Shelbyville Daily Union

December 6, 2011

Ask the Pastor

Chase Smith, pastor Fellowship Baptist Church, Shelbyville

SHELBYVILLE, IL. — Should Christians tell their kids about Santa Claus?


I grew up believing there was a Santa Claus. My mother and father would put out milk and cookies, which my father gladly ate, and even food and water for the reindeer, which my mother put red food coloring in to make us think that Rudolph’s nose touched it. I do not remember when I found out the truth about Santa, but I do remember that I was told to not tell my little sister. It was a fun tradition, but my parents also read us the bible story, and once we all grew out of believing in Santa Claus, Christmas was about Christ.

There was such a person named Nicolas of Myra, who became a Saint by the Catholic church by giving his family’s fortune away to those in need. He did so at night so as not to get caught and even threw bags of money down chimneys. After his death, people would put out an offering for him and as the legend goes, if you were good then he would come down from heaven and replace them with gifts. There are many different tales about this man, but most of them revolve around him becoming the person we know today as Santa Claus.

The question you need to ask yourself is what do you want the true meaning of Christmas to be? If you want the true meaning of Christmas to be only about giving and receiving presents, then by all means, tell them about Santa. The kids will love it as many have in the past.

But if you want the true meaning of Christmas to be about Christ, then I would not try to forge a lie like Santa but to focus on Christ and his birth. Telling them there is a Santa is lying, and when they find out later in life they can be sad, disillusioned and even mad. I had one parent tell me that when they told their kids about Santa, one asked them “If Santa isn’t real, is Jesus?” Both give gifts, both are not seen, both are portrayed in movies and TV, and it is very easy for a child to get confused.

My wife and I made the decision to not tell our kids that Santa is real, but we do enjoy the celebration of the time. We talk about Jesus’ birth, read the Nativity story in Luke 2, and have some of our own Christmas traditions. We do not ignore Santa and even give our kids gifts, but we do not want our kids to become greedy at a time when we should be thinking how God in heaven sacrificed His greatest gift so we can have ours, a relationship with Him.

This Christmas, think about what you want your kids to remember most. The gifts they received or the life that was given to us so we can spend eternity with God.

Chase Smith is the pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Shelbyville. For more information from Chase or the church call 774-3636 or visit