Christian Parenting: The Santa Clause

This is the concern of responsible Christian parents. In case you can't read it: "Dear Children, one day you will learn everything about Santa Clause. On that day, remember everything the adults have told you about Jesus."

Christmas (with the possible exception of Easter and that rabbit) is probably the most difficult holiday for Christians.  Seriously. We have to figure out how to deal with the fun stuff of Christmas–you know, gift-giving, flying reindeer and jolly elves in red suits with the real (and true) reason we celebrate–the God-man coming to earth to deliver humanity from condemnation.

We certainly want our kids to enjoy the holiday, but we want to do it for the right reasons and in the right way.  For some, it’s an easy decision while others really struggle.  So what’s the right approach?

Growing up with Santa Clause myself, Karen and I struggled with whether or not to let our children enjoy Santa.  Though, admittedly, we did play the role with Jacob until a couple of years ago, we have decided to take a different approach with Drew.  As I have been on both sides of the issue, it’s not my intention to cast judgment on parents who struggle in making the right decisions (in the midst of trying not to become the most hated people in the neighborhood for ruining their kids’ Christmas!  “What?? There’s no Santa! Whaaa!”  You get the picture), but to offer some perspective and help engage in the dialogue.

Compatible?

To that end, Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle has written a helpful article for The Washington Post that may encourage you in your decision-making.  Here’s an excerpt:

When it comes to cultural issues like Santa, Christians have three options: (1) we can reject it, (2) we can receive it, or (3) we can redeem it.

Since Santa is so pervasive in our culture, it is nearly impossible to simply reject Santa as part of our annual cultural landscape. Still, as parents we don’t feel we can simply receive the entire story of Santa because there is a lot of myth built on top of a true story.

Can there be any sort of redemption to the story of Santa Clause for your family?  Is it totally incompatible with the celebration of a Christian holiday?  If you’re a parent who is trying to take a balanced approach in dealing with the Santa issue, I encourage you to read the rest of the article here.  After you do, I’d love to hear your take on the subject.  Do you agree with Mark’s approach?  Which of the three options are you a proponent of?  If you’re a parent, how have you handled it with your own children and how did you arrive at your conclusion?