Dear Vonnie - Santa and Stockings?

Sorry for this "re-run" post, but I think it's a question that comes up each year.

Dear Vonnie,

As a Christian parent/grandparent, what is your take on Santa, the tooth fairy, etc…


“Make Believe” is a fun game. You can be anything, like a bear or cowboy. You can go anywhere, like Africa or the moon. You can pretend anything, like a tooth fairy or Santa.

A child’s world is full of imagination and there’s nothing wrong with that … as long as they know the difference between pretend and real, between imaginary and the truth.

Many a child has had an imaginary friend or pet, especially if they are an only child or like to play alone. A parent may even play along sometimes.

The danger comes when the child is allowed, or encouraged, to defend its authenticity … or even worse, when the parent tries to convince him that it is real, when he doubts or questions it. He should be reminded every once in awhile that it is just pretend. There should also be times and places when the pretend needs to be “left at the door”; such as church or a guest’s house.

By the time a youngster is five years old, they should know that the stories in the Bible are true, that Jesus did marvelous things that only God can do. They should realize that Superman and the Fairy Godmother are only pretend and cannot help them. In this age of television and movies, the line of fact and fiction becomes blurry.

Imagination that is allowed to control the household, or held to stubbornly, becomes a lie, and must be dealt with as such. An imaginary friend should never be able to take the blame for disobedience or be used for an excuse for laziness.

My kids knew that there wasn’t a real tooth fairy, but left their tooth under their pillow for a quarter. They knew it was me, and if things were hectic and I forgot, they might say, “Mama, you forgot my tooth, “ and I‘d answer, “Just take a quarter out of the money jar.”

(Last Christmas, we got a speacial gift! Carter was born Dec.26)

As far as Santa Claus, they didn’t write him or sit on his knee. We watched the cartoons of "Frosty" and "Rudolph", but not ones like "Miracle on 34th Street" that proved Santa, until they were older. Christmas Eve was spent at church hearing Scripture and songs that honored the birth of Christ. They did hang stockings, but with the knowledge that we would fill them with snacks and gifts to keep them busy on Christmas morning.

Faith is believing in something that you can’t see. If a child finds that you have deceived him about the tooth fairy and Santa, why should they believe you about God? Be sure that they know the difference between pretend and real.

No Santa at eight, no Stork at ten, no God at twelve.

(Dont' forget to post a comment with your favorite Christmas food to win Micah's CD.)


vjc said...

Vonnie, One challenge we faced when our kids were young is that they see Santa. We couldn't say he didn't exist when he was at the mall, in the parade, etc. But we did explain to them that Santa/St. Nick were based on a real person who did kind things for children and that people dress up to remember that kindness. Just like sometimes people dress up like Jesus in an Easter play to remember what He did for us by dying on the cross. The difference, of course, is that St. Nicholas was a man, and Jesus was God so we can know by faith that Jesus still lives and loves us.

When store clerks would ask what Santa was bringing my kids, they'd usually answer, "Grandma and Grandpa give better gifts!" It was another lesson that knowing the source of the gift personally gives extra value to the gift.

Yvonne said...

Oh, I love that reply! Thanks for the comment.

LauraLee Shaw said...

What a great post, Vonnie, filled with balance and wisdom! Love you!

Yvonne said...

Thanks Laura and Val! Do you have a favorite Christmas food to be in the CD drawing?


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