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Telling Children the Truth about Santa

Monday Mailbag Q&A


Do you tell your children about Santa Claus? Why or why not?


This week’s question is one that has been posed to us often over the years — especially back when all our children were little. Do we tell our kids about Santa?

The answer is yes and no.

Teaching Children the Truth about Santa

If by “telling” you mean, have we made our children aware of all the Santa hype that surrounds the Christmas season, then we’d have to respond affirmatively. We’ve had many discussions about such things.

Although Santa has never been our primary focus at Christmas, our kids are familiar with him and his backstory. For a child to grow to adulthood without ever hearing about Santa Claus would mean he’d been very sheltered indeed.

Telling Children the Truth about Santa

So our children have watched movies like Elf. They have memorized poems such as The Night Before Christmas. And they’ve worn red velvet caps to ring the bell for Salvation Army. A few of the braver ones have even been photographed sitting in Santa’s lap.

Bell Ringing for Salvation Army

We have enjoyed all these things in much the same way that we’ve enjoyed watching Beauty and the Beast. Or reading The Lord of the Rings. Or dressing up in Star Wars costumes. It’s fun, but everyone knows it’s all make-believe.

Star Wars Premier - Episode 7

However, if by “telling your kids about Santa Claus” you mean, have we led them to believe that Santa Claus delivers their presents or spies on them in their sleep, the answer is no. We have never taught them that.

Our family views Santa in much the same way as we view evolution. To be completely unfamiliar with either of those topics is to be culturally illiterate.

Separating Fact from Fiction

So we discuss these matters, being careful to always and only teach our children the truth. And that’s the case whether we’re talking about Santa, evolution, God, biology, or any other topic.

FACT: There really was a Christian bishop by the name of Saint Nicholas who lived in the fourth century and was known for his generosity toward the poor. (Likewise, a species really can change and adapt to its environment — a process known as micro-evolution.)

FACT: Saint Nicholas was persecuted for his faith. He was even imprisoned by the Roman emperor Diocletian for refusing to deny Jesus as God. (By the same token, Charles Darwin spent five years aboard the ship HMS Beagle as their Naturalist before writing Origin of the Species).

FACT: St. Nick does not circumvent the globe on Christmas Eve in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. (Nor does one species magically turn into another. Fish will never grow feet and fur and start swinging from trees, no matter how many millions and billions of years you give them to do so).

FACT: Santa doesn’t keep tabs on whether you’ve been bad or good — but God does. (In the same way, man and monkeys share certain similarities not because they have a common evolutionary ancestor, but because they have a common Creator).

We think there’s a place for fantasy and fiction and fun and games, but we take care to only present them as such. We value our children’s trust and never wish to abuse it. Childlike faith is a precious thing, and we wouldn’t want to see it misplaced.

We want our children to know that the things we teach them as TRUTH, we believe with all our hearts, and that we would never knowingly deceive them about anything. In our opinion, no Christmas tradition is worth calling that fact into question.

What are your thoughts? How have you handled the Santa Claus question in your family?

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  1. Hello, my kids 10, 8 and 4 months old have been hearing the exact same truths. Like you, I would hate to knowingly deceive them.
    All glory be to God!

    1. That’s great, Erika. Keep up the good work. May the Lord bless your efforts to ground your children in the Truth! ❤️

  2. How do we handle Santa here? Same exact way as you! They know about St.Nick, but we do not do Santa Claus. It’s still lots of fun watching movies (LOVE Elf!), reading books, coloring, doing activity books, buying ornaments or decorations with Santa though!….because he’s a fun Christmas CHARACTER.?

      1. We did! And funny thing is, I pulled it out again this year and everyone acted like they never heard the questions before so we got to have fun all over again. It’s unanimously decided that we loved that quiz the best!?

    1. Haha! That happens to me sometimes, too. I’ve taken some of my Christmas quizzes multiple times, and still get stumped by a couple of questions on each. And I made them up! On the Elf quiz, I forget which of the things listed Buddy actually apologized for, because he did them all!

  3. I love you for all of the wonderful things you do for your family! I’ve been telling my daughter who is seven now that I am santa claus since she was 3 years old and she doesn’t believe me.

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