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How We Chose to Handle Santa Claus

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The Boyer Blog: How We Chose to Handle Santa Claus

Monday, November 30, 2009

How We Chose to Handle Santa Claus

We made the decision when our first son was just a baby that we would not teach our children about Santa Claus. First of all, the reason we chose not to teach our children about Santa was basically because Christmas is about Jesus and Jesus deserves our full attention and praise. Secondly, we strongly felt that we should not lie to our children ,even in “play”. Both Rick and I were saved when we were 16 years old. I had never heard of all the wonderful stories of the Bible as a child. There are so many truths in Scripture that are remarkable and not natural and I didn’t want to confuse my children as to which things Mommy told them were true and which were games we play. If I were to tell them the Santa story and they later learned it wasn’t true, how could I expect them to believe me when I told them about Daniel in the lion’s den or the parting of the Red Sea. I never wanted to intentionally lie to my children.

Therefore, my goal to was to magnify Jesus Christ during the Christmas season . I wanted my children to be devoted to the Lord and not distracted with fairy tales. I began to find meaningful ways to magnify Jesus. During the years we made ornaments for our tree with names of Jesus on them, things like Wonderful Counsellor,

Prince of Peace, Light of the World, Lamb of God, etc. I evaluated the things that we used for our celebration and taught my children what significance they had (these can be found below)

We soon learned that people in stores and friends would be asking him what Santa was going to bring him for Christmas. We realized we had to address it somehow. As for answering well meaning folks we rubbed shoulders with, I told my children that some people play the Santa game. I told them why we didn’t and made it clear that Christmas was about Jesus. I also taught them not to be rude to others and when asked what Santa would bring them, just to say, “We celebrate Jesus birthday on Christmas. Also, I taught them that it was not their responsibility to set others straight and they were not to tell other children there was no Santa. We told them Santa in the mall was someone’s daddy dressed up in a costume, but the Santa game was not something our family participated in. We were not to judge others, but do what God clearly led our family to do. This has worked well for our family through the years. Our children - young and adult love the Lord Jesus Christ and we all LOVE Christmas!! It is a highlight of the year for us and a time to remind us of the greatest sacrifice of all made in our behalf- that God sent His only Son to earth as a Babe to die on a cross for my sins and for yours! What a marvel! Jesus, we love you and we celebrate your arrival here on our sinful earth. Consider what traditions you will have as a family. We have more suggestions on our booklet, More Than Just a Wish List. God bless you as you strive to make Christmas a meaningful celebration for your family.

The Christmas Tree

Jesus was born for the cross. He came to die for us- ON A TREE. I Peter 2:24 says that Jesus bore our own sins in His body on the tree”

The evergreen tree also represents eternal life- the green remains all winter long.


Jesus was the light of the world. He came to be a light shining in the darkness.


God placed a special star in the sky to guide the wise men to the Savior. It’s fitting that that God used a star to announce the birth of Christ-Ps. 19:1 says, “the Heavens declare the Glory of God”


Heavenly messengers sent by God to announce the miracle to lowly shepherds

Candle and Poinsettia

Candle-We are told to be lights on a hilltop , not to cover it under a bushel, but to let our light

so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven., leading others to our Precious Savior. What better time than


Poinsettia- Answers in Genesis tells us that the poinsettia was used for Christmas as it was believed to represent the unique star of Bethlehem. Also, the red color represents the blood that Jesus sacrificed for our sins. It blooms in winter



Jesus was the greatest gift ever given . As his life’s blood flowed to the foot of the cross, so we place our gifts under the tree as a reminder of the greatest gift we ever received- the salvation of our soul. We emphasize the joy of giving to others during this season.


Our adornment should be of Christ- God wants to decorate us with the fruit of the spirit to make us more like Him.

The wreath, in a circle, reminds us of God’s everlasting love which never ends. The green represents everlasting life.

Candy Cane

Read in Celebrating a Christ-centered Christmas on page 20.

Have you ever thought about the colors of Christmas or explained them to your kids?

Red- represents the shed blood Isaiah 1:18 “Thou your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”

White- Christ’s purity and sinlessness

Green- everlasting life

Gold- royalty

Memories and family traditions are the stuff life is made of. And you, as mom, have the wonderful privilege of building meaningful traditions for your children they will treasure their entire lifetime.

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Anonymous Cari Dierking said...

Thank you for sharing how your family handles the Santa Clsus issue and your Christmas celebrations.

God worked the same way in my life over 20 years ago with the birth of my first child. We continue to not recognize Santa Claus and to thoroughly enjoy celebrating Jesus' birth.

A few years ago, as we now had many young children (there is a 12 year gap between the first and the second child, but then six children in eight years), I had to figure out how to prepare my children to respond to the "Santa" question at stores, etc. I prayed for an answer and God put the same words on my heart that you shared above. It has worked very well for my children and those asking my children about Santa have responded respectfully to my children's response.

I also have taught my children to be respectful of those that choose to pretend regarding Santa Claus, but for the most part we have been around other like-minded families in this area, so thankfully it has not been an issue for our family.

Thank you so much for sharing the spiritual significance of some of our holiday decorations. I look forward to shaing them with my children.

As always, thank you so much for sharing your heart and lives. I so appreciate "sitting at your feet" and learning from your experience, even if it is from a distant.

December 1, 2009 at 5:05 AM  
Blogger Bridgett said...

Thank you for this! Our oldest will be 5 Dec.6 and this past Halloween was the first one that we had to really explain to him about. However, I didn't prepare him for a response when people would ask him about it and he would just freeze up. When I picked him up from the October MOPS meeting I could tell he was upset and I noticed the workers were wearing Halloween shirts and giving Halloween candy so I had a feeling. He wouldn't talk the whole way home and when we got home he just sat on my lap crying for awhile. I felt horrible and had no idea what to do except for comfort him and reassure him of our faith and stance.

As we've been setting up for Christmas I've wondered how we should handle others asking us about Santa and how to avoid him freezing up or getting hurt. What a simple, honest answer! Thanks so much for sharing! It means a lot.

December 1, 2009 at 6:49 AM  
Blogger oldfatslow said...

We did it differently. I taught my children that St. Nicholas was a great saint of the church (slugged the arch-hertic Arius once). St. Nick loved children and gave gifts to poor ones in his parish. I told my kids that people like to dress up the way they think Santa Claus did and pretend that he still exists. Although we knew that he was long since dead, it was not right for us to disabuse other children.

December 1, 2009 at 6:58 AM  
Blogger Mrs W said...

I don't think I will ever understand why parents want their children to hide their lights under a bushel about the Santa issue. We want our kids to witness of Christ and tell other children that Jesus is real even if their parents don't teach them that, but you don't want them telling the truth about how Santa isn't real just because parents don't teach that? Isn't that a double standard? We should be teaching our children to tell the truth about everything, and not hiding the truth in fear of being "judgmental".

December 1, 2009 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger Senaida said...

We always look at Santa as a historical figure. I also tell my children that if he were alive, he would not be happy about what people have done to his legacy.
Of course many well meaning people ask my children what they want Santa to bring them. When my children respond by saying that Santa does not bring toys, people look at me like I'm abusing my children.

My question is how do you deal with neighbor's, cousins and other children that do believe in Santa? So far my kids just change the subject.

December 1, 2009 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

I was brought up different from my husband, even though we were both in Christian homes. His parents didn't do Santa, Holloween, Mardi Gras.. and mine did. After we got married we had to decided and I am so glad we chose to do it my husband's way. Thanks for sharing your story with us. In our sphere of influence we are the only couple that doesn't partisipate in Santa, Holloween, etc. How great is God to lead others in the same path. One thought we had is, how can we stand out and be different from the world if we do all the things the world does. The world is searching for light and they can't find it if we look like and do the same things they do. With Sants we teach them it is a game of pretend and they are not to spoil the game for other children. We also told them that adults play pretend also when they ask them what Santa is bring them. We tell them the Santa in the mall is playing dressup. My heart was broken growing up when I learned the truth about Santa. Why would I want to purposely break the heart of my child in the name of fun? Thanks again for your sharing. It is a blessing to know others who share the same beliefs.

December 1, 2009 at 8:43 AM  
Blogger dovehomeschool said...

Hi Marilyn,
We have made the same choice regarding Santa. I can still remember the day I figured out Santa wasn't real. I remember going through the whole list questioning my mom saying then the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc. aren't real either and then ending with "then Jesus isn't real either?" She of course assured me He was but my trust in my parents was seriously shaken and the simple faith to believe in things I couldn't see was damaged as well.

We did a Jesse Tree for Christmas last year and it was amazing how quickly my four year old learned the symbols and stories. If you have never heard of a Jesse Tree it is an Advent activity. Each day starting from December 1st you make an ornament for your Jesse Tree. The symbol on the ornament represents a story from the Bible starting with the prophecy of the coming of Christ and then going from Genesis all the way to Jesus birth. Each day we would read the scripture verse for that day's symbol, discuss the story and make the ornament. We used a vine stuck up our wall and my four year old loved standing in front of it and pointing at the ornaments and telling me the stories. If anyone is interested in doing a Jesse Tree with their family this website is a great resource...
Also there is a great book called The Jesse Tree which is the story of an old man carving a Jesse Tree in a church and the young boy who came to watch him carve. The old man tells the stories of the symbols to the young boy. We read a bit each day as part of our devotional time.

December 1, 2009 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger Raisingarrows said...

We did Santa for a couple of years when our son was young, but I always felt like I was deceiving him with no real good reason.

I really enjoyed reading about your traditions!

December 1, 2009 at 9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had a funny story happen when our oldest son was just 4 years old. Our 18 mo old needed to be wisked to the bathroom, so I left him with a church member who was also an employee. The other employees came and were doting on our little cutie. He was asked what Santa was bringing him for Christmas, he responded. "Santa Claus is dead." I guess there was a dead pause. And I'm not sure if he even continued with the story of the real St. Nick or not. To my friends' unsaved friends it was totally cruel and unloving. Amazingly this is a surprisingly touchy issue.

December 1, 2009 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Marilyn Boyer said...

Mrs. W.,
Actually my oldest son has the spiritiual gift of prophet and everything to him is very black or very white. When he was very young, he felt it was his responsibility to inform everyone that Santa Claus was not real and didn't use the character quality of discretion in doing this. I found that if someone is really interested in why we do what we do, then definitely I would explain in detail or let my son do so as well, but it is not our juridsdiction to interfere with the way others raise their children. It is them who answer to God for the way they choose to handle things and if we overstep our bounds it tends to anger others and hinders our potential minsistry to them. Over the years we quietly did what we felt was right with our children and often others would then ask why. At that point I saw that as God's leading to have furthur input into that life. I guess you need to take each situation by itself and seek God's leading in sharing. If someone is open, yes, share unashamedly, but otherwise it's like throwing pearls before swine and that tends to hinder our influence over others. I do agree that we need to teach our children to let their lights shine in the midst of crooked and perverse generation, balancing both boldness and discretion. Hope that helps to clarify where I'm coming from

December 1, 2009 at 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Kerimae said...

Good morning! The most difficult part of not playing Santa for us were the incredible reactions of the grandparents. I was cornered by one grandparent while my husband was away and grilled for over an hour wherein we were accused of ruining their childhoods and their innocence! It was horrible! This was NOT being a *light*, it was (in their eyes) being part of a *cult*.

Since then, we have allowed stockings on St. Nicholas Day (Dec 6th). We read all about this martyr for the faith and enjoy small treats like new mittens and mandarin oranges. All of the children know that the people in suits are just playing dress-up, but that they are not even portraying the real deal! Then, at the end of the day, we put all of it away. Christmas Day is all about Jesus. We don't try to "correct" those that follow the traditional Santa.

Celebrating St. Nicholas Day helped the grandparents to cool off, and we didn't have to lie to our children about who this man really was. This is what worked (and works) for us.

December 1, 2009 at 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We never encouraged the Santa story in our home either. We never prepared them with an answer. I think they learned at first by our answer when they looked didn't know who Santa was. We do celebrate St. Nicks Day on Dec. 6. We place our wooden shoes out and then have oranges and some candy and usually some small gift to place in them. Our older children know well the story of St. Nicholas and were able to help explain it to a couple who has become like adopted grandparents to them. It is encouraging to hear of other families who try to keep Christmas about Christ, also.

December 2, 2009 at 6:39 PM  
Blogger oldfatslow said...

I'm assuming Mrs. W was
replying to my post.

I can understand your choice,
but I have tried to rear
my kids to pick their battles
wisely. Hopefully, they
and I will always fight for
the cause of Christ, but I'm
not so sure I want them to
go to the stake for Santa.

Where it doesn't really
matter (and I don't think
Santa does), I've tried
to train my kiddos to
restrain any tendencies
towards priggishness. It's
a tendency their father
endeavors to overcome in


December 3, 2009 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger Seth said...

Here a great article about how you can talk about the good the St Nicholas did and how we can redeem "Santa" and learn valuable lessons about his real life and ministry.

December 18, 2010 at 2:52 PM  

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