That is the question. Bennett is still too little to really get into Santa and understand what that whole thing is all about, but one day he will want to know about this man in the red suit and I want to be ready for it.
My husband and I have had some discussions this holiday season and here’s what we’ve decided. I want Bennett to choose what he believes in. This includes everything from talking animals to Santa to Jesus. God created us with a will and has given us the freedom to choose what we believe. Obviously, I pray that Bennett chooses to believe in Christ and I will teach him that Jesus is real and live out Christ’s love as best I can throughout the year, but the decision to accept Jesus is Bennett’s.
So, Jesus will be the center of my house at Christmas and any other time of year. That means I won’t be the one introducing him to Santa Claus. I won’t set out cookies or say his presents came from Santa. At least, not yet. Not until he tells me that he wants to do those things. Bennett’s imagination will be the guide to how we do Santa Claus. So, just like I would make a sword out of aluminum foil for him to kill his imaginary dragon, I will put out cookies for imaginary Santa to eat. It’s pretend, imaginary, childhood.
Then, when he is old enough to start questioning Santa’s existence, we’ll have a talk about the jolly old man in red and where his story came from. There’s this great Veggie Tales video St. Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving which does a really great job of explaining the story of St. Nicholas and how we eventually turned that story into Santa Claus. (It’s watch instantly on netflix or just click on the link and it will take you to the video.) Hopefully, since Jesus has been the center of our home and the holiday season, when Bennett realizes that Santa isn’t an actual person, he’ll be able to see Jesus in Santa’s story. And hopefully see Jesus’ Story in other stories he reads, movies he watches, or songs he listens to throughout his life.
So, instead of rejecting Santa, I plan to redeem him. At least, that’s the plan. This could go terribly wrong and Bennett need therapy because he thinks his parents are liars, but, let’s be honest, he’ll probably need therapy for all the other stuff I mess up in his life.
We did put Bennett on Santa’s lap this year and by the looks of it, he probably won’t want anything to do with him, so I won’t have to worry about any of this anyway.
Please post in the comments section how you do (did) Santa in your home. Obviously, I’m still figuring it out and I’d love some advice!