Posted by: kinderbach | November 29, 2012

Santa Claus and make believe

I had an interesting conversation with my friend, Deanna about Santa Claus.  She, like me, has older children who are past the ‘believing’ age.  She was asked how to handle the topic of Santa with young children.  It’s one of those gray areas in child rearing.  We don’t want to take the magic away and yet we are basically lying to our children if we profess these myths.  So what to do?

I guess that is why Deanna and I are being asked these questions by young moms.  If this is your dilemma, I can only offer my experience.  I can’t ever remember believing in Santa.  I do remember my mom telling me that she would only tell me the truth and that is why she didn’t repeat the stories.  Sounds like a line from “Miracle on 34th Street”.  That mom, Dory, was right contrary to the plot.  Truth is far better for our kids.  Growing up this way didn’t squelch my love of that movie!  We have to watch it Thanksgiving day every year.  It’s tradition to my children.


The truth did not hinder my creativity or imagination as you know just by looking at the cast of characters in KinderBach.  I read voraciously as a child and loved being submerged in another world, no lack of invention.  Thanks to my mother, I always knew the difference between fact and fantasy.  It doesn’t mean I had less enjoyment.

How did I deal with Santa with my own kids?  (I think you are going to like this.)  I told them the truth with a little supposing on how history has played out.  Santa or Father Christmas or St. Nicholas was a real person who lived a long time ago.  He actually was a minister or priest in the church – my kids understood ‘pastor’.  He loved Jesus and children very much so he gave gifts to all the kids he knew to celebrate Christ’s birth.  He used to leave the presents at people’s houses because he didn’t want a lot of attention.  He was giving to honor God, not expecting praise.  People thought this was such a great idea that they kept giving gifts to others on Christmas even after he died.  They gave gifts from “St. Nicholas” so they would remain anonymous.

As the story of Father Christmas spread from one country to another, people would add their own ideas to suite their traditions.  So today we have the imaginary Santa Claus who everyone pretends is real because we want to remember to be kind and give gifts to others.  Children have no trouble understanding make believe.  I stressed this point; EVERYONE pretends.  That is why we have so many books about Santa and also why the stories are not the same.  We are all playing make believe.  In order to participate and have full stockings on Christmas day, kids must keep pretending too.

Did I take my kids to see Santa at the mall?  Yes, if the line was short.  Did we watch Santa movies?  Absolutely.  Did we hang our stockings Christmas Eve?  Yup.  We even left cookies and milk.  It’s all part of the game.  EVERYONE pretends.  We had a great time!  This is ‘make believe’ for all people and my kids had a wonderful experience ‘playing’ it with the world outside our home.


Why did I do it this way?  When Brock was about 5, he watched “The Santa Clause” on TV and he asked me, “Can I believe in Santa if I want to?”  That movie is really convincing to a little guy.  I told him, “You can believe in anything you want.  I have told you the truth as I know it because I want you to know that I will always tell you the truth.  I didn’t repeat stories about Santa because he is not real.  God is real.  Jesus is real.  When I tell you about God, you know I am telling you the truth and you can believe it.”

There is my experience for what it is worth.  I kept the honesty and the fantasy.  Win win!

Keep making music together,

Karri Gregor



  1. great discussion. I love the balance. win win!

  2. I tell my children the truth about Santa Clause too. We don’t leave out cookies and milk though. I tell my children the whole truth about Christmas in general and even about it’s pagan origins when they’re old enough to understand that. I don’t put up a Christmas tree and I try to stay away from any of the traditions with pagan origins- which, I guess, would be anything having to do with Christmas, wouldn’t it?lol. The only reason we put much effort into it is because we have some very close relatives who are extremely offended if we don’t participate so to honor my husband and his family I go along with it, being very careful to remain very truthful with my children. Like you, I don’t want them to think I’m lying to them when it comes to the most important thing of all to celebrate- Jesus. 🙂

  3. I like that ! Thanks for sharing

  4. We tell the Children about the original Santa: Saint Nic. He really was a person, he was a wonderfully, faithful, and loving servent of the Lord, We talk about his purpose and original intent of gift giving at Christmas time. (the celebration of the birth of the Lord.) And we talk about his origins: The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

    Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day, December 6th (December 19 on the Julian Calendar).

    Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas’ life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need.

    We talk about how we continue on his legacy of giving gifts in order to give honor and to give Glory to Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. He gave gifts because he wanted to share God’s love for us and for humanity so others would have the joy that only comes from Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. We do the same even today in the effort to keep him alive in our heats and continue his work. Now, it’s your turn, to be the Santa for all of the one who come after you, the little ones… Would you like that. It’s a very special job. I knew you would. This really touches my heart. I love you little one.

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