What About Santa?


Christmas Culture

What About Santa?

29 November 2011 Hits:3265

Before the 1931 introduction of the Coca-Cola Santa Claus, the image of Santa ranged from big to small and fat to tall. Santa even appeared as an elf and looked a bit spooky.  The modern-day Santa Claus is a combination of a number of the stories from a variety of countries.  Now, back to the question:

Christie and I made a decision many years ago that Santa would be part of our Christmas celebrations.  We made this decision for two reasons:

Firstly, Santa IS a real person – or at least WAS.  Santa Claus is Saint Nicholas, born in 270AD to a very wealthy family.  He was a committed Christian who eventually became Bishop of Myra – part of modern-day Turkey.  Due to the many miracles attributed to his ministry he was also known as Nicholas the Wonderworker!  He had a reputation for secret gift giving; in fact he eventually gave most of his family fortune away to those in need, and thus became the model for the modern-day Santa Claus. 

The second reason we include Santa in our Christmas celebrations is because children LOVE fantasy!  Ever watch a child’s eyes light up as you tell them a wonderful story?  Fantasy and role-play is vital to a child’s healthy development.  It allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, intellectual, and emotional strength. It is vital to healthy brain development as well as helping them engage and interact in the world around them. It allows children to create and explore a world they can master, and conquer their fears.

The Christian faith has been the catalyst for so much creativity over the centuries including great inventions and discoveries, music, painting and writing.  Incredible creativity that has come out the God-given imaginations of men and women created in the image of God.

Fantasy has been used over the years as a powerful tool to communicate Christian truth.  Authors like JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis expressed their Christian faith through fantasy and gave us works like Lord of the Rings and Narnia Chronicles that millions around the world are still enjoying and learning from today.

The Bible itself uses lots of imagery in an attempt to communicate spiritual truth to human beings. Since the beginning of time God has chosen to speak to people in dreams and visions, pictures, poems, songs, stories, and imagery. Jesus’ taught in parables.  God could have given us a list of things to do and not do, but rather He chose to weave truth into creative writing so that our imaginations would be stirred.

For these two reasons we have embraced Santa into our Christmas celebrations.  The children leave him and the reindeer snacks and drinks on Christmas Eve.  Santa leaves them a note and gifts – and makes a terrible mess in the process!  The kids love it – it’s a wonderful part of Christmas.  Of course our children also understand that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birthday.  They love the Lord and are growing in their faith.  Jesus is central to Christmas but that doesn’t mean that Santa has to be excluded.

Rob Buckingham

Senior Minister

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4 replies on “What About Santa?”


Wonderful wonderful writing, I’m going to make a chain email out of it since their are too many christians who are self righteous and take all the fun out of Christmas. Thanks again Rob, I’m so glad God chose you to be his messenger.

Peter Ksays:

Ps Rob

A wonderfully written article with logical and theological issues covered, with out pretending to speak for Jesus I wonder what he feels when the heart of a child is illuminated at the sight of a Santa, and that his birth is forever linked to the visual stimulas in the mind of a child?

This also goes to the debate on December 25th being the actually Jesus’s actuall birthday, in my opinion the opportunity lies in the openness the world has to Jesus in a manger and what that means for them rather than historically correcting the day itself..
The yet to be saved could be permanatly turned off Christ if the believers kick each others shins in public debates.

Nicky Schapowalsays:

Wonderfully written Rob! I so agree about the importance of fantasy and role play. I would love to know how you handle it when the girls ask you straight up “is Santa Claus real?” as so far, I haven’t known quite what to say!


I appreciate your argument about fantasy etc, and a good example, but I also feel that a lot of in modern Christian arguments is not about facing the real truth. And there is some research that links Santa to an old European pagan god. Numerous parallels have been drawn between Santa Claus and the figure of Odin, a major god amongst the Germanic peoples prior to their Christianization. (you can research all this yourselves) Catholics have invented the Saints because Christian faith was practiced by the elite like kings and aristocracy in the early days of Christianity in Europe and common people, who accepted Christianity have never let go of their pagan gods and traditions. They used to practice both in parallel. The believed in Jesus and went to church but maintained their allegiance to the pagan gods out of loyalty, fear and tradition. So the Catholic church came up with a great idea to replace these gods with “Christian examples, and deities”. And this was the beginning of dilution of the true message of God and mixing of pagan traditions with it. Lets have fantasy but why mix it with the birth of Lord Jesus, who is the one who gave us a gift of life. Why Santa is mixed up here. Why not give gifts as a symbol of Jesus’s generosity ? and to say thanks to Jesus.?? Why has a modern church just like the fist Christians still maintain a parallel tradition of Christianity and what once was a pagan tradition. Finally, St Nicholas really became a saint after Catholic church removed number 2 Commandment from the bible so that the worship of Saints could start and it now our Catcholic brothers and sisters live in this dual world or Jesus and the saints causing the message of God being lost among all these little god they can pray too. I once went to a Catcholic church and there was not even a sign of a cross in that church, just the saints and in the center of a statue of some saint. And pls dont underestimate the hold these saints have on the minds of Catholic Christians, who love Lord Jesus but are living under the spell of tradition and in confusion about the real truth. Are we not to set a clear example and teach the truth in love or are we like the early Christians holding on to both pagan traditions and real God. I am sorry for offending anyone. With Love. Basia

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