Staff Editorial: Here comes Santa Claus

The Chimes staff contemplates whether Christians should participate in the Santa tradition.

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The Chimes staff contemplates whether Christians should participate in the Santa tradition. | wikimedia.org [Creative Commons]

Chimes Staff, Writer

The Chimes staff contemplates whether Christians should participate in the Santa tradition. | wikimedia.org [Creative Commons]

Where were you when you found out the truth about Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy? Do you remember talking to your friends at school, worrying whether or not your parents were telling you everything? Maybe you had already figured it out, and your suspicions were confirmed and that was the end of it. Or maybe you felt crushed. Perhaps you even felt disappointed. And maybe for you or your friends, the disappointment of nonexistence didn’t just stop at Santa Claus. Perhaps it caused you to question other things your parents told you were true — perhaps about God.

This is the question begging to be asked: Should Christians participate in the Santa tradition?

“Santa knows we’re all God’s children…”

We all know lying is wrong. Yet, even Christians adopt cultural traditions that include telling children a few “white” lies: checking for monsters in the closet, money under the pillow from the Tooth Fairy and, of course, the jolly man himself, Santa Claus.

None of these fun, child-friendly traditions excuse breaking a commandment. However, there is something to be said for the ability to participate in a holiday tradition, such as Santa Claus climbing down the chimney and depositing presents under the tree — bearing in mind this tradition does not detract from the true meaning of Christmas. Let’s also not forget the legend of Santa Claus evolved from an actual historical figure. Though there are rumors surrounding Saint Nicholas, one thing is for certain: He was a religious man.

We are not advocating for a glorification Saint Nick. Rather, why not use this white-bearded man in a red suit to inspire such values as selflessness or sacrificial giving? Instead of condemning the idea of Santa Claus, why not use his generosity as a spring-board to Jesus? God the Father gave the most sacrificial, generous gift of all: his son. Maybe it is better for Christians to redeem this cultural figure than risk appearing superior to a world that already views Christians in an unfavorable light.

It’s not about Santa

While the real Saint Nicholas stood for nothing less than the true gospel, he would most likely be outraged to find his name as the trademark of this materialistic tradition. Sharing the white lie of the generous, red-cheeked old man’s existence detracts from the true meaning of the season. We do not have to mask the magic of Christmas because he doesn’t exist. Instead, we should share the real reason for the season. We can celebrate Jesus’ birth and the generosity of his life for us by giving to those we love. Without deceiving kids into thinking Santa brings the joy of Christmas in his sleigh, we can teach them to thank the Lord for the blessings of togetherness, rest and — of course — the presents.

The reason for the season

The concern of many Christian parents is whether Jesus and Santa can exist together during this quickly approaching holiday. Should they do away with Santa altogether? Or is it possible to teach Christ’s birth while also having the mystery of Santa be a part of the holiday tradition? For some, it is possible to have both. Some families decorate for the season with a Christmas tree and also a manger scene. Whether or not families decide to include the myth of Mr. Claus into their traditions, it is important to teach the real reason we celebrate. 

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