We walked into a store a few weeks ago and the clerk asked my kids what they'd be getting from Santa Claus, and my four year old loudly proclaimed, "Santa's pretend!" I've written before about why we don't do the Santa game but I got this question from my contact me page and thought it might be interesting to address this aspect of our stance. I share my thoughts below and would love to know yours in the comment section as well:
Hi! I am doing some research on a no Santa Christmas. I don't have children yet, but would like to be prepared, and I'm looking into how I want to raise my children now, so I'm prepared. I'm curious, how do you handle your children speaking to other children? Do you tell them not to tell their friends that Santa is fake? Or are all of your friends raising their children the same way? Any, and all suggestions would be appreciated!
Merry Christmas! ~Jessica
My husband and I have chosen not to play the "Santa game" in our house for 2 reasons. The first reason is that there is almost no way you can give presents to your children from Santa without lying. My kids know Santa is pretend just like Elmo, Dora, and Daniel Tiger are pretend. They also know that people like to play dress up this time of year in Santa costumes, and that there are fun stories about Santa. It is very important to my husband and I that our kids know Santa stories are pretend and fun, but the story of Jesus is true and brings TRUE everlasting joy. We don't ban Santa stories in our home, we just tell our kids the truth about them.
With that in mind, we're not going to ask our kids to lie or tell half truths when it comes to Santa Claus to their friends or family. Why in the world should I encourage them to hide the truth? If we encourage our children to hide the truth on something like Santa just because a friend believes differently, we are training them to do the same thing with the Gospel when they get older.
The world teaches we should hide our beliefs if someone believes differently. I want to teach my children to share their beliefs ESPECIALLY if someone believes differently. In love of course, but I want them to evangelize none the less. Telling my kids to tell half truths and keep the "secret" about Santa is exactly opposite of what I will want them to do when they're older.
I'm not advocating for my kids to spill the beans to every kid they see about Santa. But I will not tell them to keep Santa a secret from anyone either. Another aspect of this is I don't want to advocate my kids telling half truth's in any way shape or form. A half truth about Santa might be harmless but what about when they're a teenager and you ask them what they'll be doing and who they'll be with. Do you really want them trained to tell half truth's then?
With that being said this is a little easier for us because we plan to home school and my extended family knows our stand on Santa already so they can tell their kids whatever they want in preparation. So long story short: I'm not going to tell my kids Santa is a big secret that they need to lie about but I won't be encouraging them to tell half truth's either.
Most kids trust their mother and father more than they do their friends and will keep believing in Santa even if another child spills the beans so I'm not too worried about angry parents if my children innocently tell another child the truth.
And finally, aside from lying, the second reason why we don't play the Santa game with our kids is right around the same time kids stop believing in Santa is when they start choosing their faith for themselves. So we tell our kids, "Santa's pretend even though we've been telling you he's real for the past 10 years. God on the other hand is real, definitely real, we're not lying to you about this one."
I'd love to know how you answer this readers question. Feel free to disagree with me, just be nice about it.