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No Santa, Why Should the Fat Guy Get Credit? by Fred Campos

No Santa, Why Should the Fat Guy Get Credit?

It’s three months till Christmas, have you started your shopping?

I’m not yet. I usually don’t start until after Christmas. I plan to buy most of my Christmas gifts on the day after Christmas–figured I would catch a few sales much like I did on Black Friday. I think we’ll open the majority of our gifts on December 28th. Does this sound strange? Well let me explain. However before I do, I have to address a pretty controversial issue. Santa, we quietly don’t do Santa at our house. Now before you call me a cruel parent let me explain. Below is a post I wrote in a previous blog back in 2008 that generated a lot of controversy and just about started a war on Facebook. Seven years later my feelings are still pretty much the same, but less hard-line about it.

Christmas is a Time We Celebrate Jesus’ Birthday

We Don't Do Santa by Fred CamposIt is first and foremost a time to reflect on the ultimate gift God gave us by sending His Son. That doesn’t really have anything to do with Santa Claus. Ok, I can hear a few legalistic people out there re-telling me the story of Bishop Nicholas and the great dowries gifts he gave and the stories and legends that became of that. How after his death he became Saint Nickolas, and the Dutch that settle in this country pronounced it “Santa Claus.” Clement Clark Moore wrote the poem, “Twas the Night Before Christmas” that added to the description of the modern-day Santa from which songs, cartoons, and stories have evolved. I am not down playing any of it and my children are familiar with the story, but it takes away from the primary purpose of Christmas, celebrating Jesus’ birth.

As a Parent, I Try Not to Lie to My Kids–thus no Santa

How can I tell my kids lies year after year about Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny while simultaneously teaching them the truth of Jesus and the stories of the Bible? I know it sounds crazy, but I want to develop a relationship with my kids from which I don’t have to ever lie to them. Not even small lies based on misplaced tradition. I do not want to have a conversation with one of my children going something like this…

All these years you told my Santa was real, and I trusted you and believed you. After that, how can you expect me to believe in your Jesus? He could be just as made up as all the rest of it.

Gifts are from Real People who Love You–Family and Friends

God gave us his Son and everyone and everything told us it was a gift from God. From Magi in the East, to angels in the sky they all proclaimed the gift of God’s Son. As parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and friends, the gifts are from us. Why should the great gifts we give our kids be credited to something or someone who doesn’t exist? How does that foster a thankful appreciative heart?

Christmas is Not Tied to a Date

We can open gifts when the opportunity arises and when we are with the people who gave them. If out-of-town friends visit on December 22th, we can have Christmas and open gifts on the 22th. If they come on the 28th, we can open gifts on the 28th. Do we open a few gifts on the 25th, sure. There are always some surprises on “Christmas Morning” whichever day of the month that may be for us. My kids are just as excited on 22th, 25th, or 28th for that matter. This also allows me an opportunity to teach my children about gift selecting for others and learning how to pick something that will be precious to the receiver. And… as a blended family we celebrate when my daughter is home. That’s not always on the 25th.

Santa, No Santa, We Quietly Don’t Do Santa

This year for the sake of some family that is not with us, we’re celebrating Christmas late. My kids will be excited for Christmas several times near the end of this month. As for me, I’ll get a chance to save a little money and buy a few gifts after everyone else’s Christmas for our Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season–and as Christians, we celebrate His gift everyday without the complication of a story of Santa. If any of you out there worrying, my kids have been well versed on respect for others and they do NOT ruin the “belief” in Santa for any children they know. With my youngest Daniel, we don’t openly address the issue. If asked, we just redirect and remind him, these gifts are from us.

What are your Christmas plans this year? How do you do Santa?

Paid image from www.DollarPhotoClub.com.

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Fred Campos, Top Geek, blogs about everything from House of Cards to Subway. In addition to blogging, he is a public speaker and humorist in child custody, social media, web development and parenting. He is married to one @SuperParentMom, and raising three world changers. For more details on his custody course visit, www.DaddyGotCustody.com/course. Like this post? Make sure you subscribe to this blog.

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{ 14 comments… add one }

Join in the Conversation

  • Jennifer H December 22, 2008, 2:45 pm

    Question #1-Did you believe in Santa when you were a child? If so, how come you believe in Jesus now?

    Question#2-Did you really feel like our parents were lying to us? I never felt that way ….I remember learning about the reality of Santa in third grade and it did not impact me whatsover about Jesus or reflect negatively on our parents.

    I do appreciate the fact that the emphasis of Christmas can become skewed. It is easy for all of us to minimize the birth of Christ and emphasize Santa. I do think we need to be cafeful of this, however, I am not sure that the best response would be to eliminate fun Christmas traditions such as Santa, elves, etc. I believe that if it is not taken to the extreme it can be fun and pleasurable for the children and the entire family.

    Reply
    • Fred Campos / FullCustodyDad December 24, 2008, 2:20 am

      Well now, did I open a can of worms or what? I got about a dozen emails or so after publishing this post, so I thought I might take a minute and give some more information.

      1. I never did believe ANY of it as a kid. I don’t know why, but the concept was never believable to me. My parents played along, and I played along too, but I cannot think of a moment that I actually believed in Santa.

      2. So I was not affected by the truth and it didn’t affect my belief in Jesus. However, it greatly affected my believe in my parents. Being from a blended family, I struggled with keeping up the lie for others and determine when my parents were telling me the truth and when they weren’t.

      3. I am not against Santa, nor on a campaign to stop the tradition. We celebrate all the things that go with it, except the concept of Santa bring gifts into our home. My children love the tradition and don’t feel any less excited knowing gifts are from the parents–instead of Santa.

      4. My kids understand the secret, and are aware of the preciousness of others. They don’t spoil it for anyone and usually reflect the story back to Jesus’ birth.

      5. My daughter comes from a blended family. Honesty is a big deal to her, as it was to me as a child. For her, Christmas is not always celebrated on the 25th. For both these reasons, it made sense to start with the truth.

      Christmas is a time for family and a time to bring other to Jesus. Whether you do Santa or not is hardly the point, but don’t make it the center of your kids world!

      Fred

      Reply
  • TheGoodDoc December 23, 2008, 6:42 am

    Well Fred, this was something that Jocelyn and I talked about at the beginning. Our decision was to make Santa something special, and not the commercialized propaganda agent he is today. We made Santa a magical figure that was centered around the celebration of Jesus amd how he was an icon that represented the goodwill of the awesome gifts celebrating Jesus’ birth. With that as the theme around Christmas, Santa was not something that detracted from the true meaning of Christmas. As far as “lying” I do not know 1 person that was seriously hurt due to Santa being “fake.” I remember wondering why my parents lied to me, but I also remember the magic of continuing the magic for my younger siblings. Sure, it can be upsetting for some, but it passes quickly once the beauty of creating the magic for others starts for all those disenfranchised non-believers. This Christmas is the 1st one where my oldest “knows” and she was so proud of herself for figuring it out, not hurt in any way, and now she is having a blast keeping the spirit there for our younger child. I personally think the idea of Santa is wonderful. And since everyone isn’t a Christian (darn it) I think it’s cool that even they are celebrating a Christian tradition (even if Santa was invented by Coca-Cola)

    Reply
  • Sonja Cassella December 25, 2008, 3:30 pm

    I’ve been thinking of this since I read your post last night. I guess I am of two minds. We fill the stockings and let the little kids assume that Santa fills them, but then the older kids, when they really ask, are told the truth.

    However, taking a “hard line” against the Santa story and the Santa tradition strikes me as doing something I’ve learned may not be an optimal strategy, and that is gratuitously swimming against the river of established cultural tradition. The reason this can be a problem is it removes from our children a shared source of culture with the other children in our society.

    I know, I know, Christians are supposed to be “salt and light,” we are the “salt of the earth,” and all the other admonitions against conforming too much to the world. At the same time, I think condescending to the everyday culture is perhaps … pharasiacal.

    To sum up: if you don’t want to “lie” to your children about Santa, I don’t think that precludes re-enacting the stockings, etc. and reading the books. I think the Santa myth is an important unifying point in American culture and it is actually responsible parenting to acknowledge and teach about this story.

    Reply
  • Becky Slimpin December 28, 2010, 3:03 pm

    Hey Fred. We have just about the same viewpoints with our family and Santa Claus and for the same reasons as you. I don’t feel like our children miss out at all. “Santa” isn’t a “bad word” and we do read the stories that go along with him, but they know he’s not real. My parents didn’t have us believe in Santa either, even though they were brought up believing in him. (And my mom was one of the ones that was devastated when she found out he wasn’t real.)

    This year, i was reading the kids a story about Santa and explained the tradition of leaving cookies out for Santa. My kids asked if the parents believed in Santa (who had their kids leave cookies out for Santa) and i said that they didn’t, but their kids did and my 6 year old said (on her own, completely unprompted by me) that the parents were lying to their kids and asked me why they would do that!!! Like you, we never wanted to lie to our kids (and this is one of the reasons we haven’t taught them about Santa Claus) but at the same time, we never told them that part, b/c we didn’t want to tell them (“so and so’s parents are lying to them.”) It REALLY bothered my kids though (3 1/2, 4 1/2, and 6) to learn that parents lie to their kids. REALLY bothered them.

    I think it’s wise to tell your kids the real meaning of Christmas, to be honest with them about Santa Claus, let them pretend, but know he’s not real and i agree 100% with you and Karen! Way to go!

    Reply
    • Becky Slimpin December 28, 2010, 3:07 pm

      LOL–didn’t realize this was 2 years old!

      Reply
      • Fred Campos / FullCustodyDad December 28, 2010, 3:19 pm

        No problem Becky. I tend to recycle old post that are timely and still relevant. This topic comes up yearly. Now that Caitlyn is home from visiting her mom, we’ve deemed today Christmas Eve and December 29th as Christmas Day. With this policy we have the freedom to move Christmas around.

        Blessing on you and yours!

        Reply
    • Fred Campos / FullCustodyDad December 28, 2010, 3:17 pm

      Thanks for your input. I have instructed my kids not to spoil it for those who do celebrate the “Santa thing”. Good to hear from ya!

      Reply
  • Olympia Genovezos December 28, 2010, 8:29 pm

    Well put Fred. I dont think Christmas should be centered around gifts and Santa Clause. Although I did do the Santa Clause thing with my children when they were little but when they did find out it was not real ,they were not devestated. We have also taught the children ever since they were we little that it was Jesus birthday and that it was ok to get a few gifts from family and friends. We also teach them our church’s traditions and as they get older they really appreciate our Christian values and and traditions more than the gifts. I cant believe how this season has been so commercialized and how society tries to take Jesus out of the season. Its really sad to me and I hope that this changes. I am not saying that people don’t do good but I really hope alot more people do good and really take time to think what this season is all about.

    Reply
  • Cool Step Mom September 23, 2015, 8:58 am

    FullCustodyDad,

    Great post, I can SOOO relate. What is with the Texas family courts making the Christmas exchange on December 27th? As far as shopping for Christmas, I try to save money every month and buy a little something year round, so that it doesn’t totally sneak up on me. That’s my tip for you–don’t wait to the last minute. Great blog, love this feed!

    Reply
    • FullCustodyDad September 23, 2015, 10:15 am

      Cool Step-Mom,

      Well I am not actually sure why the change. Yes, when I was growing up it was 1p on Christmas Day. My guess is they were trying to even out Christmas vacation with both parents as schools moving the holiday to the Friday before Christmas. i.e. Trying to make time with each parent closer to equal. That said, it is still not always equal and having Christmas so late for one parent has it’s own problems, especially if you have other kids. But I digress.

      Thanks for the shopping year round tip, I’m not quite that organized yet, but it is something to shoot for.

      Step-Moms Rule the World!

      Reply
  • Cory Stevenson September 24, 2015, 4:34 pm

    Fred,

    I think you are too legalistic here. I don’t think encouraging the believe in Santa hurts children. I am sure you believed as a kid and your faith appears to still be intact.

    But you idea of moving Christmas makes sense with a child going back and forth. How do you deal with moving Christmas when you have other children?

    Reply
    • FullCustodyDad September 24, 2015, 5:06 pm

      Cory,

      Well, I may in fact be too legalistic on the “Santa” issue. In regards to my other kids, I have given my boys the option. On the years that Christmas is late for my daughter, they have agreed to wait to open their gifts. I always give them the choice, so far they have yielded to her schedule. We’ll see if that continues now that my youngest is 5 years old. Stay tuned.

      Fred

      Reply