Growing up in a non-religious household, it never occurred to me that people could possibly have a problem with Santa Clause. It seemed that the only reason one might have a problem with Santa was if they didn’t celebrate Christmas, and therefore were jealous. It wasn’t until I became a practicing Christian that I realized that it can actually be an incredibly divisive issue among Christians.
My thoughts: If you want to enjoy Santa, do it. If you don’t, don’t. Teach other kids to respect other families’ beliefs, customs, and practices. As for me and my house? Santa visits every year.
Here’s the thing.
We absolutely follow the tradition of Santa Claus. We don’t use it as a manipulation tool to get our kids to behave (there is no ‘naughty or nice’ and no threats of coal in the stockings for misbehavior… misbehavior gets punished in December in the same way as the rest of the year).
Our kids know that Santa Claus – Saint Nicholas – was a passionate Christian known for secret gift giving (and for punching heretics, which my kids love to tell naysayers when other kids tell them Santa isn’t real). I’m not lying to my kids when we tell them that there is secret gift-giving going on. We let them believe in the magic and the beauty that is someone giving absolutely selflessly, and we tie that in to Jesus giving Himself absolutely selflessly, and how we are to follow that model. Jesus also said that we should do our good works in secret–our praying and our fasting… and I can only imagine that it is acceptable for that to extend to our giving as well.
Santa is also a part of our cultural traditions, and as we very clearly tie the meaning of Christmas–the miracle of God entering His Creation, and how that changed everything, absolutely and forevermore–the stories and legends and myths that go along with it are no more dangerous than letting my kids read about Greek myths or Roman gods, which we do with regularity. Christmas is about Jesus, and we can use Santa Clause to honor Jesus and celebrate His birth into the world He created.