Naughty or Nice; I’m Thinking Twice

Without a doubt, Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love the parties, family gatherings, presents, food, and, of course, most importantly, to celebrate the birth of my Savoir, Jesus. There are, however, a few things I have been struggling with this holiday season as it relates to how my family will celebrate Christmas this year. No, I’m not talking about the family members you would rather not see or the presents you really don’t want, or even the yummy food you know you are going to stuff yourself with until you are miserable. I know this is going to sound crazy to some, but what has me uneasy this Christmas, is none other than jolly old Santa, his Elf on the Shelf, the reindeer, and Mrs. Clause too!

There I said it, and NO, you didn’t read that wrong. I really am confused if I should or shouldn’t be telling my 2 and 3 year old about a man that doesn’t really exist. Take for instance, the song, “Santa Clause is Coming to Town.” Here is how I hear it now…

You better not pout

You better not cry

You better not pout

I’ll TELL YOU A LIE

Santa Clause is coming to town. 

I believed in Santa when I was little. I can clearly remember being excited on Christmas Eve waiting for him to come. I honestly don’t know at what age I quit believing or how I found out he wasn’t real. That leaves me to believe, it must not have been real traumatic. However, for some reason, I feel like I am misleading my kids, and I hate to think that they will be upset when they find out Santa does not really have a naughty or nice list and that he isn’t delivering presents to all the good boys and girls all over the world in one night. It kind of makes my heart sad.

Maybe I am going a bit overboard. I know we have probably all told our kids some “little white lies.” I mean, I do remember being told if I ate a watermelon seed I would grow a watermelon in my tummy or if I didn’t brush my teeth they would all fall out?! I’m sure there is some truth to that last one, but those are somewhat lighthearted, so why does this Santa issue have me so stressed out?

There are a few reasons why I feel torn with Papa Noel. First, I don’t want my kids to think I lied to them. I definitely don’t want to hurt them, and I never want them to wonder what else has mom deceived me with? Now here is the BIG reason: I want my kids to know, believe and have a relationship with Jesus. Basically, I guess what I’m trying to say is, how can I expect my kids to believe in Jesus (who they cannot see) when they can see, talk and sit on Santa’s lap, and then one day discover he is NOT real?

I would be lying if I said I don’t want my kids to feel that same excitement I had on Christmas Eve and joy on Christmas day as they open their presents from Santa. My husband and I discussed how I was feeling and he said, “We are not telling the kids Santa isn’t real, one day they will find out and we will go from there.” So with that being said, we will wait for Santa on Christmas Eve and wake up Christmas day and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus before we open presents from Santa.

What are your thoughts as it relates to Santa and his crew at the North Pole?

17 Responses to Naughty or Nice; I’m Thinking Twice

  1. Andie December 18, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Janie, this is something that I struggle with too. I remember seeing a letter a parent wrote to their child somewhere about Santa, and I wish I had a link to it to share with you because it was a really great way to explain.

    • Janie December 18, 2013 at 11:12 am #

      Thank you Andie, I’m glad to know I’m not alone in this situation. I actually think I have that letter you are referring to on a board in Pinterest. Check this out to see if this is the same letter. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/235242780507841395/

  2. Carrie December 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    The best way for us to keep Jesus in Christmas, over Santa, is to be active in your church, right? Our church has given out Advent calendars so each day we we open a window and read a little sentence about the Mary and Joseph story. They helped decorate the tree at church, they see the manger scene at church every Sunday, and we are doing a living nativity this Friday night.

    I don’t talk about Santa too much, but I also don’t say he’s NOT real. Lately I’ve heard to just say “Santa is the spirit of giving” which is what I think I’ll say when my kids start asking. If they start asking how Santa flies, etc., I think I can pull it off saying that I don’t know… What do you think…. sort of stuff. I mean how am I supposed to know that stuff? I guess in some versions, moms can talk to Santa, but I’ll just say that I’m not one of those moms, I guess because I don’t know his number. (but I admit in desperate times I have threatened that Santa doesn’t like them to be misbehave… I need to stop doing that, because it doesn’t really work anyway.)

    I won’t do the Elf though, I have a hard enough time lying about Santa.

    Thanks for a great post!

    • Janie December 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

      Carrie, so true about being actively involved in the church. What great ideas about how to keep Christ in Christmas. I love the idea of a live Nativity, wish I could see the one at your church. Thanks for all the feedback and positive comments.

  3. Ashley December 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    This is a great post, Janie. For me, I think we weave in as much of the biblical meaning of Christmas while still enjoying the commercial Santa stuff as well … we are doing the Jesse Tree project through Church (look into it – Courtney is leading it, and it is awesome). I love the devotional The Journey for advent, and giving back is another way. We have the Fisher Price nativity scene and talk about how Christmas is Jesus’ birthday, and we have a great board book called “What is Christmas” and a few others. I feel like all of that outweighs the jolly old man – I think he’s a harmless tradition that’s just fun for kids.

    • Janie December 20, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

      Thanks Ashley, I will certainly look into the Jesse Tree Project and the “What is Christmas” book, (both I have never head of). I was really torn before I wrote this post, but actually all the feedback has helped me feel better and not so uneasy about Santa.

  4. Angelina December 18, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    I remember being so upset when I found out my parents “lied” to me and swore I wouldn’t let me kids believe in Santa. Yet here I am, going along with it. Instead of using Santa for good behavior though, I’ve been saying Jesus would be dissapointed if Jude makes a ‘sad choice’. His school and the kids talk about Santa and Jesus, so I’m going with it until he asks otherwise about Santa. Jesus will always be real.

    • Janie December 20, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

      Thanks Angelina, I have come to realize through writing this post many moms seem to be a little uneasy with what to tell their kids about Santa. I love how you fall back on Jesus instead of Santa to reinforce good behavior with Jude and you are right, Jesus will always be real!

  5. Myndee December 18, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    I totally understand your feelings on this! We skipped telling them, and I wrote a whole post on why: http://randommyn.com/the-case-against-santa-claus/. So far, so good. We celebrate the magic of Christmas, my kids know all about st. Nick, and I feel like I’ve never once said, “Santa’s not real”, so I don’t worry about them ruining it for anyone else. :)

    • Janie December 20, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

      Myndee, funny you mentioned the “not ruining that Santa isn’t real for anyone else” becuase that was one of my concerns also. Great post, thanks for being able to relate!

  6. Megan B. C. December 18, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

    Our daughters are 19 months and 2 months and I’ve been struggling with the same thing. I don’t want them to miss out on the fun of the elf, Santa, and reindeer, but I want them to know the real reason for Christmas. We have come up with a few things. First one I got from Issues & Faith, our elf reports to Santa who reports to Jesus. Second, our girls each get three presents from Santa, just like Jesus got from the three wise men. Then, we each give them a present and they have their stockings. Third, we are going to up play St. Nicholas and his feast day and kind of downplay Santa. We are also planning on making a Jesse Tree next year when the kids understand more and we can ready the Bible stories that go along. We have an advent wreath on the kitchen table that gets lit during dinner. I think it’s important my children believe in the spirit of Chrostmas and Santa Clause is a part of that. He is real within us and how we share that spirit with others. Merry Christmas!!

    • Janie December 20, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

      Megan, I was kind of scared to write this post, fearful of the feedback, however, it seems from the comments here and on my facebook page that MANY moms have the same concern. We are doing the exact same thing with the three presents per kid because of the three wise mens gifts to Jesus. You are the second person to mention the Jesse tree, will be looking into that for next year. I think you are doing wonderful things to make sure you keep Christ in Christmas. Thanks so much for reading and your feedback.

  7. Eve December 18, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

    I know exactly what you mean. I’m a Christian and the life and death of Jesus is something so precious to me. I have had a hard time with a lot of the traditions associated with Christmas and Easter that I had to really sit down and do some serious research. I’ve prayed a lot and one scripture that kept coming to mind was Jesus’ own words at John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” There is so much about Christmas that isn’t true, it just makes me wonder if Jesus wants us to honor him that way. I know so much has been christianized by the Church, but when the Israelites took something pagan and tried to turn it into a festival for God, he rejected it. It really makes me wonder if he’s rejecting all of this, too.

  8. Eve December 18, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

    I’m a Christian and the life and death of Jesus is something so precious to me. I have had a hard time with a lot of the traditions associated with Christmas and Easter that I had to really sit down and do some serious research. I’ve prayed a lot and one scripture that kept coming to mind was Jesus’ own words at John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” There is so much about Christmas that isn’t true, it just makes me wonder if Jesus wants us to honor him that way. I know so much has been christianized by the Church, but when the Israelites took something pagan and tried to turn it into a festival for God, he rejected it. It really makes me wonder if he’s rejecting all of this, too.

    • Janie December 20, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

      Thanks Eve, I almost threw the Easter Bunny into this post as well. This is a very tough topic to decipher. So many people have different opinions of Santa (fun, magical, harmless, fake, deceiving, etc.). I think by relying on prayer and scripture you are doing the right thing and it will lead you to feel at ease with your decision. Thanks so much for reading and your feedback.

  9. Rebecca December 20, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

    I’m have finally committed to what I want to do with this whole Santa thing! I don’t want to “lie” to my kids(apparently I’m still emotionally scarred from when I learned the truth about Santa) but I don’t want them to miss the magic of Christmas or ruin anyone else’s fun.
    I decide to go back to the roots if Santa , Saint Nicolas. I’ve been telling the kids a new legend of saint Nicolas every weeks and my little elves have gotten busy helping prepare crafty gifts for family and friends. They are having a ball! I told them the history of stockings today so they get to decorate and hang their own.
    I think you could always use the history and the spirit of Good Ole Saint Nick because he gave to and protected those in need all because he followed the teachings of scripture.
    Also Meagan, thanks for sharing those other great ideas! We will incorporate some of those ideas into our own family traditions

  10. Jill May October 8, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    Oh my gosh – I struggle with this too! I have a 4 year old and an 18 month old and both are ultimately clueless about the Big Guy and we’ve never had any creepy elves showing up in different places. But I wonder if I’m depriving them or sparing them?
    I am a Christian and I saw the question posed somewhere in a non-religious setting (before having kids) regarding a parent’s credibility when they tell their kids that Santa is real, and the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny and Jesus is real too – even though, the kids can’t see any of those beings. But then the kids grow up and realize that there is no Santa or Tooth Fairy or Easter Bunny, but I’m supposed to believe my folks when they insist that God is real and Jesus is real? Apparently, some kids actually struggle with these beliefs after being “misled” initially by their folks about the other “real” beings…. I didn’t struggle with it; what ever my parents said, I believed even when they changed their stories …. but I can see how some (uber intelligent, more intelligent than me!) could/would. I’m still torn…. am anxious to see how other folks handle. By the way, my husband is of the opposite belief as me – he says we’ll rob them of an otherwise perfect childhood if we don’t include the make believe holiday characters….

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