Friday, November 25, 2011

Why We Killed Santa Claus

Last Christmas as the kids and I positioned our decorations about the house, I found some old lettered blocks that spell out  S A N T A and placed them on the piano.  In my haste, I laid the blocks out incorrectly and instead of spelling S A N T A, spelled S A T A N.  

Surprisingly, I had never noticed these five letters could spell both.  Ironically, I am also not surprised. 

I mused how our cherished, jovial, fat man in the red suit could ever be likened to a sinister like Satan. 

Santa is who we tell our children to behave for - because he's watching.  His magic snowball reveals what the little ones are doing when the parents aren't looking.  He sees us when we're sleeping.  He knows when we're awake. 

Santa got our time in long lines and an annual bedtime ritual involving cookies.  Santa became the recipient of the apologies for my children's transgressions because good ole Saint Nick had the distinct privilege of being the sole present provider.  Kids know that you have to keep the guy who brings the presents happy.

As my husband and and I took a step back to examine how Satan - I mean Santa- hijacked our Christmas, we came to the bleak realization that we put him there.  We allowed Santa to totally trump Jesus.  You know that guy - the less glamorous one?  The one who definitely never wore a suit or jumped down chimneys.  The reason for the season. 

After a long sigh and some confession, I began to mull over that less glorious idol and its place in my children's lives called the Easter Bunny.  I had to wonder what have we presented to our kids? 

We've spent so much time explaining to these girls why Jesus should hold first place in their lives yet introduced and celebrated icons at the two most significant and sacred seasons.  We've taught them God is almighty and powerful and only he can see all and know all - oh wait - except for Santa - he can too!

Sure we made Jesus a cake and sang him Happy Birthday only to revert back to this obsession with a fictitious fellow who brings presents on Christmas morning. 

And while we really have nothing against Santa or the Easter Bunny we just can't have our Jesus ever take a back seat to either one of them -not even for a few weeks out of the year.  Especially not during those few weeks of the year. 

So after some serious deliberation, my husband and I decided it was time to pull back the curtain and re-focus our children.  But no matter how I tried, I just couldn't pull the plug.  I wondered if I was robbing my girls of a critical element of their childhood.  My husband outlined for me all the other ways in which we provide critical elements of their childhood.  So while I cowardly rested on my maternal guilt, my husband surprised me one day by bravely informing them that there is, in fact, no such thing as Santa Claus.  Or the Easter Bunny.  Killed 'em both dead right there.

I think I just heard you gasp. 

I promise it turns out okay. 

They were shocked, albeit my ten-year-old not so much. 

Yes, they were slightly disappointed.

I was relieved but simultaneously horrified, swimming in that same maternal guilt.

When my husband explained to them why we lied in the first place and why we now felt it important to tell the truth now.  They understood. 

They are not irreparably damaged. 

They are faithful girls who now celebrate with the clarity that the season distinctly belongs to the one and only King.

I don't want you to fret at the prospect of my kid telling your kid.  I assure you we have threatened them so as to not let the cat out of the bag.  We also explained not everyone shares our beliefs and that we don't need to force them onto others. 

So having said that, please don't cancel our play dates. If your kid wants to talk about imaginary, pagan idols, my kid will just nod their head politely.


  1. I am with you. I raised my children without the lies of Santa and the Easter bunny. My son never cared. My daughter, older by nine years and from a first marriage, used to try to talk me into believing in Santa. It's rough when parents don't agree.

  2. I think this is powerful. :-) It's not our family's choice, but my kids will tell you that St. Nick was a real man who loved God so much that he wanted to bless everyone around him. He's in Heaven now (not the north pole :-P) and when you're an angel, God can give you the power to do anything...including blessing the world to remind them of Jesus' bday. They also know big presents come from us & the grandparents. I really don't know what they think Santa does, other than bless people with Christmas spirit and serve as an angel. :-P

  3. Sues, I really like that. It really is about how much power the parents give the whole idea, isn't it?