Father Christmas, now widely seen as the Santa Claus figure, dates back to the 16th century in England during the reign of Henry VIII. He’s pictured as a large man in green or scarlet robes lined with fur. He symbolized the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, bringing peace, joy, and good food.
Saint Nicholas of Myra was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop. He was recognized for his generous gifts to the poor and was very religious from an early age, devoting his life entirely to Christianity. During the Middle Ages, children were bestowed gifts in his honor.
In 1821 New York, the book, A New-Year’s Present, to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve, was published. It contained an anonymous poem, Old Santeclaus, describing an old man on a reindeer sleigh, bringing presents to children. Modern ideas of Santa Claus came to be after the anonymous publication of a poem in the Troy, New York, Sentinel on December 23, 1823. The poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas (better known today as The Night Before Christmas) was later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore.
Lots of people these days seem to think that Santa Claus is no longer politically correct. WOW! Did that shock you? Many won’t tell their young children about Santa because they say they don’t want to lie to them. REALLY?
I’m a grandmother and I believed in Santa back in the 1960s. No harm came to me and I did not suffer from believing in a magical person that came delivering a bundle of toys he had flung on his back:
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes – how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
I will admit that I never saw Santa in person and I didn’t ever get a chance to sit on his lap and tell him my wishes but I did write letters to him. Talking about Santa wouldn’t be complete with mentioning the North Pole, elves, reindeer, and sleigh. I have fond memories of Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. They’re all from my childhood and believing in any of them did not damage me.
My adult children knew about Santa when they were children. They knew even more about him than I did. They got to see him during the month of December in a store or mall. They got to sit on his lap and talk to him to tell him their wishes. Sometimes Santa would come to their school or show up in a parade. They have photos taken with Santa that they can look back at and recall their memories. However, I will admit, my kids and later on the grandbabies had to be in the mood to see Santa. I know you’ve seen the photos of kids crying while sitting on Santa’s lap, right? I guess he could seem a bit scary to some of the little ones while others love him and want to sit on his lap and talk to him.
Now with modern technology, my grandbabies have received phone calls from Santa, received personalized videos from Santa via the computer, and have tracked him online the night before Christmas via NORAD’s Santa Tracker. This techie Grammy (yes, I love new tech, gadgets, and awesome computer software) always manages to take a photo of the Christmas tree at night, all lit up with guess who standing next to it? YES, Santa himself. The grandbabies are so surprised when they see the photo the next morning on Grammy’s iPhone – proof that Santa was here! Of course they also check and see if he ate the milk and cookies they left for him.
Having Santa absent from Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas. Santa doesn’t take away from the real reason we celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus.
Is it ok for kids to believe in Santa, what are your thoughts?
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We always told our kids, especially when they were a tiny bit older and starting to question, that Santa was a real make believe person everybody believed in. That seemed to satisfy them, and no harm done.
There was a time when my daughter was very little, that she was afraid of anybody who had a moustache or beard, but she got over that eventually. We even have pictures of our cats taken with Santa, as well as those with DD and DS with Santa.
Have a Merry, merry and Happy happy…=^..^=
Glad to hear no harm done. Santa has always been a part of Christmas for us.
This is a very controversial topic for some. Growing up I had both the Santa and the Christian experience and I do not believe I was ever confused. I also provided both for my daughter when she was a child and she has also allowed my grands to experience and enjoy Santa while understanding that the day is actually to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Could it be confusing? I’m certain some would argue yes. But I think children would be even more confused if they were not allowed to enjoy the gifts from Santa while everyone else around him/her did. It’s a slippery slope and a personal decision.
Good to hear Clearissa that Santa was a part of your family’s Christmas celebrations and that there was no confusion.
Growing up in a preacher’s family, we did not have anything to do with Santa. So, when my kids were born, we didn’t do Santa either. But, I wasn’t militant about not mentioning his name or whatever. At school they talked about Santa, and with their friends. They even had pix with him, at events. I still don’t like Santa decorations, and do not talk about him with the grandbabies.
I understand Melinda. I have a couple Santa decorations but I know people who actually collect Santa figures and put them out every year…all of those sitting and standing everywhere looks kinda creepy 🙂
Santa was part of lives growing up and very important when we were small. My mom always said santa gives service by helping with toys. Giving back to others was aways talked about when Santa was mentioned.
Yes, here too Candy. Can’t go wrong with that jolly old elf!
Like you I grew up believing in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny and it didn’t damage or harm my sisters and I. When my older two children were young we were attending a very strict church that didn’t believe we should tell our children there was a Santa, so they never believed in him. Now that I’m older and wiser, I realize there is no harm in children believing in Santa. Sadly enough, I believe there were more people harmed by the church I was attending than have ever been harmed by believing in a Santa Claus. My grandchildren believe in him and they believe in Jesus and they won’t be harmed when they find out Santa Claus is just a fun Christmas tradition. Teresa (Thank you for stopping by Aging Like a Fine Wine. I’m now following you too and will definitely check out your link party!)
Good to hear Teresa that your grandbabies are getting to enjoy the tradition of Santa! So glad you made it over here. Looking forward to you partying with us!
Interesting question, the same with the Tooth Fairy.
Thanks for bringing your post to the Blogger’s Pit Stop
Janice, Pit Stop Crew
Yes, and the Easter bunny too Janice 🙂
Christmas is a magical time of year and it just wouldn’t be the same without Santa. To me Santa represents giving with no thought of receiving anything in return. Isn’t that what we want to teach our children? Children seem to grow up so fast these days surely a little magic at this time of year is good for everyone.
You said it Sue, sure wouldn’t be the same and I agree that he represents giving with no thought of receiving anything in return.
What a great post. I actually like the comment that people being hurt by church.
Sadly it is so true. I think that if it is done right that there shouldn’t be any confusion etc. between Santa and the Reason For the Season being Jesus’ Birth.
I don’t remember sitting on Santa’s knee although I am sure I did. I have never seen photo’s. I do have one of my husband. I have a collection of my son and daughter as young children and teenagers. And now my grandkids. I sure hope I don’t offend anyone when I share the post of my pictures. Or of my collection of Santa’s. I don’t really see how Santa could be considered creepy as was said in one of the comments.
It’s just a bit of a touchy subject.
I am glad though that you linked this post at The Count Down To Christmas party.
I think your post is excellent to be shared.
I hope you’ll come over and link all your Christmas posts at the party. And enter the giveaway too! Follow the blog and leave comments for more entries.
Thanks for linking.
Everything seems to have to be so politically correct these days. Glad Santa was part of your life, your kids and now your grandbabies! Enjoyed partying at your Count Down To Christmas. Will be back 🙂 Thank you for partying with us at Blogging Grandmothers Christmas Link Party. We’ve shared your post on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.
Is it ok..??? To me, what is NOT ok is for children not to have the wonder and excitement of Santa when they are very young. There is absolutely nothing wrong in believing in a make-believe Santa..what is wrong, to my way of thinking, is taking away that belief from a small child.
Thank you BJ, you said it just perfect!
I agree! My husband’s brother told his kids that Santa wasn’t real from the time they were just tiny, because “he didn’t want to lie to them.” I believed in Santa as a child and so did my kids. Neither I nor my daughters ever felt “lied to.” I think children receive a special gift when their parents help them to believe in the magic of Santa!
So sad Lori when parents like your husband’s brother do that to a child 🙁
I agree with you Dee. However, two sets of our grandchildren have been told at a VERY young age that he isn’t real. Personally, I think THAT is way more wrong because it is just plain mean for them to miss out on that fun. 🙁
It’s fun for them Nikki just like the tooth fairy. So sad.
I agree with you 100% Dee! Santa doesn’t detract from Jesus’ birth. He helps children understand love and giving on their level!!
Thank you for cohosting at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty.
Good to hear you agree Lori 🙂
I fall somewhere in the middle.. we did tell and tech our kids about santa but now they are 14, 12, & 10 and all still believe. Each year they are asking for more and more crazy gifts since Santa is magical and makes his gifts. I had lots of fun with their believing when they were younger but now that they are older I do feel like I’m lying to them and kind of wish I had never started it in the first place. Thanks so much for sharing your point of view with us at the Happy Holidays link party. Pinned
My pleasure 🙂
I STILL believe in Santa! 🙂
I’m with you on this — no harm done!
Thanks Donna and glad to hear you still believe ♥
I’ve never thought of believing or not believing in Santa as being politically correct or incorrect-and I’m often told that I’m very pc about most things. 🙂 Santa is whimsical and fun. The delight I had was passed on to my children and my grandchildren. I’ve always equated the belief in Santa for children to be much like fairy tales-something in which they can let their imaginations run and they can capture the essence of something magical. For my children, as they got older, it was a natural progression to learn that Santa is really about sharing joy and delight. Oh, and I’m one of those who has a Santa collection and I bring them all out for the season. I promise it’s not at all creepy!
That’s how I feel too Beverly, kinda like the tooth fairy and Easter bunny. Oh I bet your Santa collection is wonderful! I know others who collect them and looking at their collections it amazes me of all the different Santa figures you can actually buy. Would love to see yours ♥
I love this. It really bothers me when I hear people saying that you shouldn’t let your kids believe in Santa, as you said I also believed in him as did my children, And no harm was done I think it is good to give them something fun while they are little. They have to grow up soon enough have a little fun while still young. Plus I love the looks on the little one’s faces when they see Santa or the first thing Christmas morning after Santa has come.
Thanks for linking up to Bloggers Pit Stop hope to see you next week.
Thanks Connie, I agree with everything you just said ♥
I started to reply, but noticed that I commented 2 years ago. I stand by that comment to this day. So does Gussie =^..^= but she’d rather not have her picture taken with Santa which the other cats had endured. (The other cats have gone on to the Rainbow Bridge, but are still remembered fondly…sigh. I remember when the tree ornaments would be moved higher, and higher on the tree. Then Mehitable would climb the tree. Oy! Fortunately we had started anchoring the tree to the wall. Ha! Please excuse the digression, but it’s part of Christmas.) Cheers to all ;^)
Thanks hillsmom for commenting again! I’ve seen some Santa characters that I don’t think even I would want to take my picture with ♥
I grew up in a Christian home and we did Santa as a child, as did my children and grandchildren. We all experienced the magic of Santa and loved watching the kids excitement. But we also make it a point to remember what the holiday is really about, and that is the gift we all received in Jesus birth. My family actually has a birthday party for Jesus, complete with cake and the happy birthday to Jesus song. My momma always reads the Christmas story from the bible while the kids gather around. We do it all. My girls are happy to include Santa Claus as part of our Jesus Birthday Celebration! We aren’t confused, and neither are our children. They know that Jesus is the Reason for the Christmas Season. Also, as the kids get older and start questioning Santa’s true identity, they are met with this response, “when you stop believing, you stop receiving”. That pretty much shuts down any non-believers at my house!
Oh Sylvia, I love your family’s tradition ♥
Thanks for raising this discussion, Dee. I can see both sides of the debate. For me, though, Santa added to the excitement of Christmas, both as a child and as a mother of young children. I will say that my youngest was upset with me when she found out he wasn’t an actual person, and she said, “You lied to me all these years!” I think that had more to do with me handling the reveal poorly. I’ve heard I method I like. Once the child is getting older, invite him or her to “coffee” (hot chocolate of course) and talk to them about how they are getting older and mature enough to understand about the spirit of Santa and that they are now ready to help keep Santa alive for younger children. I’d be curious to hear if any of your readers have tried that method and how it went. Thanks for hosting the #BloggingGrandmothers End of Year Party and allowing me to co-host with you. Merry Christmas to you and your family!
Sounds like a good idea Christie ♥
Hi Dee, I think it’s a good thing that young ones believe in Santa and all he brings with the fantasy. To me, it’s a precious part of childhood. In my home, we put out cookies and milk for Santa, couldn’t wait for Christmas morning to see what he left for us, and we were also taught what Christmas is really all about. It was a wonderful experience and that is how I raised my children.
I agree Candi.
I say let them believe as long as they can…. it hurts nothing and may make us all behave better around the holidays.
I agree Angie!!
Santa was always a big part of my life when I was little and Christmas felt magical. So we passed on Santa to our children 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing your post with us at The Wednesday Link Up.
Same here Claire, and it’s my pleasure!!
I suspect it is all in how you handle it. We were raised with Santa, St. Nicholas, the story of the Saint who gave toys, and the traditional Christmas story. There was magic and wonder in all of it. We all started to out grow it and I remember being excited when we were old enough to help bring the presents down on Christmas Eve and arrange them under the tree. It was a natural progression. I wasn’t dismayed I was excited to be considered adult enough to help. So perhaps it is how it is handled?
I still love the magic of Christmas. The dogs go for charity pictures with Santa every year and the money goes to local rescue groups. It’s fun and it makes for great Christmas cards.
As for what others believe I try to be sensitive to that. We had reindeer food here for Christmas Eve for the little ones for years but some parents weren’t keen on it and we made sure we did it when their kids weren’t around. It’s all in how you balance stuff. You can make it work.
You said it, the magic and wonder of it all!! Some people are just big party poopers!!
Here’s why I didn’t teach my first child to believe in Santa. I wrote that when he was 8; he’s almost 15 now, and my second child is 5 and has had the same teaching about Santa but responded somewhat differently. She is a less analytical, more imaginative child than her big brother. As best I can tell, at this point she understands deep down that Santa isn’t literally real, but she really likes the legend of Santa and likes to pretend about him–just as she often pretends to be a magical cheetah but deep down understands that she is really a human.
Everyone has their own choices Becca. Believing in Santa, the tooth fairy, and the Easter bunny are all just the magical time of being a child. They don’t grow up feeling like we lied to them but as I said, everyone has their own choices.
I have never been one to go wholeheartedly into the Santa stuff with my kids but that is because we hit a bit of an impasse a few years ago when I was teaching the importance of altruism especially at the holidays. They were using their own money to buy toys to donate to Toys for Tots. My kids were about 2 and 4 at the time and then the questions came as to why we had to donate toys to children if Santa brought everyone gifts. It left me in a bind and completely unprepared on the spot and so I explained. My kids are now 6 and 8 and while they do not believe a jolly old elf sneaks down our chimney on Christmas Eve, they do still believe in the magic of Christmas and the kindness of people. And that is much more important, in my opinion. Great post and wonderful food for thought! Thanks for linking up. Merry Christmas! Shelbee
It’s all just a part of the magic of Christmas as you said 🙂
I always kind of feel sorry for kids whose parents don’t do the whole Santa thing. I think they lose out on a lot of the magic. I can understand not wanting to lie to kids, but this isn’t a vindictive lie and I don’t know anyone who grew up to resent their parents telling them about Santa when they were little
P.S Thanks for linking up to #ChristmasCorner
I agree Debbie!!
I think it’s ok. None of my kids seemed to have that trauma from it some people get. It makes it a bit fun for awhile. But I can see both sides. #Xmaslinky
Lydia, I agree. It’s fun for kids and does no harm, no harm at all.
Hi Dee! Yes, I am the mother of 6 and all of my kids believed in Santa Claus and they also knew that the reason Santa comes is to help celebrate the birth of Jesus. Believing in Santa taught them things such as:
1. He is a way that Mom and Dad can give anonymously to our children without having to get the pat on the back. Kids need to learn that we can do good things just to show love, not for the recognition.
2. Santa adds a lot of fun and magic to the holiday and when kids find out about who Santa is, they can join in the fun of making it magical for younger kids, too.
3. Giving is good and makes you happy, not just receiving. Santa is happy, parents are happy. Santa is an example of selflessness.
My children are all adults now and they all believe in Jesus Christ and let their kids believe in Santa and none of them feel lied to or angry about Santa. In some ways, I still believe in Santa, Even though I found out about him when I was 8 years old.
Thanks for this nice post!
Helen, I agree with you. No more harmless than the tooth fairy. My kids and grandbabies don’t feel lied to either. I had to laugh when you mentioned the pat on the back though because me and my husband were always Santa when the grandbabies were younger and still believed. We always left quite expensive gifts under the tree for them to find on Christmas morning, however Santa got the credit, not us. 🙂
Yes it’s OK for children to believe in Santa because Santa is a symbol of kindness and love. But make sure you teach your child of children the real reason for Christmas-The Birth Of Christ.
Absolutely, Crystal ♥
Santa was one of the great joys I took from my childhood. I was the 7th of 8 kids and we each naturally grew out of Santa when it was our time and the key was to help the next child, or in my sister’s case as she was the youngest there were grandchildren, to hold on to the mystery of Santa until they were ready to surrender it. I never regret believing in Santa or the Easter Bunny. The magic was to be treasured and it for us it was a natural progression to realizing the presents were coming from Mom & Dad not Santa.
Often times the magic and the stories about Santa were honestly more exciting than the presents we could afford.
I spent years tracking down a Santa book my Mom read to us as kids that had gone out of print that she’d given to my sister when she and her husband moved overseas during one of his deployments to Germany and when I found it had been reprinted I bought everybody in the family a copy for their family so they could have the same tradition if they wanted it. As a treat to myself I bought the audio book to have that experience of listening to it like I did when I was a kid again last year.
I loved buying the “reindeer food” and helping my nieces and nephews put it out for Santa.
We had secular decorations right along side an Advent Wreath and a beautiful carved manger complete with lighting that my Great Uncle made as a gift for my Grandmother during WWII that I still have. There was never any confusion that Jesus was the reason for the season but Santa added fun.
The Sunday before Christmas the fire department used to take Santa on a trip around the entire town on a fire engine and all the kids would stand outside their homes and wave. That had to be one frozen fireman I mean Santa when he was finished.
Today we take the dogs every year with the exception of last year during COVID to do pictures with Santa for local dog fundraisers.
Parents should always have the right to decide how they do or don’t celebrate holidays and I would never push anyone to have Santa if they feel strongly against it. However, I do push back against the idea that all children are damaged when they realize Santa wasn’t real. Parents have to know if their kids can handle something like Santa.
Crafts Attic (wish I knew your real name), I know you were glad to find the book! I love all of the old decorations and celebrations. I agree with what you’re saying and let me add this, those that say their children are damaged by finding out Santa isn’t real, I think they just want drama. They’re probably also the type of parents that think their children should get a participation trophy or ribbon for a sports they did not excel in.
I can’t imagine Christmas without Santa! It broke my heart that first year when the kids realized there wasn’t a man in a red suit flying around delivering presents. But I told them then that yes the story had indeed been embellished over the years by everyone (me included) but that I still believed with all my heart. I’ve seen him in person several times. He didn’t wear a red suit and sometimes he was actually a she. “Santa” was part of every person that understood the true meaning of Christmas. The people that dropped off toys each year for the kids whose parents couldn’t afford them. The ones who were touched every year by the magic and went through their closets for coats and warm blankets to drop off at the homeless shelters. Even those that paid for the car behind them in line at McDonalds. It got to the point where it became a thing for my kids to point out a “Santa” each time they noticed an act of kindness. I wish Santa could stay all year, each and every day. Still, it is wonderful to see all the many Santas who are everywhere this time if year. Just from reading your posts my friend, I have no doubt that Santa lives at your house too!
Thank you, Denise. Your comment warms my heart and you are so right about everything you said. Those intentional acts of kindness and generosity as well as the random ones, they all make a difference in someone’s life. Santa definitely lives here at our house and not just during Christmas.
You know, good question. It’s funny, I grew up with Santa in the 70’s and grew up in a Christian home when I was little of course I thought he was real. But even at that very early age I knew Jesus was real. Here’s where I chuckle, when I got married and had my girls, I didn’t want to go the Santa route, because I didn’t want to “lie” to them, lol. Then I remember both sets of grandparents reminding me that both my now ex husband grew up with Santa and we turned out fine. My oldest daughter was one of those kids that screamed her head of sitting on any characters lap. I think it’s okay for kids to have Santa as long as they are taught about Jesus and that it is His birthday we celebrate and why.
I agree, Paula. I think Denise said it best. Read her comment, it’s just before yours.
Dee, it’s been a treasure to read through all of the comments today. I love how Denise, the comment before my original reply, puts it.
Thank you for sharing this with Sweet Tea & Friends this month.
You’re welcome, Paula. Yes, Denise said it best ♥
I think the Santa tradition is a wonderful part of childhood. I still have photos of myself and my sister sitting on Santa’s lap during the 1950s as well as photos of my two sons with Santa during the 1970s. In modern times, the NORAD Santa tracker is a huge hit with kids and their families. What fun! Thank you for sharing this post in the Talent-Sharing Tuesdays Link-Up 46.
Carol, glad you agree!!