As children, my husband and I both grew up in homes where we had a visit from a jolly, big fellow who wore a red suit. I have very fun and happy memories of leaving out milk and biscuits (cookies) for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph.
My sisters and I would place an empty pillow case with a piece of paper attached that had our names written on it so Santa would not get confused on gift requests from each of us.
When we would come down to check on Christmas morning to see if Santa had visited we always found lots of gifts waiting for us. We were happy little girls.
When my husband and I started our family, we had a conversation about Santa and both felt that it was a tradition that we would not start with our children.
It wasn't out of disrespect for our parents or because we had been damaged by it. We both decided it was something we did not want to be a focus of our Christmas for our family.
We didn't want to try and hide a secret from our children and then have to tell them later it wasn't true or for them to find out themselves.
I remember being pretty upset when I heard it wasn't true.
We have had mixed responses from people when we tell them we don't do Santa, some are surprised and some think we are crazy.
I don't honestly remember it being that big of a deal with our kids. We just never started, so there was never an expectation there with the boys or a feeling that they were missing out.
We did however tell them they needed to be respectful of other children who do believe in Santa and not spoil it for them because some families do carry on the tradition.
I have had this conversation just this year with my middle son. We haven't banned Santa from our home or anything; we still have Christmas ornaments with him on there and listen to songs about him. He just isn't someone we believe in or make a bigger part of our celebration.
Our family still loves to have fun with Christmas. There is no need to worry, my boys will be finding lots of presents wrapped under the tree.
As parents, we want Christ to be the focus of our celebrations. As I was thinking about all of this and wondering how we do that as a family, I saw that famous Charlie Brown quote:
"What is Christmas all about?" I love how his friend Linus responded:
“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
This is what we want our boys to be excited about this year more than the fact that they got what was on their Christmas gift wish list.
I pray that whatever choices you have made for your family in regards to Santa or no Santa that the Glory and wonder of Christ's birth will still be a focus for your family.
As parents, we want Christ to be the focus of our celebrations.