This is the question we, and many other young families I know, are asking ourselves this Christmas- should we “do” Santa or not? There are a lot of solid Christians on both sides of this issue, and it is a personal decision for every family.
I recently found a thought-provoking article by Thabiti Anyabwile explaining why Santa is not a part of his family’s Christmas. You can read it here. I particularly like his response to this common objection:
A fair number of parents have, almost in panic, expressed concern that should there be no Santa Claus their children would not have fun at Christmas… No doubt Christmas is fun. Even as parents, we get great delight from seeing our children’s faces as they rummage through the boxes and gifts. But the implication here is that Christmas without the trappings, Christmas exclusively focused on the birth of the Savior, is boring. The argument implies that there is no anticipation associated with awaiting the celebration of Jesus’ incarnation.
He also, in another article, gives some tips for parents who choose not to do Santa on how to equip their children to answer the inevitable question, “What is Santa going to bring you this year?”
One very important point that Thabiti makes for those of us who choose not to do Santa, is that it must ALL be done in a spirit of humility. How easy would it be to look at other families who do believe in Santa and decide we are more holy than they are? That is just not true. I know plenty of wonderful Christians who do Santa with their children. And I have already noticed in trying to explain why we are choosing not to do Santa, it’s VERY difficult to do so without sounding self-righteous. And honestly, even the most humble attempts will still put some people on the defensive.
To sum up the foundation of why we are not doing Santa, I quote one of Thabiti’s Q&A that he gives in the second article:
Q: “What’s wrong with believing in Santa?”
Ans: “Others can. But I think it’s better to believe in real things that are wonderful and beautiful, like Jesus.”
ETA: I just found a really good video on youtube of John Piper preaching about the story of Santa vs. the Gospel of Jesus. Watch it here.