Q&A Tuesday: Is Santa real in your home?

I hesitate a bit posing today’s question, mostly because I’ll be on a plane all day today, leaving me unable to monitor comments.

But I’m genuinely curious about the why behind the myriad of family philosophies out there. So please share yours in the comments for today’s question:

Does Santa come to your home for Christmas? Why or why not? And if he does, how real is he?

I don’t want to spark heated debate, especially during the holidays, so please keep a little perspective and stay friendly. Feel free, however, to discuss why you do what you do!

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. It always amazes me how, ahem, passionate people get about these things. I understand being passionate about raising our own families, but why that passion has to be directed at others in judging the choices they make is beyond me!

    Anyway, in our home, we treat Santa like any other character, such as Dora, Mickey Mouse, the Disney Princesses, etc. We talk about Santa and all my girls know that he says, “Ho ho ho!” and rides in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. We read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” before bed on Christmas Eve, those kinds of things.

    We don’t make a big deal out of Santa bringing presents, and we don’t actually “sign” any gift tags from Santa. They always look a little confused when someone asks if Santa is coming to visit them, and I’m still trying to figure out how to handle that so that they don’t ruin it for another child who does believe in Santa.

    I don’t think Santa is inherently evil or any such thing, but I don’t want to put that much energy into making him seem real, and I didn’t have the best experience when I found out he wasn’t real, so this seems like the right solution for our family

  2. Being a Christian parent, I feel as though I can not tell my children that Jesus is real, but you can’t see him, and also Santa is real but you can’t see him. I feel like that would be very confusing one day for them.

    We talk about “Chris Cringle,” and how he was a real man, and used to bring gifts to poor people, and leave them on their doorsteps. We talk about how people still like to pretend that he is real and alive today, and we talk about those stories, and how we don’t want to ruin other people’s fun by telling other kids that he’s not real. My kids still like to pretend there is a Santa, and grandparents will sign gifts from Santa, but we make sure they know that from us we are telling them the truth. We also make sure they understand the actual reason of the celebration and of Jesus’ birth.

    Kristin´s last blog post…*S.S.S.*

    • I agree with comment #2; I need not comment further!

      patti´s last blog post…The Best Company To Work For

    • This is pretty much how we deal with Santa at our house. The girls love the “fun” of Santa, but we do not pretend that he is real…it is just a fun thing that we enjoy at Christmas.
      We debated it for awhile as my husband had quite a lucrative career as Santa for nearly 20 years. He NEVER lied to the kids when they asked if he was the “real” Santa, but like I said, it was a pretty lucrative career for some time!!
      Anyway, we adopted both of our daughters from China. They are now almost 5 and 3 and we decided from the beginning that there were so many things that they were going to have to trust that we were being truthful with them about and we just could not justify lying to them about something like Santa. So…we didn’t. The girls know not to ruin if for other kids on purpose, but if they are ever asked they will always be truthful.
      My parents were absolutely devistated that we weren’t going to perpetuate the Santa myth with the girls, but they got over it!! LOL
      Blessings In HIS Mighty Grip~
      Shelley Swindler

      Shelley Swindler´s last blog post…Adoption…it’s a family thing!!

    • My parents had the same reasoning and i’m glad that they did. The only difference is that they just never said anything about santa at all. You can imagine the trouble this caused when i hit the first grade and heard about santa for the first time. I had multiple clashes with other children for making things up and lying to me. I had been taken in by my older brothers stories before and i wasn’t about to had again. The result was a lot of children learning the truth from a first grade jerk…me. I’m glad you warned your kids.

    • I love Kristin’s response! (comment #2) I never actually thought about kids thinking that Jesus isn’t real when they find out Santa isn’t real. Our first is only 1, so we haven’t done anything about Santa, but the plan is to tell him that some people like to pretend he’s real, but we need to remember that Christmas is about Jesus’ birthday.

  3. When my oldest was born (he’s 5), we decided not to do Santa. I had heard of other families not doing Santa and I was intrigued. I also remember how hurt I was when I found out that Santa wasn’t real as a little girl. We have a standard in our house of not lying, so why do I want to lie to my child. I don’t want to put distrust in out relationship in any way. When Benjamin was a little bit older, I found a wonderful book- Santa, Are You For Real? It talks about Santa and who he really was. He was a very nice man that gave gifts to people. But he really wanted people to look to Jesus during this time of year. We still talk about Santa and the history of him. Benjamin loves to watch all the old classic Santa movies. But we focus more on Jesus during this season.
    The other day Benjamin said something about Santa, and I thought it would be a perfect time to ask him some questions. I said, “Ben, who is Santa?” He replied, “he’s someone that bring presents to people.” Then I asked, “Well, is he real?” Ben, “No, Mom, he just lived a long time ago.”
    My husband’s family has had a very hard time with this concept and my MIL is still trying to give me elf on the shelf this Christmas. She just doesn’t understand why we wouldn’t do Santa!
    We also haven’t run into the fact that he is going around telling everyone that Santa isn’t real. We are just taking it one step at a time!

    • We did the Santa thing for my daughter but at 6, we stopped when my son came along. I didn’t like the deception and the look of “you lied to me, Mom!” Christmas was about Christ. As my son got older and I knew he understood the real meaning of the season…we watched Santa Clause movies and such. Six years later, I have another son. Right now he is only 18 months so we are “safe” about santa. I don’t mind him as long as Jesus is understood to be THE meaning.

  4. When I was a child Christmas was more magical because of my belief in Santa. I remember trying to stay awake to see him, listening for the bells on the reindeer, and the pure excitement of waking up early to see what he left for me beneath the tree. I want my children to experience the same joy that I did each Christmas. I also personally wasn’t that disappointed when I found out that he wasn’t real – I think because I found out gradually. A friend or two might have mentioned that he wasn’t real, I happened to catch a glimpse of my mom pulling a pink castle out of the closet on Christmas Eve, and then eventually my parents broke the news to me. By the time I was actually told, I had already suspected for a while (I was probably about 8 or 9). But, the time that I did believe felt magical and enchanting – feelings I hope to be able to give to my kids.

    • I feel the same way. Well said!

    • I loved trying to figure out if Santa was real or not. It did add a little Christmas magic each year!

      I knew (know) Jesus and knew He was the reason we were celebrating. He is so important that we all sing, decorate, eat fancy meals, and even get gifts.

      I found out about Santa around 8 or 9 also and was not disappointed. I never felt like my parents lied to me, even for a second. I loved pretending!

      • I think you said it well. It was so magical for me to believe in Santa. When my daughter was first born, I really debated whether or not I wanted to do Santa. I really can see the pros and cons to both sides of the debate, but when it came down to it, I LOVED Santa as a child. Jesus and His birth were always the centre of the holidays, but Santa definitely added some extra magic, so we decided to let Santa be a part of our family’s Christmas traditions.

        I don’t decorate with Santa items, I don’t have some one dress up and come to my home, but we do put out cookies and I love taking my daughter to meet Santa, and Santa does drop presents off for her. And I love it!!

        Claire´s last blog post…Sarah & Jeff

  5. At our house, Santa fills our son’s stocking and eats the milk & cookies we leave out. my parents did this same tradition with my brother and i, dh’s mom did it with him… and somehow we both emerged knowing that Jesus was more important, and real. i have no memories of being crushed whenever i found out Santa wasn’t real – and as Josh gets older we’ll talk more about the historical aspects to Santa.

    Krista´s last blog post…Ice Storm 2008

    • I agree with everything Krista and Sonia said. When I was a kid, my parents did Santa, but Jesus was always more important. Santa ate the cookies and filled the stockings, but the presents under the tree were from family and friends. I also think things like this help children develop an imagination, which is important. In my family, when we figured out about Santa, we got to start helping fill the stockings, the next year, which made the discovery itself exciting. My children are young, but I plan on doing basically the same as my parents did.
      I also like what a friend said she’s done with her kids. They try to use Santa as a symbol of Jesus. Then when the kids figure it out, they read a story with them about how Santa is a term that means anonymous giver, teaching them that Santa is real, in that each of us can be Santa to someone else.

  6. Just posted about this! It is my intention to keep Santa a part of Christmas, but to keep him a character. I think the real/pretend thing is a really hard thing for a three-year-old to grasp (maybe just mine!?!). Here is just part of the confusion that ensued:
    I just can NOT lie to my kid. So, I said, “Santa is a real part of Christmas, but he’s pretend like Mickey.”
    Simon said,
    “But Mickey IS real!”
    And I said, “Mickey is part of a story.”
    And he said, “The Mickey on my [toy] toon plane is pretend, but the Mickey on the show is real.”
    And I said, “Oh, you’re right.” (so much for my honesty policy.)
    And then I said, “We like to pretend that Santa is real.”
    And that seemed to satisfy him.

    We’ll see where we’re at with it next year!

    Susie´s last blog post…Santa Update

  7. Yes, Santa comes to our house, and I think kids come to a realization on their own about the “reality” of it. I stress the “spirit” of Santa and how he represents the Christmas season of giving to others. I will never ever tell the kids that Santa doesn’t exist…my mom and my mother-in-law both adhere to this philosophy and yes, the denial was quite hilarious as we got older, but I think it goes to show that we don’t consider it a “lie”, but more of a tradition, and something parents give their children…fun, anticipation, a little magic thrown in… I don’t ever make judgements about what others do, but I do totally resent the parents who tell their kids the reality of it all, (which I think kids NEVER want to hear from their parents, no matter how much they ask) and then the kids tell the entire class. I think that’s more about the parents than the kids…

    sarah´s last blog post…Teacher’s Gifts

    • I agree with the “spirit” of Santa/Christmas. My children are 19, 16 and 3. We always said as long as you believe in the spirit of Christmas (giving to others) then you will receive a gift. We have always stressed it is better to give (and more fun). I remember my son reading about the birth of Jesus in the bible (he calls it the Christmas story) and saying, I have read this over and over and Santa is NOT mentioned anywhere. He is now 19 and says that he was never hurt by realizing that Santa wasn’t real because of the way we handled it by stressing that Santa lives in all of us and that WE create the spirit of giving unto others. He said that he felt like like he “grew up” with the responsiblity to help families less fortunate.

  8. Southern Gal says:

    When my oldest two were young, they were petrified of any dressed up characters, so it was easy to not go the whole Santa route. They wanted to know with fear in their eyes and voices, “Is Santa coming down our chimney?” We did read about St. Nicholas in the book “Santa, Are You For Real?!”. I also had a problem with lying to them in the name of tradition. (We never did Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny either.) We’ve always focused on Christ and his birth. The kids knew we bought the gifts for them though we watched all the Christmas movies that feature Santa. How they choose to do Santa in their own families will be up to them. (They are 19 and 17 now.) My youngest is 6 and loves the idea of Santa, but knows he’s a fairy tale based on a real man.

  9. Yes – Santa comes to our house each year. I guess I am following in the tradition in which I was raised. We too are a Christian family and devote a lot of time to “keeping Jesus in Christmas”. I think my kids view Santa as someone trying to spread the Christmas spirit and bring joy to others. The other night my son (6) brought down a manger scene from his room and placed it under the tree. He told me it was to remind Santa why he brings gifts to everyone. My kids also get to “play Santa” (that’s what we call it), when we purchase and deliver gifts for an Empty Stocking Family we adopt each year. I think that keep everything in perspective.

    My sister in law doesn’t do Santa and also explains that how can she have her kids believe in the resurrected Christ while also telling them a fat man magically comes down their chimney. While she has a point, my faith was never shaken by the whole santa thing growing up.

    I don’t remember being sad or disappointed when I knew for sure that Santa wasn’t real. But I guess I had suspected for some time. Perhaps if I had a bad experience, my thoughts on this subject would be different.

    Mandy´s last blog post…Menu Planning Planner

  10. Santa is a cartoon to us – my husband and I both grew up without Santa really being a part of our lives. Our parents/families grew up with more of the thought of giving. My parents would give us an ‘experience’ gift like they would take us on vacation and my siblings and I would take turns picking out where we would want to go. One year, my parents offered us classes in whatever we wanted – my sister chose to take art classes and I took martial arts.

    For our son, we have encouraged him at an early to be a part of the giving tradition. Last year, we baked cookies and cupcakes together and when family members gave him gifts, in exchange, he would give them a tin of his baked goods. We also made handprint ornaments to go along with his baked goods tins which he loved making, as well.

  11. Santa is real in our house. I remember when I was growing up, by the time I started recognizing “Santa’s” handwriting, I’d been introduced to the idea that each of us can be Santa’s helpers by giving and helping others in the spirit of Santa, so it didn’t surprise me too much.

    Santa eats the cookies and milk we put out and we also put out carrots for Rudolph. And there are always one or two presents in different wrapping paper that weren’t there when we went to sleep the night before.

    When my daughter was a little younger, she would point out jet airplane trails in the sky and tell me “Santa’s practicing” but now they’re just airplanes… she’ll figure it out gradually I hope and look forward to becoming Santa herself.

    Rete´s last blog post…Post-Thanksgiving Wrap-up

  12. My children are now teens and young adults, and we did do Santa when they were little. As they got older, they either found out from their friends that Santa wasn’t real, or we told them. We also had to explain why we let them believe he was real. We told them about St. Nicholas, how he was a real man that gave presents to children.We still continue to give gifts tagged from Santa, and we still don’t fill the stockings until Christmas Eve.
    My daughter, who has 2 boys, one of which is 2, is not going to do Santa with him. She just told me the other day that she was a little sad when she found out Santa wasn’t real, and doesn’t want to go through that with her kids.
    As a Christian, if I had it to do all over again, I would not do Santa with my kids. I would probably let them know Santa is pretend, but I would still give gifts tagged with Santa, for the fun of it, and still not fill the stockings until Christmas Eve. We try to keep the focus on Jesus and why we celebrate Christmas by giving 3 gifts to each of the kids, and talking about Him and why he came to the earth.

    Mary Lutz´s last blog post…I Won Another Giveaway!

  13. My kids believe in Santa until they are about 5 years old. I have four school age and they attend a Christian school. I am amazed that every year as a new child enters kindergarten there is someone who takes it upon themselves to set my kids straight about Santa. One year it was a teacher, another it was the music instructor. This year another parent who was volunteering in the classroom told my son there is no such thing as Santa. Whether you agree with me or not about the santa thing, no one has the right to tell someone else’s child about this!

    It’s very sad to me that people fall over themselves trying to assert their superior morality – how easily we forget our own imperfections!

    Lori´s last blog post…Daily Nuggets

  14. our little guy is just 2, so this is the first year we’ve even had to think about this…for me growing up, Santa always came to our house, but he wasn’t over-emphasized and was really just treated as part of the fun of the Christmas season. As we got older, my mom told us that as long as we believed, Santa would continue to come…that definitely helped keep us from spilling the beans to a younger sibling, but also further solidified our view of Santa not as a real person, but more the spirit of Santa being one of giving freely without expectations in return.

    We definitely want the focus at Christmas (and throughout the year) to be on Jesus, but I don’t think that means the tradition of Santa has to be destroyed in the process. Santa was a fun part of my childhood, but certainly didn’t have any impact on my ability to accept Christ. Great question!

    jodi´s last blog post…A little Merry Christmas Love!

  15. We believe in the Spirit of Santa. The Spirit of Giving. The Spirit of Celebration. The idea that one season a year is spent in celebration of family and the birth of our Savior. Santa is real in our hearts.

    Krissi´s last blog post…Ask "the SwimMom" Holiday Edition

  16. We do Santa in our house. I still believe in him myself! My parents told me as long as I believe he is real. I never had the sad feelings of knowing he wasn’t real. I did find out that he wasn’t REAL because my brother decided to share but when I realized my parents would still let me enjoy the magic of him that didn’t matter. That is what I will do with my daughter (3 years old). She does understand that the true reason for Christmas is Jesus’s Birthday. In fact she sings Happy Birthday to Him more than any other Christmas song. I want Christmas to be as magical and amazing as possible. I want her to remember straining her ears to hear the sleigh bells or trying not to fall asleep so that she can see Santa. I do intend to let her know that Santa doesn’t always bring us everything she wants! So far all she has ever really asked Santa for is a baby.

    Candace´s last blog post…Ornament Swap

  17. My youngest is 13 but we do have the grandkids here. I think saying Santa comes brings some surprise and mystery to Christmas. The whole family knows the true meaning of Christmas and we set up the nativity sets while telling the story of Jesus’ birth. I have a good nativity that I don’t want the kids to touch but my husband made all the kids their own stable and they each have their own set of people. It is fun to watch them play with their set while reliving the story. I don’t think it hurts for them to wake up wondering where the presents came from. We all love surprises and when they nag me about what they will get I can always say I don’t know you’ll have to wait for Santa.


    Peggy´s last blog post…Monday Morning Journal

  18. He’s real in our house and we put a lot of energy into making him seem so. It’s probably even more fun for us than the kids. I believed in Santa as a child and do not remember feeling betrayed or crushed when I found out he wasn’t real. I remember the fun of believing.

  19. I distinctly remember _not_ having Santa be a part of our Christmas tradition – the presents just came from mom and dad, etc. But at the same time, we left out cookies which got eaten and all the presents and stockings appeared overnight on Christmas Eve. So I guess my folks weren’t terribly consistent, but I don’t remember ever “believing in Santa,” and I also don’t remember ever having a Christmas that wasn’t completely magical, so I don’t think that Santa is required in order to appreciate the “magic” of Christmas.

    My husband grew up with everything coming from Santa and expected to do the same with our kids, so he was a little surprised when I expected not to! Our compromise (at least I think this is what we’ve agreed to) is that Santa can come to other people’s houses (like Grandparents), just not ours.

    This year it’s kind of a wash since our little man is just shy of 2 and doesn’t care about such things yet…which is good since the main present he’s getting for Christmas this year is a new brother or sister (due any day now)! We’ll worry about this next year.

    Princess Leia´s last blog post…Can’t Sleep

  20. We don’t do Santa because we want to put all our energies into the real reason of Christmas. That being said, every year we have a long conversation with our kids about other people who believe in Santa. We tell them that it is a fun tradition for some families just like our other traditions. We stress that they should never tell someone that Santa is not real as this might make them feel really sad. Christmas is ultimately about God’s love for us and we would not be really celebrating if we were not loving to others.

  21. As a child, we always remembered the true meaning of Christmas, but also celebrated Santa. It was a healthy mixture of both.

    While pregnant, my (now ex) husband and I decided that in our home we wouldn’t celebrate Santa. Of course the grandparents disagreed, and my children make Santa lists, sit on the jolly old man’s lap, and get excited to see the presents under the tree. While decorating, I almost exclusively decorate withOUT Santa (with a few exceptions are the ornaments that my grandmother gave me and I cherish). In my heart, and in most of my home, the focus is the true meaning of Christmas.

    And just the other day my 5 year old (who is in kindergarten) said “Mommy, is Santa real? Is Rudolph real?”. For a split second, I thought “now’s my chance”, but instead I reassured that they are real. Children are only children for an instant.

  22. With my son, I’ve always treated Santa as a fairy tale. We have fun with the idea of Santa, and I’ve given him gifts “from” Santa, but he’s always known that it was make believe.

    I don’t recall when I found out Santa wasn’t real, but I just didn’t feel right deceiving my son about something so big. His cousins on my side of the family believe, so I always remind him not to say anything to spoil it for them. His cousins on his dad’s side are the opposite extreme, they don’t celebrate Christmas as a gift-getting holiday, but put most of the focus on the birth of our Lord Jesus.

    I guess I just wanted a balance – the fun, make believe Santa stuff, without any of the trickery that goes along with it, and the real meaning of the holiday (Jesus). By the way, we have a fantastic book that combines the two. It’s called Santa’s Favorite Story. Santa tells the animals about the real meaning of Christmas. You can find it here on Amazon.com.

  23. My Two Ethans ask daily when Santa is going to visit them. One has already visited him in the mall and we’re going to take both to see Santa this weekend. Santa also makes an appearance at my son’s daycare and at The Man’s family Christmas party. Santa was ruined for me when I was 3, but I want my boys to believe in Santa, or at least his giving spirit, as long as I can. We make sure that they remain unselfish even with all of the consumerism. We make sure they know the true meaning of Christmas and Jesus, as well as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Involving fantasy with religion and history helps bridge the ideas to children a little easier; it’s almost a rite of passage!!

  24. For me it was a big blow when I found out Santa wasn’t real. I don’t mind my kids knowing the stories about Santa, but we stress that Santa is a fun story but not real. Our focus is on Christ at Christmas. We just try to keep it simple.

    Avlor´s last blog post…Egahds COLD! and Warm Up with Menu for Hope

  25. If we only talked about Jesus once a year, it might be a more important choice to me to make sure we only talked about Jesus and didn’t focus on Santa. It kind of makes me sad that some Christians get so wound up about Jesus being “the reason for the season” during Christmas but we don’t hear that kind of passionate conviction through the rest of the year.

    Our kids are 9, 6, and 10 months and we do the Santa “thing” at our house. They know that most of the presents come from us, but the stockings along with a few unwrapped presents come from Santa. (It’s fun for them, saves me a little work from wrapping, and my husband and I love seeing their faces when they see all the surprises. We also do Advent and spend plenty of time focusing on Jesus’ birth and so far it hasn’t been a problem for our family to focus on both.

    Sidetracked Faith´s last blog post…Teaching Children about Giving on Christmas Day

  26. We don’t teach our kids that Santa brings presents because we want them to be thankful to God, who is the giver of all good things, including little earthly belongings. We want to cultivate grateful hearts so we want them to know who to be grateful to. We want them to be obedient because God requires it, not because they want to get stuff. Santa doesn’t line up with our child-rearing philiosophy so he isn’t a part of our traditions. That beign said. we act according to the measure of faith given us, so we don’t see this as a “hill to die on” when speaking to others about what they choose to do.

    Jamie´s last blog post…With Every Christmas Card I Write

  27. I personally don’t do Santa on Christmas but don’t judge others that do. Everyone does what is right in their conscience. I do decorate in red and green and teach my kids that the red stands for salvation and the green is for new life. Candy canes symbolize Jesus in that they are in the shape of a “J” and the stripes are for the scripture that says, “by His stripes we are healed.” The tree is an evergreen, pointing to everlasting life. We give presents to celebrate Jesus’ birthday – just like the wisemen came and gave gifts on the first noel.
    My 3 year old attends a private Christian preschool and so they learn about Jesus daily. He already knows that this holiday is for Jesus’ birthday and we have nativities to demonstrate. However, “Santa” is all around us and many Christian families still do santa on Christmas. He doesn’t really ask me about it but when he does I tell him the historical account: he was a good Christian man that gave to friends and family without telling them b/c the Bible says to give in secret and God will reward us in secret. The rest… well, it’s just a fun story and he’s not old enough to care.
    Enjoy the season and the blessings that come! Merry Christmas!

    Robin Baker´s last blog post…SK8: Not bad for an old man!

  28. My husband and I were both crushed as children when the time came to find out Santa wasn’t real and that our parents lied to us. We vowed that we would teach our children the real meaning of Christmas and wouldn’t lie to our kids. We did tell them about back in the day a nice man would bring presents to people but he isn’t living now.
    People will ask my 4 year old if Santa is coming to their house and she will boldly say, “Santa isn’t real. We celebrate Jesus not Santa.”

    BJ´s last blog post…Tuesday Chatter

  29. Santa is real. I respect those who don’t “do” Santa, but honestly, I’ve never really understood the reason, which is usually: we don’t want to lie to our children and hurt them. Everyone I know grew up with Santa, and no one has ever expressed any horrible hurt that came from finding out the truth. I remember no horrible outbursts in grade school upon us finding out the truth. Yes, it’s a lie, but most of us lie to our children more often than we’d like to admit (“If you keep making that face, your face will freeze like that.” “If you don’t knock it off, I’m pulling this car over right now.” “Don’t sit so close to the TV. It’s hard on your eyes.”) In my opinion, it may be a lie, but it is a lie in which the good out weighs the bad.

  30. Santa comes to our house. But our children also know that not everyone has Santa come because not everyone celebrates the same holidays/beliefs. We decided a long time ago to celebrate our holidays with Santa. Eventually he’ll fade to be just spirit of Christmas and even now we are arming them with the knowledge that the spirit can be found in many ways/many people.

  31. I phrased my first sentence wrong. I didn’t mean to say that Santa is “real,” just that we “do” Santa in my family.

    Amanda´s last blog post…The Best Laid Plans

  32. Santa doesn’t have to come to our house since Mom and Dad buy all the presents. It’s not that we think Santa can be equated with satan or anything… we just don’t pay too much attention to him. If someone gives us a santa ornament or something, we’ll put in on our tree, but I don’t go buying them.

  33. I was a dirt-poor single mom of 4 when I had to make a decision about this and opted for the truth. I didn’t want my kids to wonder why Santa gave others way more than them. Our life was becoming a total miracle as God provided our needs and I didn’t want to tell them a lie about Santa while trying to encourage their faith in something that was all too real!

    Now those kids are grown and one has children of her own. They are telling their kids about Santa and I struggled with it. It’s working out just fine. The oldest figured it out and I told him the story was based on St. Nicholas and he was fine with it. The Lord has answered several of his prayers and his faith seems to be coming along just fine.

    Mary´s last blog post…Consider adding a taste of Savannah to your Thanksgiving menu …

  34. Santa is real in our family. We are a very religious family and we try hard to focus or children’s attention on the birth of the Savior. But the holidays are a magical time. We enjoy talking about, visiting and waiting for Santa. It is fun for the kids. We don’t make too big a deal about it though so that when they stop believing it will not be too sad for them. why not let the children be children and enjoy the magic as long as possible? There is plenty of time in their lives to be all seriousness.

  35. I am almost 39 years old and I still believe in Santa.

    In our house we celebrate the Season, all aspects of it. We read stories about Santa, we talk about how he is giving, and cares for all children. We also read stories about Jesus and how Christmas exists because of his birth.

    We drive around looking at all the beautiful Christmas Lights and we ooooh and aaaahh over the beautiful displays, but my daughter still gets very excited when she sees a Nativity scene on someone’s lawn.

    We “help” Santa out by donating toys to toy drives and contributing to the red kettle drive. When she is older, we will do more “giving” as she becomes more capable.

    We sing “Santa’s coming to Town” and we sing “Away in a Manger” with equal gusto. My daughter talks about Jesus a lot. Not only during the holidays, but all year round.

    I think that Santa is a powerful part of the season. Something that brings joy and happiness. His character is a wonderful reminder to each of us to be more giving. I see no harm in that.

    I think that more importantly, Jesus is a part o our lives throughout the year. That is what we celebrate throughout the year.

  36. Love the first comment!
    Growing up, Santa was a character who represented the “spirit of giving” and all that good stuff. We still had stockings and the usual traditions, but didn’t believe that Santa was coming to our house for real. We plan to do the same for our little guy.

    We believe that Christmas should be a religious holiday. We believe that Jesus Christ was and is a real person. So it just feels a little silly telling our son that Jesus is real and Santa is real in the same sense…. then in a few years, “Just kidding about that Santa thing! But the God thing, we were serious about that one.”

    Mama K´s last blog post…We’re going to have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny f-ing Kaye!

  37. I haven’t had a chance to read all the responses, but I will. This question is very interesting to me because of some developements in our home this Christmas.

    Prior to this year, Santa was part of Christmas as a story. My kids knew about him, but we didn’t pretend he was real and just treated it like another story, as some of you have said.

    However, now my son is in kindergarten. He has also learned about Saint Nicholas, that he lived long ago and from his story the story about Santa developed. Well, he took the “he lived long ago” and “he died” and “his story developed into Santa Claus” and came to the conclusion that Santa is dead. Not only this, but he also told his friends in kindergarten that Santa is dead, and this developed into an argument.

    He came home soon after saying that his friend knew that Santa was real because she saw him at the mall. To make matters worse, his teacher then confirmed that Santa is real. I still looked like the one who was not telling the truth.

    Through all of this I came to realize that my son really wanted to believe that Santa was real. He likes to be right, hence the arguments with his friends. But the idea of Santa really is magical to a child, and I think he didn’t like being left out of it. So I told me that we’d pretend that Santa is real. He knows better. He knows we’re pretending.

    My original intention was to avoid telling my kids something that is untrue, leading them on to believe it only to have to admit that I was not telling the truth later in their lives. However, I didn’t give enough credit to how much Santa is relished by children in our society, and how much adults try to protect this. Anyway, no one involved seems to be scarred in any way (I was worried about his classmates after he told them Santa DIED!), so I’m glad we’ve come to the arrangement we are at, but it hasn’t exactly worked out the way I had planned!

    Jen´s last blog post…

  38. i think my daughter was between 5 -7 when santa became unreal. She looked at her dad and whispered, i play along cause i think mom believes. She also with emphasis on certain words asked me to let santa know what she wanted…like , best if i go driectly through you mom! So now that she is 16 we continue to “play along” just for our own amusement, but then my mom and i have always done this as well.

    Turtle´s last blog post…A SideNote RIP

  39. We don’t have children yet, so my husband and I will cross that bridge when we come to it, but I think we most likely will not put much of an emphasis on Santa. I never believed that Santa was real growing up, but my parents were careful to remind us that some kids believe in Santa and to be respectful and not tell them Santa wasn’t real. I love movies like Elf, The Santa Claus, Miracle on 34th St., etc. and I think Santa is a fun part of Christmas. I feel that it is much more important to stress the giving, joyful “spirit” of Santa than the person.

  40. We embrace the joy, fun, mystery, and spirit of the holiday season and Santa is part of our family tradition. My 7 year old is just starting to piece it together- and rather than being hurt, I believe that he thinks it is special that he is now the “keeper of the Santa magic” for his two little brothers. It is what my family does- and maybe my sons will have Santa with their children someday.

  41. i grew up very poor, so there was no santa for us. now i get a kick out of doing it for my kids. we do it up pretty strongly, with the tracking santa, leaving milk and cookies out (and carrots for the reindeer), leaving a letter from santa for them to find, etc. it’s soooo much fun, and i feel like i’m getting back some of the magic i missed out on as a kid. my oldest is 9 and he figured out the truth last year. it was actually a great experience. he was extremely proud of himself for figuring it out, we told him how smart he was, and then we told him about the historical figure upon which santa is based. he didn’t feel lied to at all, just that it was a game to play. now he has fun taking part in the game that we play for his younger siblings.

    we still talk about Christ as the reason for christmas. santa is just a game we play, like the tooth fairy and easter bunny. we have as much fun with those, too. and when they’re old enough to figure it out, we make it a congratulatory coming-of-age moment: “now you’re old enough to know the secrets!” and explaining the truth behind the game has been enough to keep them from feeling lied to, in our experience.

    hope everyone has a fun christmas, however you choose to do it 🙂 i don’t think there’s a wrong way, as long as your home is filled with love.

  42. What are you people talking about? I STILL believe in Santa! You know, once you stop believing. . . {please don’t take this the wrong way – I’m being silly not sassy or mean}

    We still do the Santa thing & I respect others’ decision not to. I don’t consider it lying. . . but it’s OK if some people think it is. I remember the excitement of Santa & I see that in my children’s eyes. I also found out or figured it out gradually. I’m sorry for those of you who were traumatized by finding out. We also keep Christ in Christmas. That miracle of long ago is the most important part.

    Do those of you who don’t do the Santa thing still do the Tooth Fairy? The reason I ask is I have a neighbor who doesn’t do Santa but they do the Tooth Fairy. I found that interesting. Not for me to judge. I think whatever people decide to do is all fine & good.

    Have a very Happy Holiday!

    Jen Borley´s last blog post…One with the Music

    • Oh, thank goodness – a fellow believer! I think children are more astute than we give them credit for and can distinguish between lies and fantasy.
      Santa is a wonderful and treasured fantasy figure. He brings each child in our house one smallish token gift (in different paper of course). And the answer to the question ‘Is he real?’ Well, that’s not really the question you need to ask. It’s whether it is more fun to believe or not.

  43. Santa is part of the traditions of Christmas for us. Kind of like the Easter Bunny is a part of our traditional Easter. Christ is the focus, but we don’t exclude a little fun. And it is treated as fun. And when the kids come home and tell us they know there is no Santa (Easter Bunny, Toothfairy), we agree…and tell them that if they say it out loud we don’t have to put a Santa gift under the tree anymore! Its all a game. And we never started these traditions ourselves, as parents…our culture did it for us – friends, tv, store advertising – RELATIVES.

    Autumn Frymark´s last blog post…A Christmas to remember?

  44. To me, Santa is real—because he is St. Nicholas. That’s where the tradition comes from though it is hard to see these days. And yes, St. Nicholas is dead, although we believe he is alive in heaven. Growing up in a Christian household, I was sad to find he wasn’t a real person, but I believed strongly in the “spirit of Christmas” and giving that he represented, so I continued “believing”. Now that I’m a convert to the Catholic faith, I’m happy to find that he is/was real and that the spirit of Christmas that I wouldn’t let go of comes from faith in Jesus and the desire to love our neighbors.

    So, in our home now, St. Nicholas fills the stockings (on Dec. 6) and the rest of the presents are from us on Christmas. I don’t make a big deal of Santa at the mall and I repeat endlessly the story of St. Nicholas and his charitable works and how these are his helpers who continue the tradition of gift giving. I also try to emphasize that St. Nick was about helping others rather than giving toys, and we should be thinking more of others than what is on our own lists.

  45. Funny that this should be the question posed today, since I just had an incident with this just yesterday at my 4 year old daughters Pre-K, which is at a church by our house.
    We have always celebrated Christmas as Jesus’ birth, but have included the belief in Santa as well. Santa brings a “big” gift that is unwrapped by the tree and fills the stockings. Growing up this is what we did, and the excitement was something I wanted my kids to experience. With that said, my daughter came home from school and said that she had to tell me something. I said, “ok” and she said, “Michael told our class today that Santa is not real.” I was shocked…but only because the situation was ignored in the class by the teachers. The little boy who made this statement is the son of the preacher at the church and they do not celebrate anything that is not “real”, ie no Santa, elves, reindeer, etc…As teachers at the school they are encouraged not to teach these things either. So my question is, how do I handle this? Do I address the director of the school? I am saddened that my daughter now thinks there is no Santa and she is only 4.

  46. we’ve never emphasized santa as a real person. my kids (twins that are 18, 12-year-old, and a 5-year-old) talk/ed about santa and we just played around with it. nothing serious. this year i read an amazing post from a blog that i adore. this woman always brings me to tears because she is amazing with her words/thoughts. she told about a conversation she had with her little girl. if y ou care to read it, here is the link.


    it’s the december 1st post: santa, revealed.

    merry christmas everyone!

  47. Santa has always been a part of Christmas at our house, but not the main focus. My goal with my daughter is to show her that Christmas is about Jesus, and that He should be our focus year round. I think the idea of Santa is great, and a fun addition to Christmas, as long as it is kept in perspective!

    Autumn´s last blog post…Aloha Friday

  48. We believe in Santa is our home. I grow up with six brothers and sisters and was not disappointed when we found 0ut thru friends that he was not real. It’s a part of Christmas. We also have a baby Jesus in our home and at midnight Christmas eve we rock baby Jesus and welcome him to the world. Parents that chose not to follow should tell their kids not to spoil it for other kids. We will continue the tradition as long as my kids want to believe.

  49. Funny, I just blogged about this today – Jesus vs. Santa. I’ve enjoyed reading through the comments and gaining insight. Everyone has a valid point and I respect other’s beliefs. We feel like there’s not enough room in our home for both Jesus and Santa, but I don’t tell the boys Santa doesn’t exist. I guess I would treat him more as a cartoon and that we focus more on the Jesus version of Christmas.

    mikki roo´s last blog post…why Jesus is better than santa claus

  50. No matter what you do…..respect what others choose to do. If Santa is something you don’t want to do then when teaching your kids teach them manners and kindness and don’t ruin it for those that want to do Santa with their kids.

    My family did Santa when growing up. We also did Advent when hardly anyone else was doing it. There was distinction and differences. Like real life and a movie. Santa was play when we were old enough to ask questions my mom brought us in her room read us a book about the real St. Nick and told us that we were now a part of the fun with the younger kids (7 kids in my family). We got to enjoy and play in the imaginative magic of the season. Not one of us was crushed when we found out, not one of us refused to believe in Jesus we are all Christians and all of us have fond memories of Christmas. My Dad was a hotel manager and he used to get the Santa Costume and come home one night when we were little. It was amazing and so fun. We didn’t know it was him.

    I read a quote in a book talking about Santa and play (I think it was by Elizabeth Elliots Grandfather) Anyhow, he talked about when your child runs through the house on a broom stick and calls it his horse you wouldn’t turn to them and say that is not a horse that is a broom stick….that would be cruel. He likens it the same with Santa….it is play and imagination and if you do that with your kids already there shouldn’t be a problem when they start to ask questions.

    We do Santa simply. He brings one gift that they ask for (they still ask for easy things and we make it clear that Santa can’t give them the world) and we leave cookies out for him. All the rest is from Mom and Dad

    I do totally respect people that choose not to do Santa that is their choice. I just wish that they would explain to their kids that some people do and that they should not talk about it and ruin it for others especially kids under 8!!! When kids are little I still want to play with them and enjoy this time and YES I am offended when others blab and try to ruin it. I have had both Adults and Children Do this…..My middle child was cute cause someone told him Santa wasn’t real and he looked at the kid and said you are not going to get any presents!!!

  51. When my husband and I first had our daughter, we talked about how we would handle holidays like Christmas, Easter, etc when there are “characters” involved…especially as Christians.

    Well our oldest is 2 and with Christmas upon us we knew we may have to address the Santa issue….we decided that we could not exclude Santa completely…since he is everywhere it seems….we have watched Christmas shows with her…especially the Dora, etc specials on Treehouse TV but we have emphasized the reason for Christmas being the birth of Jesus…we read to her from The BeginnersBible Christmas Story Book, have read a number of Usborne Books Bible Story Books (I am a rep so get a great price) and do advent activities with her….

    Next year we plan to read “The Legend of the Candy Cane”, “Santa’s Favorite Story” among other great Christmas books out there….

    We can’t hide Santa per say, but we dont sign gifts from him, and she and her little sister wont get pics done with Santa….we will however teach them that St. Nick was a real man who loved children and helped them have a nice Christmas by giving them gifts!

    shirley rempel´s last blog post…Winter in Southern Alberta

  52. My DH and I don’t have any kids so we’ll deal with it when it comes, but I think we both grew up rather similarly on that point. I personally didn’t understand why people get up in arms over it, it’s a personal thing. My parents didn’t really do much of anything with Santa, we had Santa decorations and ornaments and gifts from “Santa”, but I never really ‘believed’ (except one Christmas where I just kind of played, it had been a rough year). My parents never really talked to me about it, I just always knew it was pretend. I was homeschooled so that made things easier on that end. 😛

  53. it’s interesting that you asked this question because it is one that i have been debating on how much to involve. as for now because my husband and i are the only kids in our respective families that are married we have christmas with one of our families every year. at my husband’s parents santa comes and brings gifts. at my parents we get stockings only.

    just this morning we were discussing what we would like to do within our family so that when we begin to have christmas at our own home there will be no confusion. we have decided that when we have our own christmases that santa will fill stockings, but will not give gifts. i want our children to understand the difference between santa clause and the true meaning of christmas.

    when it comes time to discuss santa with our kids we will make the distinction between santa clause as a fictional character and st. nicholas for whom he is based. we will most likely focus more on st. nicholas and the good he did.

    christy´s last blog post…help!!!!

  54. Oh, and my family didn’t do the Tooth Fairy either. When we lost a tooth we all got to go out for Thrifty ice cream. I’m definitely keeping that tradition!

  55. Interesting thoughts for today!

    My husband is very into Christmas and Santa, and our girls are only 1 and 2, so we hadn’t really thought about it until now.

    I grew up in a family that emphasized Santa, family, gifts, and a little bit of Jesus, so it’s not too surprising that I was so sad when I found out that Santa wasn’t real. When I found out, Christmas did lose a lot of its magic for me and I hadn’t really regained this excitement and magic until last year with my girls.

    Thanks for a very thoughtful discussion – this will give me some ideas to chew on today… since we’re iced in this morning.

    Lindsay´s last blog post…Snow

  56. Growing up, Santa was just for fun. I don’t think my sisters or I ever thought he was real, or confused him with the real meaning of Christmas.

    Now, with my boys, we have a small St. Nicholas celebration on the 6th and talk about the first St. Nicholas. The boys get gold chocolate coins in their shoes.

    Other than that, we don’t make a big deal out of Santa either way. The boys don’t think he is real (I have no desire to go to that amount of trouble), but we don’t avoid him, either. We enjoy watching Miracle on 34th St and other Santa movies.

    Our meaningful traditions are centered around our Christian faith and the birth of Jesus.

    Heidi @ Mt Hope´s last blog post…Descends the Snow

  57. I don’t remember finding out that Santa didn’t actually drive a sleigh, etc., but I DO remember never saying that I didn’t know, so my younger siblings could still believe. I still look over my shoulder when I talk about Santa, just to see who’s listening! My three-year-old believes in Santa- she met him, and sat on his lap, and he gave her a candy cane! That’s real enough for her 🙂 He’s going to come back on Christmas eve, and put ANOTHER candy cane in her stocking. For us, there’s enough magic in that candy cane appearing over night, and the way her eyes shine when she thinks about it, that it’s worth it. We talk about Christ much more than we talk about Santa, though.

    Myrnie´s last blog post…Playing Catch Up

  58. I’m a Christian. And we do Santa to the max! I grew up that way and I can’t imagine not having Santa as a big part of our Christmas tradition.
    Our one “merge” is that we leave our Jesus out of the nativity scene throughout December and then Santa brings him and hides him in the house on Christmas Eve. We “seek” baby Jesus (just as the shepherds and wisemen did) on Christmas morning and have to find him and put him in his manger before we go see what Santa brought for us. Santa usually leaves some clues to tell us where to look. It’s very exciting and the kids seem to anticipate the “search for Jesus” as much as the Santa stuff.

  59. I was just looking at this picture I have of “Santa” with my kids in the mall. My mother thinks that not going to see Santa there just doesn’t make Christmas. So, this picture of my son is hard to look at. He is so upset. He is just so scared. I decided after reading this blog and the comments that I will put away all of these pictures that I have of “Santa” with the kids. I have stopped going to the mall in general but especially not at Christmas time. I think we took my kids to see “Santa” for ourselves and to solidify this lie we have been telling our kids all these years. Over the years I have definately toned down the Santa thing because I think it is just about cosuming which turns my stomach.

  60. THis is a very interesting subject. I grew up believing in Santa and must have come to known he wasn’t real over a period of time since there was no big shock and I wasn’t upset. I was raised catholic and Christmas mass was a million times more important then Santa.

    Today, I am non denominational Christian and have NO CLUE what we will do about this issue. I do know one thing they will know for sure though, Jesus is the reason for the season!

    Lauren´s last blog post…Making Memories Slice

  61. When I was young I loved the excitement and mystery of Santa… by the time I found out he wasn’t real it was okay – I just kept pretending for my younger sisters. To this day I love the magic of the Christmas season – especially the anticipation of Christmas Eve.

    My 2 sons are 17 & 22 now and we did Santa when they were young. Gifts from Santa open under the tree, gifts from Mom & Dad wrapped. I enjoyed the magic with them all over again – it was wonderful!

    In Catholic grade school they wrote letters from Santa and received answers (from their parents). We didn’t feel it was a conflict between Santa and celebrating Jesus’ Birthday – and neither did the school.

    I think childhood needs imagination and magic! My kids LOVED it, and they coped quite well when they learned that Santa was just a “spirit of giving”. Something is lost by everything being literal and considering Santa to be a “lie”.

    Obviously everyone has to do what they think is best for their own family, but it makes me sad to think of tiny kids growing up without ever enjoying the magic and imagination of Santa. Honestly, it never occured to me that some people didn’t “do Santa”.

    Don’t underestimate your kids’ ability to cope with learning that everything is not always what it seems – the ability to cope with change will serve them well later in life.

    To this day, I believe in the “Spirit of Santa” and the joy it brings. I wish everyone that joy for themselves & their kids! 🙂

  62. We believe in Santa and the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny and leprechauns and ghosts and goblins in October. It is all fun and magical and stretching their imagination. I wasn’t crushed when I found out all these things were not real. I wasn’t crushed when I realized that the girl in the Snow White costume at Disney Land wasn’t the real snow white. I think it is all part of growing up and out of the fairy tale stage! We talk about the spirit of giving and our gifts are usually simple and mostly handmade. They get one commercial present from Santa and a stocking and set out the cookies and milk and carrots and we read stories about Santa and his elves.

    It doesn’t bother me when other kids talk to mine about whether he is real or not, in fact listening in to the discussion can be quite entertaining. But when parents take upon themselves to ‘inform’ my kid…man that gets to me. Let them be little and believe what they want!

    Hannah´s last blog post…This That & the Other

  63. We beleive in Santa at our house. Both hubby and I had visits from the jolly old man when we were kids too. Our girls are 15 and 12 now and Santa still comes. Of course, they’ve known for years that Mom & Dad are Santa. I tell them that we all have a Santa — it’s that magical spirit of giving that he represents; something I want them to always have/receive. Santa brings one gift (unwrapped) and the fills the stocking.

    I know many families that don’t do the Santa thing and that’s fine. Every parent makes choices that they deem to be most appropriate for their family and I respect those choices.

    Nancy´s last blog post…I Love a Good Book

  64. Nope. It is simple:

    I buy the gifts.
    I get the credit, not Santa.

    … and /i don’t want to lie to my kids.

    The Acting Mom´s last blog post…Tuesday Turnout

  65. Hmm… this is tricky for us. We are trying to present Santa as a fun game we ‘play’ at Christmas time, to take the focus off him. I don’t really remember Santa being very real to me, ever, but we did get our stockings filled (plus some big, unwrapped things) by Santa, growing up.

    As a child, my neighbors did the Santa thing in a big way, complete with their chimney sweep finding a torn piece of red flannel in their chimney. I do admire that spirit of fun and creativity!

  66. We do not pretend Santa. I really see no need. My kids have a wondeful time at Christmas. They are allowed to watch Santa movies, but they know he is prentend like any other show. We do an advent calendar and try our best to focus on the birth of Jesus. We haven’t had an issue yet with the kids telling other’s but we homeschool, so that might help. Also we don’t put out the kids gifts until they are sleeping on Christmas eve, so they are just excited to see them. They just know they came from mom and dad.

  67. This has been an interesting discussion, and so helpful to me to listen to other people’s insights. I’ve been trying to decide how we’ll handle this next year when our little girl is older. I think I know what we should do now, thanks!

    Rachel´s last blog post…Cancel the Cable for Holiday Peace

  68. It’s all about Jesus, as it is the time that we celebrate His birth. The same happens at Easter when we celebrate the resurection of the Lord, not the Easter bunny. And all through the year, we teach our children about the love of God. Our traditions don’t have anything to do with pretend characters, but they do have to do with family activites.

  69. We do Santa in our house. We don’t spend a lot of time talking to the kids about whether Santa is “real.” They know the standard story about Santa bringing gifts at Christmas and like to visit Santa at the mall or at school and tell him their wish list. They get gifts in their stocking and one thing set out in the open from Santa. Everything else is wrapped and tagged from family and friends. We don’t kill ourselves perpetuating it all. We just keep it easy. We don’t tell a bunch of lies and make it elaborate. I think that’s what gets the kids upset. When our children start asking questions about Santa, then we talk honestly with them. They ask why we do Santa and we tell them that it’s a fun way to treat them at Christmas time. They already know about St. Nicholas and we make sure they know the connection and why we give gifts at Christmas. Then we enlist their help in treating their younger siblings. They are excited to spread a little love and joy and surprise their siblings. It gets their focus off of themselves and onto their siblings.

    The only negative Santa experience we’ve had has been from kids who didn’t do Santa spoiling it for the kids who do and harrassing them for believing in something that only “babies” would believe in. That’s really unfortunate.

    Samantha´s last blog post…Giving Thanks

  70. We do Santa. My kids are 7 and 4. I would like to do away with it, really. As I grow in faith, my perspective changes. My kids do know the real reason we celebrate Christmas , Jesus. My 7 year old knows that it’s Christ mas. I think she will figure out the santa story soon. I think I will also be relieved.

    Paula, Stuff 2b Organized´s last blog post…7 things you may not know about me

  71. Like many of the other commenters, we don’t do Santa here either. That is, we don’t pretend Santa is real. In my experience, playing pretend is just as much fun as reality… in fact, it’s usually more fun to pretend. I don’t see any need to try to convince my children that Santa is ‘real’ to get the fun of him. So actually, when I say we don’t do Santa I should clarify and say we don’t do pretending he’s real. He (a friend’s father dressed up) visits us on Christmas Eve, but the kids know who is under the costume and they think it’s great fun.

    Kim´s last blog post…6 is the age…

  72. I was not raised in an overly religious home, my parents did go to church, but my mother was never happy with any of the churches we went to and she refused to ever return to the Catholic church of her childhood (for her own valid reasons). I was raised to be a bit of a skeptic and to fully research what I believed and to find out for myself what I believed. I was also raised as a relativist and I believe that anyone can worship however they choose and that no one has the right to tell anyone whether they are doing is wrong or not. With that in mind this is how I see Christmas.

    Historically Christmas has been celebrated for reasons other then the birth of Christ since Pre-roman times (circa 500-700BC was the very beginning of the early roman empire). Originally it was an agricultural holiday. In 350 AD Pope Julius the 1st chose Dec 25th as Jesus’s birthday because most people at the time celebrated Winter Solstice and the Christian public was calling for some religious connection to this dark time of year. Christmas was outlawed by the church in the early 17th century because the celebration was too anti-Christian. The public was so upset about canceling Christmas that they overthrew the theocracy and re installed a monarchy with Charles the 2nd. Early American religious separatists at Plymouth Rock did not celebrate Christmas because of the same belief that Christmas was a pagan holiday. Christmas was even outlawed in Boston and people were fined for showing the Christmas spirit. Many Americans didnt celebrate Christmas as a religious or secular holiday officially until 1870 when it was declared a national holiday (it didnt really even catch on full steam until almost 1900).

    I am not Christian although I appreciate and accept the reality of Jesus’s life, I do not believe he was born at Christmas. After growing up around farms I must admit that shepherds are not out with their flock in the dead of winter, in any part of the world. I do celebrate the Winter Solstice as it is a celebration of winter and the coming of the sun. (Solstice day is the longest night of the year, from this day forward the days are growing longer and the nights shorter). We also celebrate Dec 25th as a secular holiday which is when Santa comes traditionally in the US.

    As for Santa…
    The first written record of Nicholas was in 280AD in modern day Turkey. Over time he became St. Nicholas and was the most popular saint for hundreds of years. Santa Claus was brought to America by Dutch immigrants around 1770. Washington Irving popularized Santa Claus with his writings in 1809 which called Sinter Klaus the patron saint of New York and in 1822, Clement Clarke Moore, an Episcopal minister wrote Twas the Night Before Christmas inventing the idea of the sleigh, the reindeer and Santa going down the chimney.

    I was taught that the Spirit of Santa is real and that parents and all adults are responsible for passing the spirit of Santa and the idea of selfless giving to others, especially children. When we were old enough to realize that Santa doesn’t come down the chimney we were old enough to learn that the Spirit of Santa touches everyone every year. Santa definitely touched my family last year when I had no money for gifts and somehow miraculously we ended up with a fabulous Christmas that I credit Santa for. So yes I believe in Santa and that he can affect our lives just as Jesus can.

    Generally when the kids in my family learn that Santa doesnt really come down the chimney they are initiated into the adult responsibility of spreading the Christmas spirit of Santa to children younger then them. They help wrap presents, put them under the tree and eat the cookies all while staying up late helping the adults. This gives them a new view on Christmas and as they get older they learn more about how Santa can touch all our lives, children and adult.

    Melissa´s last blog post…US Forces Independant Toymakers out of Business!

  73. Santa does visit our home. When I was a child Santa didn’t come, and I really felt like I missed out. So we decided to do Santa with our son because I wanted to include that element of magic in our holiday celebration. I don’t know “how” real he is. I think our son thinks he’s totally real. However, he won’t go sit on his lap at the mall. He finds that upsetting. He knows the mall Santas aren’t the real Santas. We told him that up front.

    Heidi´s last blog post…What would you do?

  74. I am so glad you posed this question. We are in the midst of trying to decide how to handle Santa … since our oldest is 3 years old. I’ve enjoyed reading the comments and opinions. With that said, I never remember believing in Santa as a child… probably b/c I had two older brothers who “broke” the news early on. I don’t think that I missed out on any Christmas “majic.” As a Christian, I believe that the Gospel and Christ’s birth should be taught to our children and celebrated throughout the year … not just at Christmas. So, having Santa at Christmas will probably not affect their faith or understanding of Christ. I’ve never met someone who said they didn’t trust Christ b/c they believed in Santa instead. However, I don’t think it’s good to give Santa God-like qualities … such as sovereignty. I will ponder this more.

  75. I agree with Melissa, in total.

  76. It is a question that continues to be asked, but I always liked this letter: http://www.newseum.org/yesvirginia/ .
    “He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. “

    • Thanks Carrie… Now I know what my mom meant by “as long as there is love, there is a Santa.” That is what she told me when I asked if he was real or not. It always made sense to me, I never questioned it and was never crushed.

  77. My middle daughter – 7 told me there is no such thing as santa on afternoon recently when we were buying a birthday present. She asked me, is santa real?
    I told her this: Does christmas feel better if santa were real? Do you want to believe that santa drives a sleigh pulled by reindeer delivering presents to lots of girls and boys? She thought about it and said, I guess so. We haven’t talked about it since.
    But we were getting ready to donate some gifts of toys to children who live in disadvantaged parts of the world and my kids asked why they didn’t deserve to have santa? I was stumped with that one. I couldn’t answer that.

  78. We don’t have Santa in our house for the very reason that he isn’t real. We don’t wish to teach our children that lies are okay at some times and not at others. Jesus said we would know the truth and the truth would set us free. (John 8:32) Free from what? Why the traditions and hardships imposed on them by false beliefs and so called religious ‘truths’ that abounded in his time, no matter how genuinely people thought they were real. Unless something is from the true God it should be rejected. Jesus also said that if we took his yoke it would be kindly and light and we would find refreshment for our souls. (Mattew 11:28-30) Is that what Christmas is for most – a refreshing time? As I read peoples blogs I see that for most it is a stressful burden, trying to keep up traditions based on non Biblical teachings; buying or desperately making presents with love or out of a sense of obligation (let’s be honest) that will often be received begrudgingly; spending money or time and effort that could be better spent with your little families enjoying the truths of life. Many people enjoy the actual day but for many others it is a time that emphasises the terrors of their lives – battered women, homeless people, kids taken by taxi somewhere else because the family problem is too large for them or the family is too drunk. These are the truths for most people yet they would be free from these if following Jesus was the true tradition in their lives.

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  79. We believe in Santa Claus, and St. Nicholas does visit our house too. I was raised in a strong religious family, and I don’t remember feeling betrayed by my parents or having my faith shook when I figured it out. Kids are kids for such a short amount of time, especially in this day and age. But each family is different, and different things work for them.

    Every year during advent, we are secret Santa’s for a homeless shelter, “adopting” someone to help with a gift donation or a toys for tots program. I also encourage my son to save a portion of his allowance and then donate it to our Church. I match what ever he saves or raises, and it goes to our sister parish in Haiti where soul crushing poverty is the norm. He really enjoys knowing his allowance is making a difference in the life of a family during this special season of hope.

  80. My first husband insisted that we not tell our children that Santa was real but I grew up in a family where everyone said he was. So when my children asked me I talked to them about all of the people and heroes that we’ve heard about in our lives such as Superman, Moses, Abraham Lincoln, Smokey the Bear, etc. I told them that although some of our heroes are real people and some are characters that are fun to believe in, most of them don’t live during our lifetime anyway and so we must always decide which are real and which are just based on real people or fun things to believe in.

    I know that Saint Nickolas was a real saint and so he did exist. Is he magic? Does he still exist? Is he what everyone says he is? I’m really not sure. We all have to decide if magic is real for us personally. Just like we all must decide if God is real and everything that people say he is. And so, if you want to believe in God, or in Santa, or in magic, that is something you decide to do.

    None of my 6 children have ever been disappointed to learn there is “no real Santa” because some of them, and the youngest is 11, still believe he exists somewhere…for underpriveldged families, for those children who don’t have Christmas, for those who need him most. And although I think we should be careful how it’s presented, Santa is more than a personage with gifts, he’s hope. That’s not a bad thing to believe in.

  81. We go with Father Christmas since C.S. Lewis used him in the Narnia chronicles. We don’t say he’s not real but we don’t emphasize his existence either. I think at least every Christian parent should chew on this.

  82. I haven’t read all these comments, so I just say that one day, to my surprise, my 3 year old came home believing in Santa. I had never told her about him, particularly because she was afraid of men with beards, but I did like having Christmas surprises, so I’ve gone along with it, though when she asks me directly I tell her the truth. A friend told her flat out when she was 5 that there was no Santa, Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy, that it was the parents who did everything. She later asked me if it were true, and I said it was. A few days later, she told me that she didn’t believe what her friend said. She has since told me that she knows that there is no Santa, but she still wants to believe in him. This Christmas she is 7. There will be surprise presents, and mama presents (which are handmade and very nice). Santa is part of the magic of Christmas for her, and I feel that it is not my place to either burst her bubble or build it up too much. So I balance, and support, and am there for if she is disappointed, like so many of the other parts of parenting.

  83. In response to the “facts” presented against Christmas as a Christian holiday, I humbly submit this and this.

    • Those websites that were posted about the facts of Christmas by Myrrh were religious sites. I recommend looking at a non denominational, non religious affiliated site like history.com. Anyone can write about their rendition of the “facts” of Christmas, what they cannot provide is any written proof other then their own religious text.

      • Everyone has a worldview, whether or not they subscribe to a particular religion. We all start with assumptions and philosophies which are a lens through which we research and interpret “facts.” The best way to research something like this is to have a diversity of sources, not to eliminate a whole body of evidence because of your bias/prejudice. There are Christians who come down on both sides of Christmas, so the argument that they (as though they were a homogenous group) will only show evidence in favor of one view is totally invalid. Also, it’s clear you didn’t read the information presented in either of the articles I linked, since it is not all in agreement, nor all favorable to what you what assume Christians would want to believe.

        • Melissa, if you’re still there (or anyone else interested in the origins of Christmas), I think this author (not a Christian) captures the essence of some of what I was trying to say in this New York Times Op-Ed It’s a Narnia Christmas.

  84. In our home, we don’t encourage belief in Santa, but I don’t make a big deal about it if the kids want to pretend he is ‘real’. All the kids know he is just pretend and that we aren’t to spoil it for the other people who want to pretend.

    When our first child was little (she’s 14yo now), every single time Santa was mentioned, I would remind her that he was just pretend, that it was Jesus’ birthday, etc. I would be mad any time someone asked her if she was excited about Santa coming. I was a little high strung in the old days. 😉 Nowdays, we are very clear that Santa is pretend, but we really don’t make an issue out of it at all and neither do the kids. If some nice person happens to ask me if the kids are excited about Santa, I don’t go on about how we don’t ‘do Santa’, I just smile and tell them the kids are very excited about Christmas. 🙂

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  85. My oldest is 2 and this has been a great discussion for me to read. Thank you all for your thoughts and ideas. I have plucked a few morsels here and there to add to my family traditions with my girls.

    My husband was crushed at “the news” and doesn’t want to hurt our girls by a false truth. I, on the other hand, loved Santa and tell my mom each year that I still believe – now she signs gifts from Jackie Claus instead!

    So, here we are married with different experiences and children of our own. This is an ongoing discussion for us, but I’m so glad to have this year to “practice” since my oldest has no clue yet. We are not going to convince them that Santa is real, but I like the idea of an ongoing game of make believe. I love the simplicity of leaving a candy cane. I don’t like the man at the mall. And, thank you all for your book ideas as well.

    Merry Christmas!

    Brownie´s last blog post…Children’s Christmas Books

  86. I’m not sure why parents think it’s ok to not be honest with your kids about Santa. It’s fine (IMHO) to talk about them as pretend characters like the ones on TV and such – but many folks have mentioned the real disappointment they felt when they found out the “truth”. I just think any kind of lying is a bad precedent to set with your kids.

  87. My husband’s family ‘did’ Santa in a BIG way. The stories…presents…the whole thing. Hubby actually believed in Santa until he was in 5th grade.

    When our children started to come along 18 years ago we decided on a no santa policy. We told the children about Saint Nicholas and who he really was, but no Santa Claus.

    We tried hard not to be preachy to others about our no santa policy and the kids used to answer well wishing folks-“we don’t believe in Santa, we believe in Saint Nicholas.” I am sure we handled it wrong at times though…

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  88. Jessica G. says:

    So many great responses! Thanks, Tsh, for hosting this… This topic has been raised several times between my husband and I. We have no lil ones yet, but plan to soon and we often talk through how they will be raised… Like what to keep from our own upbringings, and what to leave behind. At this point, we see quite differently on the issue of “Santa.”

    Ever the skeptical and curious child, I found out early on with my own two eyes that Santa was not real, though my parents did pretty well at keeping up the game. I continued to keep up the ruse for my little brother and it was just so fun. As far back as I can recall, Jesus was always the main point at Christmas. Santa was just a bit of fairytale fun–like the stories we read at bedtime. My parents loved to ignite our imaginations, and Christmas was not the only time of year that they did so. My husband’s experience was quite different. His parents were adamant that they knew the “Truth” about Santa as early as they could understand. They had the right desire to keep Jesus central. His parents wanted nothing to do with “Santa” until the boys were both out of highschool, then my MIL changed her tune. His mom now decorates with Santa and is teasingly called a “hypocrite” by her sons (who still hate Santa). My husband admits that he and his brother made fun of and looked down at kids that believed in Santa (and quickly adds now that that is wrong behavior!).
    I think that it is important to handle this issue intentionally, and withhold judgment. It deserves a well-thought discussion. Children parrot whatever their parents do and say. The little dears are literally your family representatives to the world :). Regardless of what my husband and I decide to “do with Santa,” we do desire that our kids are kind and understanding, quick to show love, and speak Truth with humility. What a tough job that will be!

  89. We are raising our kids overseas and the culture we live in has NO idea what Christmas is. All it is to them is the tree and Santa. Because of this we make sure we don’t have Santa in our house to just feed their misconceptions. However because we do have tck’s (third culture kids) we want them to know who Santa is… we don’t want them to be ignorant of this very big part of their home country. So our kids know what he looks like and we read about him, but to my kids he is just a character… nothing more. We do have stockings, but they just know that on Christmas morning, mommy will put some fun little presents in there.
    We did Santa at my house growing up, but we never had gifts from Santa. My parents didn’t have too much money and my mom always said she wanted the gifts to be from her and not Santa since they couldn’t get very much! My husband’s family did not do Santa.

  90. we have aged out of santa just this year.
    he existed for my children because it was such a precious childhood memory of mine, but we told the girls he was a kindly person who helped out Jesus by making little kids happy. we talked about department store santas, who were just more helpers because santa was busy at the North Pole and plus you couldn’t get to see him……..he was MAGIC. we made sure they knew about commercialism and greed and children of entitlement and all of that as well, and of course, that the entire season was to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. now we are adding in the giving back by getting involved at our local old age home and upping our charitable donations and decreasing the gifts we give the girls.

  91. I just have to share this story about my brothers. The younger was always very precocious and when he finally was old enough to hear from kids at school that Santa might not be real, he came home one day and asked my dad if he was. My dad went into a very elaborate explanation on how Santa was really the spirit of Christmas. At the end of it, he told my brother, ” But don’t tell Damon (the older brother) because he still believes Santa is real.” No sooner does Damon walk in the door than my brother says to him, “Damon, Santa isn’t real, he’s just a ghost.” Somehow the message wasn’t quite translated. :>)

    I can’t remember ever really believing in Santa but it was fun to have gifts from others with the tag signed by him. But I always knew who they were from. I think my mother told me. We will probably tell our children that some children believe in Santa but that he’s just pretend. I think that’s what my parents did.

  92. I’m not exactly sure how we’ll be handling this in the future, but it probably won’t be as intense as it was when I was a little kid who believe way past an age when it was obviously a farce.
    I think that if my child asks I will tell the truth, but I also think it will never be built up to be a big huge deal in the first place either.

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  93. At our house, we celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6th. We hang stockings on the evening of the 5th, and then in the morning we read a story about St. Nicholas and open the stockings. This year, our oldest (who’s just 3 1/2) asked us if we put presents in her stocking. We weren’t really prepared for that and didn’t know what to say. But I think if she asks again next year, I’d like to tell her that it’s part of the tradition of St. Nicholas to do nice things for other people anonymously, and leave it at that. (I have a friend who’s told her kids that “Santa” can be anyone who wants to do something nice for someone else without being noticed.) I like doing St. Nicholas Day because it feels to us like a great way to begin the Christmas season, we don’t feel like we’re cheating our kids out of a tradition in the popular culture, and it leaves us the rest of the month to focus on Christ. We definitely don’t have anything against Santa, and we’ll see what happens as the kids get older – for now, though, this just feels more like “us”.

  94. Santa’s real enough to my kids, but he gets credit mostly for stocking stuffing and giving clothes. I like to get credit for giving the fun stuff!

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  95. Interesting question. We had the tree, the decorations, the lights & the gifts, but from the we let our two sons know that Christmas was for celebrating the birth of Jesus (although it’s not known when he was really born.)

    They watched the movies and the TV shows with Santa Claus and elves, but we didn’t make a big deal about the whole subject. We kind of quietly let the idea be. As they got older we discussed it a little more, but still keeping it all rather low key.

    Now, that they’re young men in their early 20’s, and our traditions about Christmas have gotten simpler and simpler — the meaning of Christmas has gotten sweeter and sweeter…

    ~ a merry little Christmas ~ with a few favorite things…

  96. My son is just turning a year old, so I haven’t had to make this decision – yet. I am honestly not sure what I am going to do. But when I think back to being a little girl and the FEELING I had at christmas time, the excitement and mystery of Santa, the way it made my imagination run wild and allowed me to believe in fantastic things, well, I can’t imagine my son not having that experience. Until more recently practically all kids believed in Santa, and it didn’t seem to destroy their sense of trust in their parents nor did it seem to destroy their relationship with Christianity, as evidenced by my parent’s generation. Santa is just such a fun thing for a child – it would be hard for me to pass up that experience with my son.

    Lucie @ Unconventional Origins´s last blog post…Unconventional Origin’s Guide to Your Baby’s First Birthday.

  97. My husband can’t bring himself to tell my kids that Santa is real. He says he feels like he’s lying to the kids. So, though I’d love for them to live in fairy land awhile (I have wonderful memories of Santa from my childhood), I can’t disrespect my husband’s feelings on the subject. Our “Santa Policy” is a compromise. He wanted NOTHING of Santa in the house, while I didn’t see the harm. So, we met in the middle.

    Santa Claus doesn’t come to our house, and my kids know that he is “just pretend,” and that it’s fine with us if they play as though Santa is real. I picked up a board book a couple years ago that tells the basic story of St. Nicholas, which I read often to them.

    We’ve basically decided to teach them why Santa Claus is such a big deal. We basically teach them that Santa Claus represents generosity and love, based on the kindness of the REAL St. Nicholas, and that we can honor his memory, as well as honor God, by following his example and giving to those who are much less fortunate than we are.

    We also teach our kids NEVER to tell other children that he isn’t real. We told them that it’s perfectly acceptable to pretend along with their friends, and enjoy the make-believe.

    And it works for us. 🙂

    One of my kids asked if St. Nicholas was in Heaven. I told him “yes.” He got excited and said that he couldn’t wait to meet him someday. I would have to agree. 🙂

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  98. I did not grow up with Santa. My mom knew a lady one year that wasn’t able to buy gifts or anything for her children. That woman’s daughter was heartbroken that year because she’d been such a good girl all year but Santa didn’t bring her anything. My parents did not want to have that experience with us, so they told us the truth. And told us that some people make different choices for their families and not to spoil it for anyone.

    With my family we don’t do Santa or the Easter bunny because it’s not the true purpose of the holiday. My oldest son is only 2.5 but he already knows that Christmas is a time that we celebrate the birth of Jesus. In fact his speech in our church’s Christmas play is “Happy Birthday Jesus”. We aren’t able to afford gifts this year so I’m glad that we’ve chosen to focus our traditions on Christ and being charitable.

    Of course I catch flak from everywhere. My in-laws are alway confused. I’m told that I’m ruining their childhood. My SIL says “Oh so you just don’t make a big deal about presents then?” It’s frustrating and a little saddening that so much of the focus has been placed on material things. But to each his own.

  99. We probably won’t teach our son to believe in Santa, but I came across this funny letter to Santa that seemed appropriate for moms everywhere…

    “Dear Santa,
    I’ve been a good mom all year. I’ve fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited thIER doctor’s office more than my own doctor, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground. I was hoping you could spread my list out — over several Christmases.

    Since I had to write this letter with my son’s red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles; and who knows when I’ll find any more free time in the next 18 years, so now – –

    *** Here are my Christmas wishes ***

    * I’d like a pair of legs that don’t ache (-in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don’t hurt or flap in the breeze; but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store.

    * I’d also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

    * If you’re hauling big-ticket items this year, I’d like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music; a television that doesn’t broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

    * On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, ‘Yes, Mommy’ to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don’t fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.

    * I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting, ‘Don’t eat in the living room’ and ‘Take your hands off your brother,’ because my voice seems to be just out of my children’s hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

    * If it’s too late to find any of these products, I’d settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

    *If you don’t mind, I could also use a few miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely.

    *It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

    Well, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing, and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his red crayon back. Have a safe trip Santa, and remember to leave your wet boots by the door, and come in and dry off, so you don’t catch cold. Help yourself to cookies on the table, but don’t eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.
    Yours always with love and appreciation,


    P.S. One more thing . . You can cancel all my requests, if you can keep my children ‘young’ enough to believe in Santa.”

  100. The spirit of Santa is real in our house. Santa leaves our kids two presents, he fills stockings and eats cookies, but he always checks with mom and dad on what are the best gifts to give the kids. Mom and dad have to ok the purchase and help santa financially since Santa has to get gifts to lots of girls and boys. I have no problem keeping the Spirit of Santa alive in my kids until they start asking questions, then they will most likely do like we have done. Santa makes Christmas fun, yet for us it’s always about the Birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior