What about Santa Claus? – Part 3

Yesterday I talked about two posts concerning Christmas. In the second post, Mrs. Black’s post, something caught my eye that made me think about Santa Claus. She wrote:

In many homes, the first act of parental betrayal is the lie of Santa Claus…many children go thru a deep depression & anger when they first realize that everyone in the world know he wasn’t real except them…and their own parents betrayed them.

As I said in my first post, this is not really what happened to me. Because of this, I tend to think that this position is a little more extreme. In fact, of all the people I know, I had never knew anyone who felt this way about finding out Santa wasn’t real. I also sensed that if this was the case there would be more and more people refusing to teach Santa Claus to their children because of the emotional damage done to them. At the same time I do understand that a lot of times our traditions (good or bad) tend to take over any emotional trauma that we may have endured.

As I was thinking through this I went to a very close friend of mine and asked him about his Santa experiences. I trust this friend probably more than any other friend, he is not a believer, but we have spent many hours talking philosophy with one another and I think we are very similar in many of our beliefs… the biggest difference being that I am a follower of Christ, while he is not.

This is a copy of the conversation that I had with Dan:

lew: when you were little, were you encouraged to believe in Santa? and did you?
dan: I did believe in santa. I can only assume my parents told me about it. They certain perpetuated it
lew: when you found out that he was not real… did you think they had lied to you? where you angry or did you feel tricked?
dan: I was upset about it, yeah. And it played a part in my early teen-age years when it caused me to doubt all “knowledge” handed down as truth, including religion
dan: Santa pretty much destroyed faith for me, honestly

To be perfectly honest, I did not expect this reaction from Dan. In fact, I expected one quite the opposite. I asked him if I could use this conversation in this blog, because I sensed that it was extremely important to this conversation. It has really made me think more deeply about teaching Santa as Truth.

What do you all think?


  1. Heather says

    I think that Satan will use whatever he can to deceive any one of us. Unfortunately he used this incident with your friend to lie to him about faith.

    I grew up in a Christian home and Santa was played up to the utmost. I found out he wasn’t real when I was about 9 or 10, but it in no way, shape or form made any impact on my faith. Brandon did not grow up in a Christian home and he would say the same about Santa and his “impact” or I should say non-impact.

    That said … we play Santa here, but my children know that he is not real, just a fun game. I just couldn’t lie to my kids, but I enjoy the fun of it all. And so do my kids.

    But those are just my thoughts :)


  2. This is a sensitive topic, because Santa is possibly our most beloved idol. It’s hard to let go of such a jolly old guy.

    I never gave this a moment’s thought till a Christmas party last week at which I heard a mom say that she and her husband chose not to deceive their children. That got me to thinking:

    –through the Santa/Easter Bunny/tooth fairy experience, children learn that adults often trick them into believing things that aren’t true;

    –some of these children learn to enjoy being deceived, if there is a payoff; this sets them up for all kinds of rationalizations when dealing with the world later in life

    –they learn to pray to someone besides God – “Santa, pleeease bring me…”

    –they learn to hide their sins – “have you been a good little boy/girl this year?”

    Children learn as much as, or more, from the behavior we model as from what we sit down and explicitly tell them in formal teaching sessions. And it’s harder later in life to consciously access and evaluate these implicit conclusions.

    I can’t say what the Santa experience did for my faith, because nobody cared whether or not I believed in God when I was a kid. But I wonder about the many young adults who fall away as soon as they leave home. One of my dearest friends said to me awhile back “I just don’t feel the need for God in my life right now”. Those seem like the words of someone to whom God is just another fairy tale trotted out to make you feel good, rather than a living reality. I plan to ask her the question you asked your friend as soon as I get the chance.

    I am grateful for the sensitive way you presented this topic. I have been thinking hard about this in the past week and struggling to express it in a non -judgmental way. It’s emotionally loaded for me because a deception at the root of my parents’ marriage has had a huge impact on my life and the personality issues I struggle with, including a string of emotionally abusive relationships before I became a believer 2 years ago.

    I personally don’t see a way to justify deception, even when it just involves a jolly old elf and a treasured national tradition.



  3. Alan Knox says


    This is a great series of posts. As you’ve demonstrated, this is not a simple issue. I am most concerned about those who have not thought through this issue and the implications. Whether you decide to Santa or not, you need to realize that your decision has implications.


  4. The biggest problem I have about Santa is the doctrine spelled out in the song Santa Claus is coming to town. Still, most people don’t do Santa that way. But we have a bib that says, “Who needs Santa? I’ve got Grandma.” And they have grandpa too. That being said, there’s no room left for Santa in our home :-)