The “Jesus” vs. “Santa” Controversy

Dear Dr. Bill,

Before our kids were born, my wife and I decided we wouldn’t teach them about Santa Claus — because we didn’t want him to replace Jesus as the reason for this season.  But we’ve been getting criticism from our family, friends and now even from members of our own church.  They say that we’re spoiling our kids’ imagination.  I’m frustrated because I feel like my church, the one place that should encourage the truth, is betraying me!  What should I do?


Dear Sam,

I appreciate your dedication to biblical truth, but frankly, I think you need to relax.  Here’s how you might talk to your kids about this the Santa vs. Jesus controversy:

“It’s fun to believe in Santa, but we know that believing in Jesus is what’s most important.  He is our Lord and Savior, and a relationship with him gives our lives true meaning and purpose.

Families all over the world have stories about a person like Santa Claus, and young children love to believe in him.  Santa represents good things, like kindness, generosity, and joy.”

You can also tell your children about the real Saint Nicolas, who Santa Claus is based on.  He was born in Turkey, about two hundred years after Jesus.  He was a Christian, and when he was a teenager he heard about a poor family that couldn’t afford to buy food.

He sneaked up to their house one night and tossed a handful of gold coins through the window. They were overjoyed when they found the coins the next morning, but they never learned who did it.

Nicholas was so thrilled about helping a family in need that he dedicated his entire life to giving to others.

Thanks for writing, Sam.  If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “questions” tab on the Family Expert page.

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