To Santa or Not to Santa

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In this episode, we’re going to be chatting about our personal perspectives and convictions on “doing Santa” for our young children.

We aren’t going to be telling you or any Christian parent what you should or shouldn’t do. Because, at the end of the day, this isn’t a matter of right or wrong or even a sin issue. There’s a lot of grey area and room for personal convictions!

We’re just going to share our perspective on how to approach Santa, the goal of discipling our kids, and what that practically looks like in our family. Something for you to chew on and wrestle with!

So for our family, we don’t “do Santa.” We don’t pretend that he’s a real person who sees whether kids are being naughty or nice, gives them presents or coal, and is somehow omnipresent enough to deliver presents all over the globe in one night. We don’t make Santa as a character out to be a bad thing- we’ll still watch The Santa Clause with our kids. But, we won’t ever pretend he is real.

Reasons Why


We want to have a culture and foundation of trust and honesty in our parenting dynamic with our kids.

We know it doesn’t need to be as deep as “You said Santa was real and he’s not, so now I can’t trust you about anything.” But also, doesn’t that show our kids we are willing to lie about some things, even if it is for “fun” and for “their enjoyment”? Kids are smart and this could cause some questions about if we are lying about other things.

If we want our kids to be honest with us, we should be honest with them!

What is Real?

It’s very likely going to create some cognitive dissonance in kids when they find out, at whatever age, that Santa isn’t real. But, we communicate that God and Jesus are, even though they’ve never physically seen them either. What kid wouldn’t be confused?

I (Xan) had someone messaging me that their five-year-old was distraught after overhearing her aunt talking about Elf on a Shelf. She was specifically upset about the fact that adults were lying to their kids. That was such a foreign concept to her in her young mind! She was saying how it was just so sad to see her try to make sense of whether adults could be trusted. 

Why should they, in their young minds, believe God is real if they haven’t been able to see Him either? It makes sense for them to doubt. 


Giving Santa characteristics that only God has is also confusing (omnipresence, omniscience, etc…). And then, we take it a step further by telling kids that they will either get gifts or coal depending on how good they are! The traditional concept of naughty/nice just throws in a wrench of legalism for their small minds. It’s kind of a parenting cheap shot. It puts the idea in their head that they only need to act a certain way because they will be rewarded for it!

The Focus of Christmas

Simply put: we want the primary focus of the season to be on waiting on and anticipating Jesus. So, we don’t want to add a bunch of extra things to distract from that.

That’s part of why we don’t do gifts on Christmas. We don’t want the gifts to be what they’re so excitedly anticipating.

We get so much pushback about this saying that it ruins the magic of Christmas. But it doesn’t! Our Christmas isn’t centered around a magical character. But, we still put up a tree and decorate, watch movies, etc…

Santa as a Character

Santa is like Mickey and Minnie, or Bluey and Bingo. He’s a character in books and movies. We’re not trying to squash the fun of Santa as a character. We just don’t make him this real person who shows up in our home and gives presents.

If you do Santa and feel good about it, that’s not wrong. Each family can follow their own convictions. We just wanted to share our perspective because it can be helpful to hear how other people and families arrive at the decisions that they make.

One Degree Shift

Whether you do Santa or not, do it intentionally! Establish what you value as a family and make a decision about Santa and Christmas based on that!

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