Father Christmas is not real. He might not even be useful.
Jesus is so much more important than Santa Claus and of course he’s real. I wonder if another great fiction, a visitor from Mars came to our homes just before Christmas, what would he think about what we believe, and about what’s most important to us?
(Actually a Martian perspective on any day would be interesting!)
Someone pointed out to me a blog by Jen Hatmaker about Christmas excess and there’s a great quote about young children and Father Christmas.
“…There is no fake benefactor [Father Christmas] this year my kids can petition to get more stuff. Because honestly, for a five-year old, how can Jesus compete with Santa? Our children don’t have spiritual perspective. When faced with the choice of allegiance, they have a baby in a manger, or they can get a jolly, twinkling, flying character who will bring them presents. This is going to be an easy choice for them.
As importantly, it sets this tone for Christmas: Be good and you’ll get stuff, which becomes so deeply seeded, undoing that position is almost impossible. When we teach our children to understand Christmas through this lens, then tell them at nine-years old: ‘Never mind! It’s all fake! Oh, and stop being so selfish because Christmas is about Jesus’ we shouldn’t be surprised when our kids stage a mutiny and ask to move in with Grandma.
Young parents, this is so much easier to do right the first time rather than try to undo later. Give your kids the gift of a Christmas obsessed with Jesus – and no other – when they are little, and it will be their truth all their lives…”
Some of you might disagree with this and say that your children realise it’s a fantasy, or at least they soon will and it won’t damage their sense of reality and wonder about Jesus. But maybe it embeds a strange kind of expectation about Christmas and a kind of religiously endorsed idolatry that we carry into adulthood.
I’m all for the fun of Christmas traditions – God gave us many of these good things to enjoy. Just not so sure about the SC part.
Incidentally, the same blog also has an interesting suggestion about limiting the presents your children receive from family members to…
Something you want,
something you need,
something to wear,
something to read,
something to give.
Perhaps with some modification this might work for your family.