A college girl once told me that her little sister had asked her if Santa was real or not. Being an honest Christian, the college gal didn’t want to lie to her little sister, so she told her that Santa was make-believe and not real. So her little sister followed up with, “So is Jesus real?”
This just illustrates the point that we should not lie to our children thinking that it will make Christmas more fun for them. Christmas is not about Santa. I grew up with Santa and my husband didn’t. I can remember as a little kid looking all around my bedroom for the elves who were watching me and making that list. And I remember asking my parents how come there were so many Santas around town anyway. I don’t remember ever having the “news” broken to me that Santa was make-believe. We simply out-grew it. My parents always made Christmas spectacular, and, in spite of the Santa thing, I always knew about the real Christmas as being Jesus’ birthday.
At Doug’s home, Santa was not welcome at their Christmas celebration. (In fact, he still thinks it’s a stupid story!) When he was a little kid, he and his younger brother were watching a repairman do something at their house. The repairman asked the boys what Santa Claus had brought them for Christmas. “Nothing,” replied his little brother.
“Nothing?!” the shocked repairman asked. He must have been wondering what kind of house he was in.
“Christmas is Jesus’ birthday,” was the matter-of-fact reply, as though this guy must be from another planet. Of course Doug’s parents gave the kids gifts and filled their stockings, but these were never attributed to Santa.
We did a similar thing as our children were growing up. The celebration was about Jesus and His birthday, and we all gave gifts to one another to celebrate. There was never any lying to our children about Santa or elves or Easter bunnies or tooth fairies. We told them plenty of stories, but they knew when it was a story, and when it was real.
The Christmas Story is real, and it’s not been called the Greatest Story On Earth for nothing. The principle is not that we can’t tell our kids wonderful stories. We can even tell them the Santa story or the Father Christmas story if we like, as long as they know what’s real and what’s not real. We should never leave them confused about when we are making up stories and when we are telling them the gospel truth. Gospel stories are full of wonder, and we never have to break the news to our kids that they aren’t true.