Ask Elizabeth: Do you guys do Santa? Or Elf on the shelf?
Oh Santa! He won’t be visiting us tonight. We don’t shy away from Santa movies or Santa toys or adorable Santa mugs during Christmas but to our family and our girls, he’s no more than a Christmas character. And those Elves on the Shelf? We don’t do those either. In my opinion they are a little on the creepy side. I’m not a huge fan of the whole spying/ tattle-telling on each other thing they do. I also don’t really get why they are rude & make messes/ disobey in the middle of the night. Neither of those characteristics are ones that I want to encourage my kids to mimic!
When we decided to not do Santa it was ultimately based on not wanting to lie to our kids. For us it was important that our girls never got confused by all the Christmas stories – which ones were true and which ones were stories. We also didn’t want to betray their trust in any way. Philippians 4:8 tells us to dwell on true things, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” and Ephesians 4:25 tells us to put away falsehoods, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” We felt that playing the game of Santa and getting our kids to believe it was just not something we were comfortable with as believers and do-ers of the word.
I don’t think every Christian needs to arrive at the same conclusion that we did but I also believe that we need to live by our convictions & Holy Spirit promptings. For us that means we don’t do the whole Santa thing – coming down the chimney, leaving out cookies, better behave because he knows who is naughty & nice, etc. Instead we share how Saint Nicholas, inspired by his faith in Christ Jesus, used his wealth to give to the poor and help protect children. His life inspired the legend of Santa Claus. So Santa is a part of the Christmas season because he is a jolly man who gives gifts! We can be inspired and encouraged to be generous too.
I know some people think we are stealing the magic of Christmas away from our kids. But honestly, the miraculous & true story of Jesus’s birth is more than enough Christmas magic in our hearts and home. The savior of the world coming as a vulnerable human – fully God and yet fully man to take on all our temptations, struggles, and burdens and pay the price once and for all for our sin. No one expected that the Messiah would come like this!! So quietly, so humbly. Inviting both the lowly, outcasts (shepherds) and the wealthiest intellects (three wise men) to be part of the story. There is room for us all in the Christmas story & hope for the world!
We celebrate the generosity of the Lord and His great gift for us and that inspires and compels us to be generous as well. Christmas is more than good behavior to get what we want, it is getting what we don’t deserve and out of that abundance, giving to others!
I know everyone isn’t going to agree with me and that is okay. We feel good about where we have landed with the whole Santa/ Elf on the Shelf thing. And believe me, our Christmas season is filled with much joy & good cheer!
PS: Just because people always ask, we do let our kids know that some families pretend Santa is real and so out of kindness and respect, we let their families tell them the truth.