Is Santa evil? and other Christmas questions

Christmas has gotten a lot more complicated since I was a kid. 

Part of the simplicity of childhood, I suppose, was because I was the recipient of the gift giving, cooking, and decorating, not the one doing all the work. (I hear every woman out there saying Amen!) Another part, however, goes beyond the physical labor of the season and takes a spiritual jump into the whys and hows of the holiday. 

Although I knew as a child that Christmas was Jesus’ birthday, the glitz and glamor of the season greatly overshadowed this very important fact. When I became a Christian at age 18 and began to understand and experience Christmas in all its fullness, it became both increasingly wonderful and increasingly complicated. Add a few children into the mix and suddenly, my husband and I were asking questions that had never occurred to us before. 

What place does Santa Claus have in the Christmas celebration? Does gift giving model God’s love for us, or is it a distraction from the spirituality of the season? Should we read the Christmas story (Luke 2) before we open gifts, after we open gifts, or not at all? Are Christmas trees wrong because of their dubious history that includes ancient Egyptian and Chinese pagan rituals or right because Martin Luther supposedly hung lighted candles on an evergreen tree in 16th century Germany? 

These few questions were the tip of the iceberg for us. As first generation Christian parents, we knew we’d be setting a family precedent with our choices and wanted to make the best decisions for our children. 

Asking other parents didn’t help. There were those who were convinced that Santa was simply Satan with the letters rearranged. Others had no concern that the droll little man in the red fur suit would confuse their little cherubs. Some told stories of how they served dinner to the homeless every Christmas day while others shared recipes for the five course family feast they’d been planning for a month. 

We listened, asked questions, sought wise counsel, and prayerfully settled on the traditions and customs that make our family celebration unique. We’ve come to realize that the Holy Spirit who lives inside every believer is fully capable of directing each family to the traditions that honor and glorify God. These traditions will differ from family to family, and that’s OK. What’s important is that each family gives thoughtful, prayerful consideration to how God would have them worship during this holy season. 

If you’re still figuring it out, I encourage you to read Romans 14, one of the most helpful passages of Scripture we found relating to the subject. 

May you and your family enjoy a blessed celebration of our precious Savior’s birth. 

One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.
(Romans 14:5) 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Christmas traditions. Do you have a favorite one? Share your thoughts in the comment box below and join the conversation.


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  1. LOVE THIS! Thanks, Lori. I know as a mom of young children, I always struggled with what to do with Santa as a Christian. We finally came to the same place as you. We let God direct us for our family, and we rested in that place with great joy.

    One of my favorite traditions was to do something different each of the "twelve days of Christmas" for someone else -- sometimes secretly, which was great fun. We did simple things that we could manage, but it gave our children such excitement to see what fun thing we'd do for someone else today -- and they especially liked the secret things. Our biggest one was making a meal for a family in need and leaving it on their doorstep and running like crazy without getting caught. We never found out if they got it or a dog did, but we had a blast doing it, and we just had to trust that God was able to preserve the meal. Ha!

    1. Jean,
      I LOVE your 12 days of Christmas idea. It makes me wish we'd had this conversation twenty years ago! But hopefully readers will benefit from your great idea. And I"m certainly going to pass it along to my daughter, who's just beginning her parenting adventure. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love the way you point your readers to the Scriptures~ I shared a little bit about Santa on my blog today: So thankful to meet others who are focused on the reason for the season~ Merry Christmas!


  3. If you do your research and don't just blindly follow the world, you'll find that Jesus wasn't born in Dec, that it was a pagan holiday that pagans didn't want to give up. Even as they found Jesus, they didn't want to give up their traditions. The truth is out there, and very interesting!