Are You a "Santa" Family?


We’re a “Santa” family. I understand the reasons behind some families choice to keep Santa out of their Christmas celebrations, but for us, it’s important to include him.

There is beauty in the “magic” of Santa. In the innocence in the heart of a child that can believe a man can make it around the world in just one night, solely to bless the lives of children everywhere. The story is appreciated and loved because of its wonder, sans the syndical and bitter questioning that sneaks its way into our hearts with age.

We use the Santa story to teach our children about the unconditional love that can be found in a gift that is given out of love, not earned like a sticker on a responsibility chart. Once a year, for just a few years, they will wake with the type of anticipation that only lives within a child. They’ll know that awaiting them under the Christmas tree decorated with holy cards will be humble presents, right next to the manger that’s present all through Advent. The gifts won’t be there because they have earned them or they deserve them, just because they are loved – similar to the baby Jesus who will be placed in the manger that sits under that Christmas tree.

Accepting unconditional love and unearned reward may be difficult later in their lives depending on their temperament. The “Santa years” are great practice for them to accept that they are loved just because. They are loved by us, by each other and ultimately, by Christ. They did nothing to earn this love, can do nothing to lose the love and need only accept it – like a gift on Christmas morning.

There is no “naughty” or “nice” list and Santa works in his workshop year-round making toys for boys and girls because St. Nicholas inspired him to be loving and kind to children out of the goodness of his heart.

There is no danger of our children learning one day about Santa and drawing a parallel to Christ –  thus dismissing the resurrection as a fable, myth or moral story. We talk about Santa from December 7th to December 25th every year. We talk about the baby Jesus everyday.

My biggest concern that comes along with being a “Santa family” is not a spiritual one. We’ve got three daughters in this home. Teaching them to sit on an old man’s lap, tell him their secret desires and then take candy from him doesn’t really coincide with what we generally teach our daughters about strange, odd looking older men! Then, on Christmas Eve, we’ll celebrate Jesus’ birthday and while we are sleeping he’ll sneak into our home and we’ll leave him a snack?

It is rather amusing when you think about the details.

Copyright 2011 Holly Rutchik


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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Santa. I know lots will disagree with me, but I choose to make sure that my kids know that Santa is Saint Nicholas, we celebrate St. Nick’s day with gifts from “mommy and papa” just like St. Nick used to, and we have gifts on Christmas that are from us because we love each other. We explain that Santa on tv shows are like a fairy tale and that seems to be okay; then they can get into the fun of the story without a lie.

    I know I was crushed when I discovered as a 4th grader that Santa was not real. I was sweet and innocent..and probably naive to hold onto my beliefs that long. When I was in third grade, I told my dad that I knew Santa wasn’t real, but he kept on insisting that Santa was real. Then I believe him, like a faithful daughter. After all, why would my parents lie to me? I was crushed when I found out 4th grade that Santa was not real. After Christmas during 4th grade, I thought, surely there’s still an Easter bunny. But I cried when my mom told me before Easter that there was no Easter bunny, either. Why did they lie? I really believe hard that there was a Santa and Easter bunny. It was very confusing. I guess it was a lesson in anti-relativism.

    At least for me, it did shake my trust in my parent’s ability to tell me the truth, just a little. I did not become rebellious or anything, but it was the start of thinking that my parents could with hold things from me that could hurt me. And yes, there was a faint thinking in my head, is God really real, too? I did believe, yes, He must be. Surely they wouldn’t lie about Him, too?

    When I had tragedy in my family during high school, I definitely knew that the Lord was real and true and there was no small doubts. He did rush to my aid and was the true one to bring gifts of love to comfort me and my family.

    I don’t know the best solution for making kids believe in Santa or not. I did enjoy Christmas morning thinking how special it was that Santa came, just for me.

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