Faith in Santa, faith in God

Posted: December 9, 2010 in Christmas, Holidays, Parenting, Santa

Today I read an article from Mark Driscoll via Jonathan Howes which reminded me of a situation I faced a few days ago.  A red flag went up in my mind when my kids heard someone saying that you need to ‘believe’ in Santa. It alerted me because just a few days earlier, I had been studying the Bible with them.  We discussed the concept of ‘believe in Jesus through faith’.

Could they possible confuse, misunderstand, or combine both of those –God and Santa- into one ‘believe’ lump? Aren’t they smart enough to know the difference? No kid thinks Peter Pan is an Angel…or do they?

This re-awakened in me a big question I have had for a while.  If I want to be a really good parent, the most important thing I can do and should do is follow God’s instructions and warnings such as:

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up”

And..

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

However, how true, REALLY true, is what I’ve heard –that the belief in Santa can confuse and ultimately drive a kid away from faith in God? Is there any statistical data to support this claim? Has that really happened?

I did some research, read studies and asked people in a variety of forums and based on their responses and comments, this is what I discovered:

–       There are many people in both groups –those who grew up in Christian homes and those in non-Christian homes, who incorporate Santa into their Christmas. As they grew, they turned out to be healthy Christians; their Santa traditions didn’t affect their faith in God.

–       There are many people in both groups –those who grew up in Christian homes and those in non-Christian homes, who did NOT do Santa. As they grew, they turned out to be healthy Christians who said they enjoyed Christmas without Santa; their LACK of Santa traditions didn’t affect their faith in God.

–       There are many people in both groups –those who grew up in Christian homes and those in non-Christian homes, who did Santa. As they grew, they turned AWAY from Christianity as Santa created doubts and confusion about what to believe and the trustworthiness of their parents. Their Santa traditions DID affect their faith in God.

–       Some who were raised WITHOUT Santa, grew up to be parents who DO Santa because they feel they ‘missed the fantasy’.

–       Some of the most famous atheist like Christopher Hitchens, have argued that Santa actually is ‘good’ as it helps prepare kids for the ‘Christian disillusion’.

Based on that, I conclude for me and my family:

– If Jesus and The Bible are being taught throughout the rest of the year, no confusion will arise. The problem comes when everyone seems to put more ‘stock’ (no pun intended) into believing in Santa this one month, than believing in God the rest of the year.

– It may be ok and even beneficial to the kids’ mental development to have some ‘fantasy. We will let them play the “Santa game”, imagine, pretend and go along with it. But we are clear about what is real and what is not. “Santa is as pretend as Mickey Mouse; but we can still play and have fun”. They can play that Santa gives them gifts and comes down our un-existent chimney and eats cookies. However, they will know and have it explained to them that real people give them gifts -to whom they are to be thankful, that gifts from parents and God, are NOT depending on performance, that we are to selflessly give like Jesus or the old St Nicholas character and so on…

– We will find a way to keep our kids from spoiling the dream for those kids who believe in Santa. I don’t want to receive the phone call from the crying kids’ parents.

We’ll see how it goes…..

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Comments
  1. Angela says:

    WHAT?!?!!? Santa isn’t real? (:

  2. […] My husband posted a blog about Santa too.  Read it HERE! […]

  3. Jenni says:

    I appreciate your take on this issue. And for the most part, I agree with you. My thoughts are here: http://frenchizal.blogspot.com/2010/12/santa-pause.html

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