Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Santa Question

As Christmas approaches James and I have discussed at length the question of whether or not to tell Cecilia there is a Santa Claus, North Pole, flying Reindeer, elves, etc.

The brief answer is no, we are not going to pretend there is a Santa, for Cecilia or any of our children.

Here are our reasons why...

Saint Nicholas was a 4th century bishop who was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so they could marry. His feast day is December 6th. St. Nicholas became the origin for the myth that flourished in the form of a jolly and generous red-suited and white-bearded man who gave gifts in celebration of the Incarnation, that is, the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. I must say, not a bad foundation for such a myth. Basically though, Santa became a symbol for the charitable joy we all should demonstrate at the birth of our Savior. It is for this reason, that we have nothing whatsoever against the myth of Santa in and of itself.


We cannot ignore the violent assault waged against Christ and his birth at Christmas by the ACLU, retailers and many politicians who want to makes millions of dollars in Christmas sales and have "holiday" parties but make it illegal to have a nativity within public view. Meanwhile, it has become socially acceptable to replace the nativity with a Santa Claus as a Christian symbol of Christmas making Santa not a heart-warming symbol of the spirit of Christmas but rather a replacement for the whole reason for Christmas - Jesus Christ.

Hence, while we both enjoy Bing Crosby's Santa Claus is Coming to Town and I enjoy wearing a Santa hat, since outside our home there is little we can do to stop the deletion of Christ from Christmas and the obsession with Santa as a replacement for Jesus, we intend to keep our home Christ-centered throughout Advent and the Christmas season and this means Cecilia and any brothers or sisters she may have will grow up knowing Santa Claus as no more than a warm-hearted symbol for the generous giving of God in his gift of his only Son on Christmas Day.


  1. We don't 'do' Santa either. We celebrate the feast day of St. Nicholas with a special breakfast and stockings with small presents. We make it clear that Mommy and Daddy prayed to St. Nicholas and asked him what we should give to the kids and each other to celebrate his feast day and the coming birthday of Jesus. We tell the kids that Santa is pretend and that St. Nicholas lives in heaven with Jesus and Mary and Baba (my grandmother who passed away a few years ago). That that is the TRUTH. We don't have to 'break' it to them when they are older. We don't have to deal with the kids asking Santa for presents at Christmas and coming to expect those things. We can focus on Christmas and family time. I find that I tend to have my Christmas shopping and cards done by earlier because I have to get organized to do the feast of St. Nicholas. My oldest daughter just started school this year and we are talking alot about the fact that Santa is pretend, but that that is a secret and not to tell the other kids. But if she does and some other parents gets upset about my kid telling the truth about santa, to bad.

    I am finding that I miss some things , but only a little. It can be hard to find Christmas items without Santa or elves or reindeer or whatever. But in having to search out those things, I find that I gain a deeper appreciation for Jesus who came into the world to free us from sin. And one of humanities greatest struggles is our struggle with the sin of greed and gluttony. And unfortunately, Xmas has become a grave occasion of sin by tempting us and our children to be greedy, gluttonous, impatient, uncharitable to others and distracted from prayer.

    Good Choice, Katherine and good luck.
    PS. Check out for lots ideas for family activities and celebrations for St. Nicholas Day and many other days in the liturgical calendar.

  2. Tina,

    We actually are interested in starting a tradition on St. Nicholas' feast day, we just haven't decided on what yet. Thanks for the link. God Bless and Blessed Advent.

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