Thursday, November 15, 2007
Conversation With A Third Grader
Today my youngest son, Garrett, came to me and I could tell he had something on his mind and needed to talk.

We sat down on the coach and he very seriously says to me "Mom, it's OK you don't have to pretend anymore, I know all about the secret".

What secret is that I ask.

The one about Santa Claus he tells me.

Oh, are you upset?

No, its OK, I'm a big boy now.

We talk a little about the real meaning of Christmas and how it is the day we Celebrate Jesus birth.

He looks at me seriously again and states "Now that I am an adult I can keep a secret. I promise not to tell Paige. She's still a little kid and needs to believe for a little longer".

That kid cracks me up.

So, here is my question Internet friends. How does your family separate Santa from the real meaning of Christmas? I know some families don't do Santa at all and just celebrate Christ's birth. Has anyone found a really great way to incorporate them both without losing the Christ in Christmas.

When Garrett and I talked I asked him if he really understood that the jolly big guy was just pretend but that Christ was very much real. He said he did and we had a pretty long and thorough discussion about it all.

I guess in the back of my head I have always been worried that once the kids found out they would question whether God was real too. Had their parents been lying to them about that also?

My older kids are fine and definitely still believe in Jesus. However, it is still in the back of my mind.

Do any of you obsess about this also? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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  posted at 5:08 AM  

At 5:11 AM, Blogger Jessica said...

I'm no help. I never believed in Santa as a child. My parents were also afraid that I would be confused and think that Jesus was not real if Santa was not real. Now that I have my own child, I'm not certain how to handle it. I never felt deprived not believing in Santa. Right now my son is 2 and we are not pushing it upon him or encouraging Santa, but eventually he's going to be asking questions and I need answers. UGH!

At 5:32 AM, Blogger Brenda said...

Yeah, I never even thought about the implications before I started the whole Santa thing as a new parent. They have had so much fun with it and still believe. I'm afraid of them being upset when the find out the truth!
I found out the truth when I was 5 and just assumed Santa was a fun thing we all pretended together. I loved it.
But all he does is bring gifts that one night. I don't decorate with him. In fact, we have several toy nativity scenes and I set out a basket of Christmas books that include the Biblical story in them. I've really thought about my decorating lately and I think I'll be really careful which side of Christmas I emphasize.
But I never doubted God was real and I can't imagine my children will either because they have heard about him ALL their lives--not just in December.

At 6:33 AM, Blogger Melanie said...

Well, we don't do Santa. My parents never did for my siblings and me either. I guess I'm no help for you!

At 8:14 AM, Blogger julie said...

Thanks ladies for your input. I grew up in a pretty non religous family so Santa was big at our house. My parents became Christians after I did in High School.

I just did things like they had been done when I was a kid and now am realizing, oops, hope I didn't blow that.

I started not decorating with Santa a few years ago and do have lots of nativity items out. We talk about Jesus all the time so I am sure my kids "get" the real meaning.

I find it interesting that we all pretty much did what we had grown up with.

Thanks again for your input.


At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really don't think children have a problem separating the two once they are old enough to understand the difference between real and unreal (around 5-7). I spent the first 5 years of my life believing in Santa, but I never doubted that Jesus was real. Most children younger than five think everything is real whether it is make believe or not. I've never had a problem with kids believing in Santa because I don't think it is any different than us going along with all the other pretend things that young children do. Just my opinion!

At 2:38 PM, Blogger Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

The whole "Santa is pretend but God IS REAL" thing has led my SIL and her hubby to not do Santa at all. Kyle and I haven't quite decided WHAT to do about it all. I guess we, uh, better decide pretty quickly as this is the first Christmas that Dacey is actually understanding what is going on . . .

At 3:09 PM, Blogger Coach J said...

The way we keep Christmas centered on Christ is to downplay Santa. Yes, Santa still comes to visit, but he in no way overshadows us or the grandparents. Santa only brings a few things. The stocking is the part my kids look forward to! Neither of my kids were disappointed to learn Santa was not real, because we've not focused on him for the holiday.
We also have a birthday cake for Jesus every Christmas. My daughter loves to decorate it, and we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.

At 6:13 PM, Blogger Qtpies7 said...

We ditched Santa when we became believers for the reason you mentioned. We still keep the fun things, like stockings, though. So the kids don't feel that they are missing out.
So, basically, I am not help at all. But because Jesus is all year and Santa is not, I think that helps the kids separate the truth from the fantasy. If you only talk about Jesus at Christmas and Easter, then you may have a real worry.

At 6:42 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Found you from Raising Five. When I was a kid we didn't celebrate Christmas with Santa. It wasn't a big deal, we just always knew he was pretend but we still played along. This is how we do it in our family now. The kids still talk about what Santa might bring them, but they know he's not real. It works for us, somehow.

At 7:20 PM, Anonymous lisa said...

My husband and I weren't sure what to do either. We had heard the comment about whether children would believe in Jesus or God if they "believed" in santa and then found out he wasn't real. We came to the conclusion that we believed in Santa when we were little and it didn't affect whether we believed in Jesus. That also introduces the question, do you do the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc....? I think it is just kid fun and like a couple wise people have already commented, if Christ is a big part of your eveyday lives AND you downplay santa and put the emphasis on Jesus then they'll be ok. I only have a couple decorations with santa, but have a huge porcelain Nativity that my daughter sets out on the coffee table. We also have a tradition that we always sit down sometime either Christmas Eve or morning and read the Christmas story together as a family, talk about it and pray together.

Just my two cents worth! :-)

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

I may write about this topic at my blog soon, but for now, here are my thoughts.

We really, really downplay Santa. The girls only get one thing from Santa, and the rest is from us. Tink already REALLY suspects, and we don't try to convince her otherwise. My girls KNOW and tell others that Christmas is not for Santa, it's a time to celebrate Jesus.

I figured out the whole Santa/Easter Bunny thing for myself, and don't remember it bothering me AT ALL. However, my Grandaddy was a Scrooge all my life because when he found out there was no Santa, he was crushed to think that his Momma and Daddy had lied to him.

Anyway. I bet you'll come up with exactly the right balance for your family. And It's Christmas Already!


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I am a spontaneous, out going, daughter of the King, who is married to a wonderful guy who is a quiet, shy, non-spontaneous, scientist who also loves the Lord. Truly a match made in heaven! We fight and argue, love and laugh, every single day. I am passionate about orphan care and love to tell our story to anyone who will listen. This blog is dedicated to that journey.

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