Advent activity for December 6:

“It’s St. Nick’s Day! Check your shoes for a surprise and then get ready to watch the Veggie Tales St. Nick video on the way to Lake Havasu.” 

It is, indeed, St. Nick’s Day, which means it’s time for my annual re-post of our family’s stance on Santa. Four years after deciding to go this route, I’m happy to report that we have zero regrets. Navigating conversations with their classmates in kindergarten and first grade was a little tricky for the boys, but we knew things would ease up (and they have) in 2nd and 3rd grades once more kids caught on. 🙂

Here are a couple of St. Nick resources to share with your family in addition to the ones mentioned in the repost:

Saint Nicholas bio from The Resurgence

What’s in the Bible Video Clip: How Did St. Nicholas Become Santa Claus?

All right, I hope this is helpful. Here’s to Friday and to busting out Santa hats and having some fun with our families this weekend.



Redeeming Santa {orginally posted December 20, 2011} 

I wasn’t even going to go here, but a lot of people I’ve run into in person the last few days have asked me to explain our family’s stance on Santa, so here’s the low-down, courtesy of an excellent article Mark Driscoll wrote last year for The Washington Post:

“We tell our kids that he was a real person who did live a long time ago. We also explain how people dress up as Santa and pretend to be him for fun, kind of like how young children like to dress up as pirates, princesses, superheroes, and a host of other people, real and imaginary. We explain how, in addition to the actual story of Santa, a lot of other stories have been added (e.g., flying reindeer, living in the North Pole, delivering presents to every child in one night) so that Santa is a combination of true and make-believe stories.

We do not, however, demonize Santa. Dressing up, having fun, and using the imagination God gave can be an act of holy worship and is something that, frankly, a lot of adults need to learn from children.

What we are concerned about, though, is lying to our children. We teach them that they can always trust us because we will tell them the truth and not lie to them. Conversely, we ask that they be honest with us and never lie. Since we also teach our children that Jesus is a real person who did perform real miracles, our fear is that if we teach them fanciful, make-believe stories as truth, it could erode confidence in our truthfulness where it really matters. 

So, we distinguish between lies, secrets, surprises, and pretend for our kids. We ask them not to tell lies or keep secrets, but do teach them that some surprises (like gift-giving) and pretending (like dressing up) can be fun and should be encouraged. We tell them the truth and encourage them to have fun watching Christmas shows on television and even sitting on Santa’s lap for a holiday photo if they so desire. For parents of younger children wanting them to learn the real story of Santa Claus the Veggie Tales movie Saint Nicholas is a good choice.

…In sum, Saint Nick was a wonderful man who loved and served Jesus faithfully. So, we gladly include him in our Christmas traditions to remind us of what it looks like for someone to live a life of devotion to Jesus as God. Our kids thank us for being both honest and fun, which we think is what Jesus wants.”


I would also add that our kids leave cookies out for us and wake up on Christmas morning to stockings and presents that weren’t under the tree the night before, so the surprise of Christmas morning is just as exciting to them as it is for the kids who think Santa’s been through the house…like the kids at their school who Landon and Evan have been taught to respect and not harrass on the issue. They know that it’s the job of their friends’ parents to talk to them about Santa, not theirs.

For more on this topic, read What We Tell Our Kids About Santa in its entirety, and also try to digest Jen Hatmaker’s helpful marathon post, The Christmas Conundrum.