Mama’s Tales: Santa

by Lori Ann

Our family does not “do” Santa.

'Ol Saint Nick
Creative Commons License photo credit: Brett Holt

That’s kind of a strange phrase, and I know it means different things to different people, but here’s my take on the truth about Santa: he was (probably) a real person, and he followed Jesus (we think), but he is no longer alive on earth, and so he does not pass out gifts today.

I want to always tell Tigger the truth, so even though I plan to share stories about Saint Nicholas just like any other historical or storybook person, we don’t want to persuade her to believe that a living (or magical) person named Santa brings her gifts. We try to keep the focus on Jesus during the holiday, which for us includes not exchanging gifts on Christmas Day (we do some Christmas Eve and three on Epiphany, as a reminder of the wise men’s visit) so Christmas itself is a day of worship.

Living in rural China also simplifies the decision for us. People here ONLY know about the St. Nick part of Christmas. “Christmas” in Chinese is literally “holy birth festival” but people often ask me “Wasn’t Santa born on Christmas”? We find it confusing to muddle things up (especially with what appears to our neighbors as the worship of a deceased man… and our neighbors are almost all ancestor-worshipers!) And if it’s confusing for them, I can see how it would be confusing for our “third culture” daughter, too.

So that’s my take… for now. Remember, my oldest is my only and is just 9 months! What does your family do?



Filed under baby, China, Family, Life, Mama's Tales, traditions

5 responses to “Mama’s Tales: Santa

  1. We’re still working out the details, but it sounds like we’ve landed at about the same place you have. I think that Noel Piper is very wise when she says that kids can’t separate the fact and fiction of Santa and Jesus as sophisticatedly as we do. For preschoolers, asking them to understand that Santa was a real person that magically lived on to give gifts and Jesus is a real person that died and rose again to give eternal life is too much! Noel also has a great comparison of Santa and Jesus that explains how the way we talk about Santa can set kids up for works-based salvation.

    We are opening gifts Christmas afternoon with the family this year, but next year I’d like to move gifts to Christmas Eve and keep it very simple. I love the idea of celebrating the Feast of the Magi, especially since it would give me an extra week to shop and prepare.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Noel’s traditions books is one of my favorites!

      The extra week is especially useful for me this year… I’m knitting Paul a blanket that’s currently only half done :-0!!

  2. Favorite Aunt Suzy

    We don’t do Santa either. For us that means that our 3 children(ages 6,7, and 11) have always known that Santa is a fun story and that once upon a time St. Nick was a real person that gave toys to children. They know that Mom and Dad bring their gifts, not Santa. They have never seemed to be missing out on anything by not beleiving in Santa! To us it is much more important that they know that we were always truthful with them(even when some frowned upon the idea of a childhood without Santa). They fully understand the reason we celebrate Christmas and we use the season to stress how very blessed our family is and that we need to share our blessings with others.

    Merry Christmas to you all!!

    P.s. Did you get the package we sent?

    • Thanks for sharing, I didn’t know what you guys did. I like hearing from you since your kids are so much older, so it’s good to hear they don’t seem to be missing out.

      And yes, the package has arrived — thank you so much! We loved all the gifts and as always it was so fun to get a package in the mail. She’s wearing her pajamas right now 🙂

  3. Some truly fantastic work on behalf of the owner of this web site, dead outstanding content material.

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