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A man and woman dressed as Santa and Ms. Clause. They are standing joyfully in front of a Christmas tree.
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3 Reasons Why Parents Love Santa Claus

Ever wonder why parents love Santa Claus so much? So do I.

Ahhh, Santa…never quite sure what to do with the jolly old guy this time of year. As a child, Christmas was all about Santa for our family — no Jesus. So as parents, we went the other way with our children and had all Jesus, very little Santa. Now, my kids refer to that decision begrudgingly. Oh well, they get to do what they want with their children. I guess it’s a Santa pendulum.

So what is the allure of Santa? This weekend as I finished up my shopping at the mall, I saw a loooong line of parents and small children waiting to see Santa. It stopped me in my tracks! Why would parents (who people often say are unmotivated to do anything that benefits their children) stand in that line? Children decked out in their finest Christmas wear wiggled impatiently. That couldn’t have been fun for parents! Why would they do it?

I’d love to hear other insights (because I think we can learn from this for the kingdom of God). But here are a few things I think…

1. Parents want their kids to believe in something.

And even though it’s magical to believe in a man who delivers Christmas gifts to every single house in one night, it is something to believe in. (And parents will go to great lengths to continue the charade—and even dread the day that the children discover the truth and stop believing.) Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And, yet, we have the living, unchanging, never-disappointing truth about Christmas. We have what kids can believe in for eternity.

2. Children want it.

Parents today are highly motivated to deliver what their kids want. So how do we create things (programs, take-home papers, training, etc.) that kids ask for—and parents say yes to? That’s our challenge.

3. There’s a benefit at the end.

Parents get a memorable and cute photo of their dressed-up child sitting with Santa that they’ll remember forever. It’s one more milestone in life that parents want to mark. So, would parents do whatever it took to mark their children’s faith milestones—if they felt there was great enough benefit at the end? I think so. And that challenges us to consider how to maximize milestones in a family’s faith journey—so parents value the trip.

So, it made me think. And whether you’re an elf or a grinch when it comes to Santa, here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Chris Yount Jones previously served as the Executive Editor of Children’s Ministry Magazine.

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5 thoughts on “3 Reasons Why Parents Love Santa Claus

    • Christine Yount Jones

      Which parts do you think are so incredulous, Kathy? I’d love to hear what you think!

  1. I was devastated when I found out Santa wasn’t real. My parents had been lying to me! And they wanted me to lie to my sister, too. So I did and felt horrible knowing that in a year or two, my sister would go through the same thing. I think we should be honest with our kids. When we tell them lies about a “mythical” figure and they find out he’s not real, they start wondering is what mom and dad told me about God and Jesus real? The Easter Bunny, Santa, etc… there’s a lot of room to bring at least some percentage of kids’ faith to ashes. I never taught my kids Santa, tooth fairy or anything like that and they have appreciated it. The gifts they got I told them who they were from really.

  2. Because we want to make Christmas MORE than what those around us make of it, we’ve put together an advent book that brings the Christmas story into the home so that children and families are interacting with the nativity figures instead of opening doors on a Christmas cutout to each chocolate as Jesus’ birthday nears. (We’ve actually done this with/in our churches and with large plywood nativity figures in our neighborhood as well.) To further deepen the experience, we have lesson plans and games that go with the nativity figures. As Christians we CAN be counter-cultural and have as much, or more, fun and meaning during the Christmas holidays! All of these materials are available free here:

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3 Reasons Why Parents Love Santa Claus

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