Merry Christmas

“So you’re not going to tell your child about Santa Claus?!”

Here we go, I thought.

“Of course I am.”

The relief on her face was beyond obvious.

“I’m going to tell her that some of her friends believe that Santa Claus brings them presents on Christmas day and that’s okay… but in our household, we don’t.”

You would have thought that I’d said that my child couldn’t eat for two weeks. She was appalled and said as much.

“Look, lady! She’s TWO. I highly doubt she’ll be scarred for her entire freakin’ life because she doesn’t believe some fat dude slides down our ‘for decorative purposes only’ fireplace and drops off a pink Radio Flyer tricycle!”

Nah, I didn’t say that. I wanted to. But I’s saved. And it’s Christmas. But had she caught me around Columbus Day?! Whew.

Here’s the thing: Whether a child believes that Santa is as white as snow (side eye to you Megyn Kelly) or, like I did, grows up believing Santa is as black as a beautiful night (dap to you, Denene) is of no consequence to me. I don’t judge that. In fact, either way, it’s cool with me.

But because my husband and I have decided to lay as a foundation for our child the birth of Christ as the central event of the season, I get labeled as a mean mommy? (And yeah, yeah, yeah, for all my pseudo-intellectuals out there, I know Jesus wasn’t born on Dec. 25th, just like Martin Luther King wasn’t born on whatever day the third Monday in January falls on either, but I bet you’ll be singing “We Shall Overcome” and trying to get off work though, huh?)

No Bueno!

I’m always curious why as parents we are so quick to judge each other on the most insignificant things but offer leniency on the stuff that really impacts us all. Let a mom breastfeed in public and the prudes go wild. But let a ratchet momma beat up another ratchet momma at a child’s basketball game and folks can’t wait to get on YouTube or WorldStar to laugh and share it with thousands of people.

*scratches head*

It’s insanity.

And just in case you are one of my super-saved saints who’s high fivin’ your screen and shouting “Hallelujah!” because I said that I don’t allow my child to believe in Santa, don’t get excited just yet. I see y’all too. Walking in the mall and turning your nose up at the line of kids waiting to sit on Santa’s lap. You’re wrong. The decision that my husband and I have made is, yes, rooted in our beliefs about the Christmas holiday, but it is in no way an indictment of anyone else who chooses to do something different.

How can I in one breath denounce a parent for allowing their child to believe in Santa Claus just because I don’t, but allow my child to dance around the house believing that a fictional, purple dinosaur named Barney is real?

Is it possible to have a child believe in Santa Claus and still teach them about the birth of a Savior, the true meaning of Christmas?


And just because it’s not a choice of mine, doesn’t mean that I don’t know Moms and Dads that do it and do it well.

So here’s a notion: Instead of being offended by someone who says “Happy Holidays” to you as opposed to “Merry Christmas” because you think that society is trying to “X” out Christ from Christmas, let’s be offended that there will be thousands of children who won’t have a Christmas at all because their parents can’t afford a tree or presents or a decent meal as their medical bills (acquired because they couldn’t afford health insurance) have them drowning in debt?

Instead of wasting time questioning me about why I decided to not allow my child to believe in Santa or condemning another parent because they do, maybe we can use all that energy to figure out ways we can serve those who struggle with spiritual, mental, or emotional disease so they don’t feel the need to run up in a school and shoot our babies.

And maybe, just maybe Christ IS being X’d out of Christmas in our culture. I won’t argue that. But wouldn’t it be prudent to make sure that we don’t X Him out of our hearts by being ugly and hypercritical with each other on the very day God sent Him to change the world?

Just a thought.

* * *

This post is the latest in Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts’ “Faith & Motherhood” series.

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Tracey Michae'l

Tracey Michae'l is a writer and educator based out of the Philadelphia area. She is a wife to William and a mother to a beautiful two-year old little girl. You can find her on the web at


  1. I really enjoyed reading this post. I agree that the debate of Jesus, Vs. Santa is causing more of a divide in not only the body of Christ but amongst parents. Tracey, you know me personally and you know how vitally important Jesus is to me and my family. Larry and I told Aunna and Lilly and still remind them daily the true story of Jesus birth, burial and resurrection. But I also allow them to take photos with Santa, decorate the house with Santas and explained to her that Santa represents the spirit of giving. A spirit that God wants us to exemplify. She knows he is not real, but rather a representation of what God really wants His people to do, which is to give…. give love, give forgiveness, give and spread His message of Christ.

    It may seem like a lot of work, but parenting is a lot of work. I take the time to explain these things so Aunna and Lilly will not be caught up in a “White Santa” or even a “White Jesus” theory as far as I am concerned. My girls know that Jesus and Santa are no color. White people may see them white, we being black, say they are both of African descent and then leave it at that. Aunna and I laugh and then we move on to another topic like how many fruit snacks she is allowed that day (smile).

  2. Nice article! We had this conversation at Small Group two weeks ago.

    I loved our theologian minded preacher’s approach… St. Nicholas was a 6th century bishop who gave presents to children in… I can’t remember the date or the country right now. But they give their son one “Santa” gift and St. Nick will always be real because of the history.

    With all the families it was cool to hear the experiences growing up (Christian and non-Christian) and experiences they wanted for their kids.

    Back to you…I love people who speak truth… It’s not cool to judge either way.

  3. Wonderful post! I’m still torn about how we are going to approach Christmas with my daughter (who is 16 months right now and could care less, but next year…). We are not Christians, and so we have to figure out how to explain to her the Christian background and influence on the season, I suppose by having the “many people believe this, but we do not” discussion. I’m also on the fence about Santa Claus – I have so many wonderful childhood memories that revolve around Santa (mine was white as snow, my daughter’s will be lovely light brown just like her), the belief in him infused so much magic into the season for me…. but was it necessary? Or does it just put an unecessary focus on materialism? Like you point out, all of this arguing and needing to validate our beliefs by seeing them reflected in the greater society detracts from the real “reason for the season.” Love.

    • Thank you so much for commenting, Kathleen. I don’t think I even thought about it from the perspective of a non-Christian explaining the holiday to their child…but I would assume the same struggles apply in the sense that you have to define something clearly to a child who still may not quite understand or may have a very simplistic (songs, presents, good food, happy times) view of the season.

  4. Like you Tracey, my husband and I decided to have our children not to believe in Santa. She hasn’t been deeply troubled because of it. She understands about St. Nick and we have taught her to respect her friends decisions to believe differently. The excitement is still there and there are still great memories that had been made. I wish people would spend more time taking care of people instead of ripping them to pieces.

  5. I think that could be possible since Santa is the one giving gifts on the birthday of Jesus Christ. 🙂
    Kids would discover things as they grow up and would decide what to believe and what could be the reasons.

  6. Why don’t I get this blog please sign me up. I’m so glad my children experienced the Joy of waiting for Santa as I did as a child! The love of Christ is strong and they know the importance of Christ in our lives ALL year! I just love your point a view Tracey! Thank you.

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