Why I Don’t Believe in Santa Claus

It’s true…I am not a big fan of Santa Claus.

My wife and I both come from a family background where we did not celebrate the Santa Claus part of Christmas. Now that we have children, we have chosen to continue this tradition in our family.

This causes some awkward conversations around this time of year. People will ask my kids if Santa is bringing them anything for Christmas…and then we tell them that we don’t do the Santa Claus thing. There is no getting around the awkward pause that follows.

So, why do we make this choice? Why not just go along with the Santa Claus story?

Below are two reasons why we have chosen not to do the Santa Claus tradition. These are my personal convictions, and I don’t judge anyone who chooses otherwise. But here is my point of view:

1. It’s a Lie

Let’s face it: telling your children the Santa Claus story is simply lying to them. Telling them that Santa goes to every house bringing presents on Christmas Eve is a fun story, but it’s a fairytale. For many parents, this is just a fun and harmless tradition, but I can’t do it. I would see it as lying to my kids.

Kids fight to the death to defend their belief in Santa Claus. Why is this? Because they have no reason to believe that their parents would lie to them. “If mom and dad said it’s true, it must be true.”

Kids believe whatever their parents tell them so they have every reason to believe the Santa Claus story. But at some point, they will find out it’s all make-believe. And when they do, why would they have any reason to trust their parents about other things. Why would they have any reason to believe in God?

You tell your child about a magical character who sees all of your good and bad deeds, can practically be everywhere at once, and brings gifts to those who are good. At the same time you tell them about a God they cannot see, who is all-knowing, and all-present. Why would a kid believe in God after they find out Santa is a lie? Until a child’s faith becomes their own, their belief in God is based primarily on their parents’ faith.

To some this seems petty, but I feel that it is a possible means of breaking a kid’s trust, and that is not a risk worth taking in my opinion.

2. It’s a Distraction

If the purpose of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ, what place does Santa Claus play in it? How does it do anything but serve as a distraction?

Listen to the Christmas radio station and you can easily see this dynamic at work. A great Christmas hymn, declaring the birth of Christ, is followed by “Hear Comes Santa Claus.” It is as if they are in competition with each other for people’s attention and focus.

I think Christmas is a great time to be with family. Giving gifts to each other is a nice tradition. But who can deny how much Christmas has become commercialized?

I personally can’t see how celebrating Santa Claus can be anything but a diversion from the true meaning of Christmas. Whether or not December 25th is the real birthday of Christ (and it is not) it is a great custom to pause yearly and contemplate the incarnation of Christ; how God became a man to make a way for our salvation.

To me, the Santa Claus story is not compatible with the true meaning of Christmas.

Am I “depriving” my Children?

Some people ask “How can you deprive your children like that?” As someone who grew up without Santa Claus, I can say without hesitation that I never felt deprived. In fact, I liked knowing that my parents were honest with us about it.

There is security in knowing that your parents are trustworthy. I have seen parents tell little “white” lies to their kids to cover for something or solve a momentary problem. This may have short-lived results, but the long-term fruit will be negative.

I think the same is true about Santa Claus. Again, this is my personal conviction. I am sure that many kids move right along after finding out Santa isn’t true. But as a parent, I can’t justify it.

I don’t believe in Santa Claus.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any reasons for or against the Santa Claus tradition?

11 Responses to “Why I Don’t Believe in Santa Claus”

  1. These are the EXACT reasons we don’t “do” Santa. We are always judged by people for this decision, but I tell my children that I NEVER lie to them, and that’s the truth!

  2. knsongbird@gmail.com says:

    Jake! This is GREAT! I really respect you and Anna for this beautiful tradition of honesty! I believed in Santa as a child. I found out the truth when I was only 6 because my parents were struggling financially. I made a significant connection between the number of gifts under the tree and the measure of my good behavior combined with how well Santa liked my note and plate of cookies. I was indeed a troublesome child but I was hoping my good had outweighed my bad in Santa’s eyes and also hoped my heartfelt note and homemade cookies might help my cause. When I awoke to find less than my desired amount of gifts, I was very disappointed. Not in Santa. Certainly not in my parents because I had no idea that they were even involved. I was disappointed in myself. I was not good enough. And Santa must not have liked my note. After all, gifts are “rewards” for good behavior. My parents were very troubled by my response that Christmas morning. They felt that the only right thing to do was to tell me the truth. So they did. And I was completely devastated for one reason . . . . i could not believe that my parents had been lying to me. I was so angry and I felt so betrayed. And so my reasoning followed. What about the Easter Bunny? and the Tooth Fairy? . . . . What about Jesus? I spent most of the morning in my room. And then I felt sorry for my parents. Because they were sorry. And because I realized that all of my gifts were actually from them because they loved me!!!! Not from Santa based on the good standing my behavior might earn. And then it didn’t matter to me how many gifts were under the tree. Because I was loved. I forgave my parents. But they did strictly forbid me from telling my friends. But of course I went right to school and gathered a group of my peers to let them in on the truth of this mass deception that all of our parents and grownups of the world were lying to our entire generation!!! That did not go over very well as I am sure you can imagine!

    Thank you for writing this. I sincerely appreciate your stance and plan to do the same when Chris and I start a family!

    • Thanks for the comments and for sharing your story! It helps bring the issue into real life perspective from the eyes of a child…I’m glad you were blessed by the article, and glad you plan to take the same stance with your future kids!

      -Jake

  3. Gabriel Whittemore says:

    I’m so glad I saw this! I’m very thankful somebody shared this on Facebook. This reminds me of the talks we had back in the day. I agree with this completely. My sisters and I were raised not believing in Santa. We actually picked on our cousins for believing in something, we thought was silly. I enjoy the songs they play on the radio, but that’s as far as it goes with my Santa experiences. Hope you and your family are doing well! I’ll be looking forward to reading more from you!

  4. Thanks Jake for telling the truth about Santa Claus, it is true that parents lie to their children about him and that is wrong, because when they start speaking to them about God or Jesus Christ they are not going to believe, because they [the parents]had already lie to them. So as Christians we have to pray that someday someone will bring them to the Light, and pray that they’ll forgive their parents for not being truthful to them. God Bless you for being honest.

  5. It’s refreshing knowing that other people share this conviction. Even among our Christian friends, we are a minority, which isn’t a terrible thing until people get angry or even offended that we don’t celebrate in this way. I have a question that I am hoping you or someone readin could help with…what do (or would) you say to a child that you know does believe in Santa when they ask you why you or your child doesn’t believe?

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Rachel! As far as your question goes: we try to not make a big deal about it with other people. I would just say something like, “We just don’t do that part of Christmas” or “We just focus on the birth of Jesus.” We always let our kids know that some people choose to celebrate Santa Claus and that it is not our/their place to be critical of them, etc. I hope that helps!

  6. Great Article! Oh man this is such a hard one for me, though I do agree with everything you said. We actually ended up doing the Santa thing with our kiddos, but if I’m honest, it was probably more because I caved to fear and societal pressures (especially what will our families think?) When I was a kid and found out Santa wasn’t real, I was disappointed, but it didn’t shake my confidence in my parents (or my belief in God) because I knew my parents were pretending, and I do think there’s a difference between pretending and lying. But that doesn’t mean that other kids (including my own) might not feel like we were lying to them. What my husband and I have decided to do is tell our kids from the beginning that there is a secret about Santa that we will tell them if they figure it out. (Of course, the secret being that mom and dad are Santa). That way, they won’t feel betrayed because we told them from the beginning that there was something more to the Santa thing. We also avoid anything that ties Santa to behavior. I don’t want my kids’ motivation to “behave” to be because Santa is watching and will bring them toys. I want them to desire to behave out of hearts that love God and understand the wisdom in obeying His commands. On Christmas morning, each of our children gets 3 gifts and we discuss the significance of each of the 3 gifts Jesus received. Basically we spend the whole season trying to elevate Jesus and minimize Santa. But I don’t know. None of what I just said makes me able to shake the feeling that this whole thing isn’t necessary. Like maybe I’m trying to make it “Jesus plus Santa.” Why am I putting so much effort into maintaining a story that means nothing compared to the incomparable joy that Christ offers because He came at Christmas? John Piper wrote a good article about this too. I just read it today (just a few hours after I saw this one!). I think my husband and I have some more taking and praying to do. Thanks so much for sharing your
    Perspective. It was convicting for this mama!

    • Hey Leslie,

      Thanks for sharing your journey on this topic! I appreciate your thoughts and perspective and trust that God will lead you and your husband.

      God Bless,

      Jake

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *