Some people are just thinkers. They ponder eternity, existence and theology. They love to philosophize and find meaning that colors the world their eyes see and the way life is lived from the core.
That’s me 110% in case you haven’t picked up on that yet. 😉
The opposite would be a fun-loving and practical-minded mom. She seeks to know what it means to live God’s way and walks it out in freedom, without overthinking it.
This deeply-introspective and reflective aspect of my personality is exactly why I sweated the decision of whether or not to incorporate Santa into our family Christmas tradition. For the years in between the birth of our oldest daughter and the Christmas when she would finally be old enough to know the difference, I felt unsettled.
Well, that day finally came. Last Christmas my daughter was officially 3 1/2 years old.
If I was going to do Santa, I needed to do Santa or he would not be a thing in her life. (My husband was good with whatever I decided.) These were officially the “golden Santa years.”
As Christmas day grew closer, I finally reached my decision. I couldn’t do it. The trade off just wasn’t worth it for me.
I can’t even begin to describe how much peace I have with that decision!
I would love to share my thoughts on the matter, but I do have one disclaimer:
I am not even joking when I say, I’ve been sitting on this post for a year, trying to decide if there’s any value in publishing it. I questioned it because, a) I’m an over-thinker, and b) I don’t want to cast a shadow on your fun!
My purpose in sharing this is honestly to give freedom not do Santa to those of you who feel led in that direction. Because that’s okay too, despite the pressure you may feel from friends, family, society and every stranger who asks your child what Santa brought him. 🙂 Some of you might need that permission to find your freedom.
I also want to reassure you that Christmas can still be EXCEEDING special without this fantasy, but not to say it can’t be special with it!
Okay, with all that in mind, here we go.
Why I Have Peace with a Santa-less Christmas
1. Release from Guilt
The thought of misleading my children about this matter makes my chest tighten and stomach flop even now. In other words, as a matter of conscious, it’s not the right thing for me to do.
Speaking about the eating of food formerly sacrificed to idols, Romans 14:23 says,
“But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.”
I just don’t feel comfortable with it, even though it’s socially accepted.
This as a personal conviction. I know others who definitely don’t feel this way, and I’m happy for them.
I have personally had total release from anxiety over the issue with my decision not to do Santa.
2. Jesus Takes Center Stage
If you’re a Christ-follower like me, you know the profound, deep, awe-inspiring, joyful reason for the holiday. It’s Jesus. His birth and life. The unimaginable love that God displayed when He became one of us. Emmanuel.
You may not agree, but I deeply know that the truth of Jesus is enough for my children on Christmas. He doesn’t need backup for them to care about the day.
And in fact, I don’t want anyone else vying for their attention. I know if I were a child (as I once was…) I would choose Santa on which to set my heart. What child wouldn’t?
So on our quiet family Christmas morning last year, we woke up, snuggled up on the couch together, and read and talked about the story of Jesus’ birth as told in a sweet children’s book.
We talked about why we were giving gifts, to show our love to each other, just as Jesus gave Himself to us on that day to show His love. Just as the wise men gave gifts to Jesus to show their love.
We ate our traditional homemade cinnamon rolls, but not before blowing out a candle to acknowledge Jesus’ birthday and singing Him a birthday song.
Finally, we proceeded to presents…
3. Gift-Giving Becomes an Investment in Relationships, Not a Fantasy
I know a lot of families find middle ground with this one (some gifts from Santa, some from family members), but I love watching our children receive our love through gift giving, and I don’t want to give Santa any piece of that action!
We don’t buy our kids many new things… at all. Almost never. This is for financial reasons and character reasons. We don’t want to spoil them, but rather want them to appreciate what they have and be content with less.
But at Christmas, I delight in giving them a few special, well-thought-out gifts. This is something I want to do because I love them.
And getting credit for those gifts is not overrated! Gifts given from mom and dad deposit precious coins in their love banks. It can be life-giving. I want that for our relationship!
Speaking of relationships, nixing Santa opened up the door for a more relational emphasis overall I felt.
With help, our daughter had also prepared gifts to give to other family members, some handmade, some store bought, and all of them backed with lots of enthusiasm!
She was able to have an equal part in our Christmas morning, taking ownership of the gifts she had prepared and delighting in giving them. It made my heart so happy to see that sweet giving spirit surface even while unwrapped packages awaited her. She was able to dive right in to the day because there was nothing mystical going on, but rather something of which she felt she could be fully a part.
So, there you have it! I’m not trying to be controversial or stress you out in any way! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas morning, however you choose to celebrate.
Thanks for reading!
How do you handle Santa in your family?