Santa or Not?

There’s a real Santa debate going on, I’m not sure if you’re aware.  Questions are being posed, and in some cases, accusations are being thrown.  I have to admit I’ve never even thought about some of the things being said, and then a few have crossed my mind.  I guess I wanted to mull over them here.  First, I’ll give a brief history, to catch you up to speed. 

I grew up believing that Santa brought me gifts if I was good.  I found out that he even brought me gifts when I wasn’t good!  There was pressure, and the threats too.  (You’d better be good, Santa’s watching you, He sees you when you’re sleeping….)  I’ve even used these myself, I’m sad to say.  Again, it never crossed my mind.  Santa’s a jolly old fellow, isn’t he.  He is magical.  Whimsical.  But is he REAL?  Do you believe?  What were you told?  It all seems like a game, but are we harming our kids?  Lying to them?  Causing them to question if Jesus is real too, or are we lying about Him too? 

I don’t remember when I stopped believing.  Probably some kid at school told me.  It doesn’t stick out in my mind as being earth shattering, or a giant scar on my adolescent mind.  So I think my kids will turn out OK too.  But then there’s a tiny ounce of doubt.  The what if?  Am I, in my fervor to give something a little magical to my kids, scarring them?  Will they ever believe anything I say again? 

My oldest is 11 1/2.  A friend of hers told her a few years ago, and for some crazy reason, when she flat out asked me I lied.  I just think I wasn’t ready for her to be so grown up.  I realize now that I was being irrational and selfish.  I wanted her to believe so her brothers would too.  My oldest son is 9, and he still believes.  I’m surprised that he hasn’t heard at school, but he is naive.  He might have heard something, but mommy and daddy told him the truth about Santa, and he’s real.  In fact, he just told me tonight that we need to go see Santa.  We were planning on that Sunday evening, but now I’m not sure.  I don’t want them to get too caught up in the fantasy, and forget about Jesus.  I try to always point them in that direction.  We do the advent readings, and talk about Jesus’ birth, so the focus is on Him, but Santa is in the limelight too.  A few years ago, I was selfish, and didn’t want Santa taking all the credit, so we left some toys unwrapped and said they were from Santa.  After all, I was the one out at 5am in the freezing cold to get the years hottest toy!  This year, my daughter joined meon Black Friday, in search for the deals.  It was a fun time, and she held up really well.  So far, I don[t think she’s told anyone what they’re getting.  We shared in Santa’s duties.  I have a really good friend who sat out in the freezing rain and snow for over 5 hours outside of Toys R Us last weekend for a Wii.  Now that’s Santa. 

So I question whether or not I’m doing more harm than good.  And then I have a 4 year old who is eager for Santa to come, but concerned than he hasn’t been all that good this year.  Are we teaching him that he has to be perfect in order to receive?  There’s only one perfect one, and He loves us, sin and all.  I want to teach them that unconditional love of Jesus Christ.  That’s what I want to make important right now.  Please leave your thoughts on this matter, and give me some new insight as well.