Christians have many, many opinions on Santa Claus, from he’s of the Devil, to he’s a big lie, to he’s ok, and more. These different opinions honestly make me sad. I grew up in a house where Santa was very loved, and brought much excitement to Christmas. As I began my own family there was no question in my mind of whether we would “do Santa” for our kids at all. Frankly, I had no idea of the extremely negative views people had about Santa until I began talking in Christian online groups.
The tradition of Santa began with St. Nicholas, a Saint who gave up his wealth to help those in need- specifically poor children. When he would help them, he would often give them presents in a bag, anonymously. He didn’t do it for the show, and didn’t do it for what he would get in return.
To me, the spirit of St. Nicholas lives on through the persona of Santa Claus- through the gifts we give to our children, and the way we present Santa to them. I think it is very important to remember the spirit. When we chose the gift for Santa to bring, at our house it is the biggest gift. There are two reasons- one, it’s the one that is the hardest to wrap, or needs the most work to set up, that way it’s done, but also because we, as parents, are not taking credit for the big gift. I think this is an important lesson for our children as they get older and learn that we are the people behind Santa. They learn that we don’t have to get credit for the joy they have, that we just want to give them joy To me this is big. We don’t always need to get credit for the things we do. Ultimately, God knows what we do, and if we can take our focus off of man’s appreciation and focus on God we will be more at peace in our souls.
The Spirit of St. Nicholas lives on through Secret Santa programs, and giving to the poor. This was a BIG part of who St. Nicholas was, and we should make sure his legacy lives on through giving to the poor as well. Now that my older boys are old enough to know the true meaning of Santa we include them in our giving at Christmas time. We have a couple of places that we give anonymously every year, and we don’t expect anything in return, we don’t put it on our tax return, we just do it because it’s what's right. Even as we don’t have a whole lot of money ourselves for Christmas, we make sure to give to others. There’s always someone more in need than we are
So, I still believe in Santa because as a child I was touched by love and giving without any expectation of anything in return, and I learned the value of that. Now as an adult I have learned that the true gift of Christmas comes when WE give. And, isn’t that what God did? The real gift of Christmas is that God gave his ONLY son- without expecting anything in return- just because He loves us. It’s a legacy. And we’re responsible for continuing the legacy to our children.