Advent Day 3: Jesus vs. Santa

I never believed in Santa growing up.

I know what you’re thinking. This man had a terrible and imagination-less childhood! Did he live in a bubble?

Although I was a strange kid growing up…and now, I assure you it was far from being without imagination. My parents just never made a big deal about Santa. My mom would always decorate our house beautifully every year. It really was the best our house looked year round. There were a lot of nativity scenes, a lot of wintery themed colors and decorations, there were lights and ornaments on trees, but there just wasn’t any Santa Claus. Don’t misunderstand me, we weren’t a crazy hyper-spiritual family who burned Santas in effigy at the mall. It just wasn’t part of our tradition.

Because of this, I’ve always thought it was weird growing up that other people believed in Santa Claus. I may or may not have been that kid at school who shattered the dreams of his peers by pointing out the ridiculousness of Santa and immaturity it would take to believe it’s true. Furthermore, as I got older, I found it even more strange the lengths that parents would go to in order to lie to their children about Santa.

But now that I have a son I’m having to think through my views on Santa again. Is it okay for Kyler to believe in Santa? Is it okay in general for Christian children to believe in Santa Claus? What should we as parents do about Santa and our children? Before answering these consider this.

When scrolling through a list of new movies and holiday shows on television, Santa is inescapable. However, it is difficult to find Jesus. The Santa genre has been beaten to a pulp, but the movies highlighting Christ are almost non-existent.

Don’t worry, I don’t think we should all be Scrooges and not allow our kids to believe in Santa. So to answer my question, I don’t think its wrong for kids to believe in Santa and if Kyler believes in Santa, I’m not going to ruin it for him.

On the other hand, it is wrong for us to stress Santa Claus at the expense of making much of Christ during Christmas. Kids have imaginations and there is nothing wrong with allowing kids to make believe. But if we don’t make it a point at Christmas to tell our children about the birth of Christ and the significance of it, we are missing an incredible opportunity to tell our kids about Jesus.

So whether or not you tell your kids about Santa, please tell them about Christ.

What are some creative ways that you have highlighted the birth of Christ or how have you balanced between Santa and Jesus in your own family?


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About codykimmel

I am a husband, father, pastor, songster, writer, and most importantly, believer in the one true Messiah, Jesus Christ. I write a blog at

6 thoughts on “Advent Day 3: Jesus vs. Santa

  1. Cody, I am so glad you mentioned this! Luke and I were just talking about how we felt about Santa Claus. We decided that we were not going to ‘celebrate Santa’ but that doesn’t mean we ruin it for others or do anything crazy. But we’d rather our kids grow up knowing the truth about Christmas and about Jesus’ birth than think that reindeers fly. I felt really convicted to not do Santa because I felt strongly that I would be lying to them.

    One thing that we do is celebrate St. Nicholas’ day, its a bit of a tradition that Luke’s family picked up when they were living as missionaries in Austria. Then after Erin spent so much time in the Czech she wanted us to have a tradition of celebrating it too. I guess it is our form of ‘Santa Claus’ because Luke’s parents get all of the grandkids bags of goodies. Its a fun tradition, but we still try to keep the focus on Jesus.

  2. Hey Brother,
    So, since you and I grew up in the same household, I thought I would throw my 2 cents in! We have allowed our kids to believe in Santa. Some of the ways we have done that is taking them to see Santa at the mall and getting pictures with him. We’ve let them write him letters (which is a great way to learn what they’d like for Christmas…) and they have one gift under the tree from Santa. They really enjoy the fun and the magic and anticipation. Kids are only young and wide eyed for a very short time.

    We have also been very intentional to make Christ the Focus on Christmas. In fact, even when we talk about Santa (St. Nic) we say he is a man who loves Jesus and wants to help the world enjoy and celebrate His birthday. Some of the things that we do to put the focus on Christ are that when we decorate our tree, the first thing we do after the lights and garland are on is to put our nail ornaments on. We have a whole box full of nails that are tied on the tree with red ribbon, and we talk about why Jesus came to earth. We talk about why we needed Him to come. Since I have 2 little women that I am raising we talk about how when Christ came, He gave an intrinsic value and equality to women that they had never before had in the history of the world.

    The music we listen to durning the Christmas season are the old and spiritual Christmas carols, since so many of them contain such amazing theology, I think its so important to pass these songs on to our kids. If you leave it up to the easy listening radio station that plays Christmas music, all they will every hear is Santa Baby and Jingle Bells.

    Our Christmas decorations are Christ centered and I love nativity scenes just like our mom. I also have a great Advent tool for kids called, “What God Wants For Christmas” I believe it was put out by Family Life ministries. Its a book and a series of 8 little boxes “presents” that they open that tells the Christmas story. The last box has a mirror in it and they are supposed to look in to see “what God wants for Christmas.” It’s their heart.

    And when it comes to “lying” to the kids, I can definitely understand how parents find this troublesome. We have never told them that Santa exists. We have simply allowed them to have their own belief and when they ask us, “Is Santa real?” we say, “Do you believe he’s real?” they say that they do. Then we say,” Well, that’s your answer.” I think that it teaches them alot about faith and belief.

    Sorry this response is long, but I thought I would share with you how we have balanced allowing our kids to believe and participate in the Santa aspect of Christmas without losing the focus of Christ. So far its working out OK.

    Love you and Lauren and that little snuggle bug!


    • Karis, thank you so much for your insight! I have first hand experience seeing you raising your two girls and the unbelievable imagination and joy they both have, so I can attest to this being a good thing in your kids lives. I really like the idea of talking about Santa Claus as someone who loves Jesus and gives gifts to people as an act of worshipping Christ. I even admit that I forget that Santa and Jesus aren’t unrelated, but that St. Nicholas was a man of God who acted out of a love for God. I should have just had you write this post. Miss you guys!

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