believe he's still around and brings presents to children.
post #14 of 37
Christmas Eve was the big day in our family, in accordance with my maternal grandma's German ancestry, so Santa was someone we talked about and received gifts from, but with the logistics being what they were, only the littlest kids bought it. We always did Saint Nick's Day (candy and gifts in your shoe by the chimney, the morning of Dec. 6). And I believed in that. But St. Nick seemed a different entity than Santa, if that makes sense.
post #15 of 37
We're Catholic so we equate Santa with St. Nick. The kids get presents from both of us and we're always careful to never say that Santa is really real and leaving presents. St. Nicholas was a real person and is a real Saint in Heaven in our minds.

But of course the birth of Christ is first and foremost. That's always the focus and St. Nick is a fun side thing. We have the advent wreath and light it as a family and go to multiple masses and things like that.
post #16 of 37
We mainly focus on the birth of Christ at Christmas. We do "do" Santa, but it is downplayed quite a bit and we use his latin name (Santa Claus) interchangably with his English name (St. Nicholas). We do celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas (Dec. 6) by leaving our shoes by the chimney the night before and waking to find a little gift in them. As for the gifts under the tree, yes some of them do say they are from Santa. I see no harm in it and as the children grow older we will talk about the life of St. Nicholas and why we associate him with gift giving.

But most of our advent and Christmas celebration centers around the birth of Christ.
post #17 of 37
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
I don't have a good answer, except to say that I grew up with "Santa" and believe in Jesus today.
Me too! We do Jesus first and Santa second. They understand the true meaning of Christmas.

PS: If you teach your kids there is no Santa, please ask your children not to wreck it for mine. Thanks!

post #18 of 37
we have fun with santa but don't believe him. I htink it is a nice compromise. my reasons for not doing santa include the not lyig to my kids and i really hated Santa. he brought all the naughty kids heaps and heaps of presents and i got nothing some years. i could never figure out why he liked the mean kids more than he liked me. couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. it was a sad way to spend Christmas.

but we still have lots of fun with the santa story and playing make believe etc. . .

and for the record they know they are in heaps of trouble if they ruin it for other kids who do believe. I have also really driven home the fct that they don't want to be the bearer of bad news because it sucks finding out santa isn't real.
post #19 of 37
PS: If you teach your kids there is no Santa, please ask your children not to wreck it for mine. Thanks!
I can see not outright telling a child there is no santa (if you are a child and understand that some believe and some don't etc) but are you saying that I am supposed to tell my child to go along and completely act like there is a santa when she is around every other kid always?

erm...no. I will teach her to be respectful and considerate and teach her that some children do believe santa is real so it is not her place or very considerate to go telling the truth (that sentence is funny, don't we teach children to tell the truth?) about santa --- however, she doesn't have to live a sham because *your* (general you) kids believe a big man comes in their locked house one night a year to give them presents if they are "good"... ya know?

Delicate balance, but as much as we have a responsibility not to *ruin it* for your child, you have a responsibility not to expect my child (or me) to pretend to believe in something we don't.

and for the record they know they are in heaps of trouble if they ruin it for other kids who do believe.
I so don't think that is fair maybe for older kids who understand the whole concept of pretend/truth/lie really solidly -- but if my 2 year old (she is only 28 months) blurts out ..."but, there isn't a santa!" in all innocence I am not going to punish her, nor am I going to sit there and stumble all over myself convincing said child that santa is real when we don't believe it. I won't confirm or deny but it is up to their parents to keep up the lie imo, not me.
post #20 of 37
In that case, I tell my kids that not all families celebrate Christmas as we do and Santa isn't part of their celebrations. My step dd was told at 3 that there was no Santa. MIL told her the child who told her that was "bad" and that's why santa doesn't come. FTR, I wouldn't have handled it that way either!

I don't consider it lying. We also do the tooth fairy, Easter bunny and read fairy tales. To each his own. I never felt lied to or betrayed when I learned the truth. I was just sad that it was over.
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