Disclaimer: Stop now if you don’t want anyone messing up the Santa story for you (any more than Tim Allen already has).
So how did I start not liking Santa in the first place? Well, we made a decision pretty early on that we weren’t going to do the Santa Claus thing for most of the standard reasons I suppose: We didn’t want our kids confusing fact and fiction, we didn’t like God’s characteristics being passed on to Santa, we didn’t like Santa being more loved and appreciated at Christmas than Jesus, etc. Typical homeschooling family in our circles.
While we didn’t see any negatives with this approach as far as our kids were concerned (they even got really good at not blowing things for other kids), we began to be concerned that there was a large part of the Christmas conversation that we weren’t being invited into and as a result we were missing opportunities to share our faith. We had boycotted a lot of the cultural gathering points and found ourselves not even “in the world” at Christmastime.
It was while we were visiting a church of another denomination that I was first introduced to the real story behind Saint Nicholas. Sure, I had heard about St. Nick but I had never really studied the history behind Nicholas, Pastor of the Church at Myra. Now I’m not sure this movie is going to portray historical details accurately, but I am intrigued and will probably look it up. Learning about the love that Nicholas had for Jesus and for doing his work not only gave me an opportunity to teach my kids about the true story of Santa Claus, but it allowed us to be a part of the Santa discussion with others. Rather than avoiding “all-things-Santa” we became participants so that we could use Nicholas’ story as a cultural bridge to the Gospel.
Of course, there will be folks who choose to remain on different sides of this discussion, but I know that Christmas has become much more fun for us…and productive in Kingdom work!