Does the Creator of all life send some real physical signs that something is drastically wrong with the worldview of Christmas? I think it might be wise to pay closer attention to His creation. When a baby or small child is crying, screaming , running, hiding from or simply looking very confused near Santa Claus, it might be a real, clear, visible sign that something ain’t right.
This is the time of year for visits from Santa Claus. So many of us will sit our child on Santa’s lap as the tradition demands and what often happens? I already saw pictures of screaming babies on Santa’s lap with captions that read, “This is one of my favorite Christmas pics!” What? Your child is terrified. I have seen young children run and hide under a table as an adult retrieves them and tries to coerce them into sitting on Santa’s lap. Sometimes they are even led to believe that it is bad to not sit on the lap. If they don’t, they don’t get anything for Christmas or lumps of coal in their stocking!
We attempt to trick our kids into believing Santa Claus is real and we go to great lengths. Kids get phone calls from the Big Man with the flying reindeer. Now in addition to children writing letters to Santa, he sends them letters too! When I was a kid, Santa had a crystal ball and elves just made the toys in the workshop. Now Santa sends special elves (with the creepy demonic eyes) to your house from the North Pole to keep an extra eye on everyone. Some of those darn elves are getting into mischief themselves and they have the nerve to report me!
Everyone is in on it. We get reprimanded or glared at if we are the one giving up the secret. I must admit if looks could kill, I would be with Jesus right now! We are expected to lie and to make sure our own children cooperate in the game or we are on the naughty list with them. What a far-fetched story that just keeps growing and being confirmed by much of the adult population!
It is simple to notice the tale grow taller through the years; my concern is that as this happens, the ages of children still believing is growing too. Kids are giving us obvious signs that they suspect the story has some problems and we are intentionally leading them away from the truth. I suspect it is time to re-think this because we are literally creating overgrown Santa Babies and there are far more truly important issues to contend with. How does the continuation and embellishment of this myth help us gain credibility with our children in the future when an issue that actually matters comes up? We all know the answer to that. It obviously doesn’t help at all and can only contribute to the possibility that our children won’t trust us when it counts.
Undoubtedly, many of you just reported me to Santa. I am the Grinch that Stole Christmas and most definitely the ultimate Scrooge. Don’t want to ruin anyone’s Christmas, but let me say this: Kids love to get gifts on Christmas whether they come from mom and dad or Santa Claus. They naturally have a pretty good clue, even as babies, that the Santa Claus gig isn’t quite right. We have to literally convince them that he is real! We have to lie.
My kids believed in Santa for a short time because I didn’t know any better. If I had a child today, I would tell the child the truth and prepare him or her for what society will tell them and how to respond. I know my husband and I have the biggest influence on our children. There are real truths that we must relate. I desperately want my children to believe us and not the world. I suspect our kids would not have missed out on anything if they never believed the Santa Claus myth.
If you can’t imagine your child’s life without the Santa Claus tale, I would encourage you to keep these believing years few. I have seen kids as old as fifth grade believing in Santa Claus. Many of these kids and their friends already reached puberty and are showing interest in the opposite sex! I see this growing trend in our society to keep them babies as long as possible. It seems like we are trying to teach them NOT to grow up in some ways, yet in other ways we advance them too fast. Seriously, I suspect our Creator is screaming at us to reverse the trend! It is hard to let go and watch them grow up so fast, but creating Santa Babies and holding on to the myth for too long, is not helping them, only hindering.
When I told my kids Santa wasn’t real, they were in first grade. It terrified me to think that if I keep this lie going, they might think that the story of Jesus Christ isn’t real either. That is an incredibly true historical account that so many have trouble believing. Many times, truth sounds even stranger than fiction. My kids actually felt pretty cool knowing the Santa Secret. I told them that the story of Jesus is real, Santa Claus is only a myth and explained the difference the best I could. They felt just a little bit more grown up and I felt relieved. I suspect children will be fine knowing the truth and we will build our credibility and earn a bit more trust from them.
The story of the birth of our Savior is so beautiful. I encourage all of you to consider making this true story the main focus of the Christmas season once again.