No, it’s not necessary to ignore Santa Claus. Clearly he is so pervasive in our Christmas culture that it would be hard to do so anyway. But, I do not want my child to believe that this omniscient, omnipresent (at least for one night), rewarder of good behavior and giver of good gifts is the most famous “old man in the sky” figure. No, I want my child to be affected with great surprise and wonder by the truth that he can delight in all his life. Not a story that looses it’s magic at the age of 8 or so.
The real reason for the season, the real joy to be shared at Christmas, is not a fairy tale, nor is it bound to a single month on the calendar, though we learn to celebrate with anticipation a picture of that joy in the salvation He has begun for us when Jesus was born. The reason we celebrate Christmas is actual and everlasting. It’s not put away until the following year or like I said already, exposed and discredited when a child comes of age.
So, for the love of Baby Jesus, we pulled out of the Santa charade. There will be no false benefactor with whom Jesus will have to compete. The tone will not be: Be good and you will get more stuff. Santa Claus will be presented as a character based on the life of St. Nicholas who was a devoted follower of Jesus and giver to the poor. Christmas, in our house, will be obsessed with a baby in a manger, and no other.
Deprivation you say? Real deprivation for a child would be to to allow a living savior to be overshadowed by a jolly twinkly flying character, or depending on your perspective, an obese toy maker who enslaves elves to work day and night, all year long, without any breaks, for corn syrup in the form of confections and candies! A man who sends an elf to encourage superficial behavior modification in exchange for short-term earthly treasures discarded or forgotten about or unaffectionately acknowledged before the next years list is born. Sorry, I digress. I just do not believe that discluding Santa Clause in our Christmas celebration we are depriving our child of the joy of the season. Rather we are redirecting that joy and giving Christmas back to the true omniscient, omnipresent, rewarder of good behavior and giver of good gifts, for the benefit of our child. May his heart know this joy each and everyday.
There’s a great advantage for literal-thinking and uncritical young minds to not have to pick through a marble cake truth and part imaginative story to find the crumbs of reality surrounding the meaning of Christmas. The truth is Christmas gifts do not come from a bottomless sack but from the people they love, who know the worst of their behavior throughout the year and still show love and generosity in return. The truth is despite our unworthiness, our loving Father sent his son to be born as a baby to live a life in this world, be put to death by this world, so that when we leave this world, we can spend an eternity in heaven where we will have everything our hearts desire.