5 Widely Different Ways to Handle the Santa Issue with Questioning Children

Christmas is a fun time for children, and Santa is a big part of that. But there comes a time when every child begins to question the Santa myth; how should parents handle this transition? Last year I posted an article about Santa and discovered some excellent methods readers use; but not all methods are equally good.

1. Don’t Tell the Child Santa is Real to Begin With

This is what we did with our son. We enjoyed the Santa fantasy, sang the Santa songs, had prominent Santa decorations, and one year I even dressed up in a Santa suit for him. But we never told him Santa was real. We all had great fun with Santa and I don’t think he missed anything by being aware that Santa was only pretend.

This was our choice; I don’t necessarily think all parents should go this route.

2. Do Not Support the Santa Myth at All

One day a mother was looking through a book bargain table for children’s books. There happened to be a copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which I recommended highly. She was adamant: ‘I don’t buy fiction for my kids! I only buy them things that are true.’

I think this is so sad; fantasy and fiction often teach real lessons and truths in a way that children can absorb them. They also stimulate the child’s imagination and expand their minds to new thoughts and possibilities. Factual books are important, but to rob children of the wonder and enrichment of experiencing fantasy seems so sad to me. Children understand that fiction stories are pretend.

Parents sometimes take the same course with Santa—no Santa, no way, no how! Some consider Santa incompatible with the ‘real’ Christmas, so Santa is excluded from Christmas altogether. I believe parents must make their own best decisions on this for their children, but this would not be my choice.

3. Insist that Santa is Real for as Long as Possible

It is natural (and desirable) for children to begin, at some point, to question whether Santa is real; but some parents respond by insisting to their questioning children that Santa IS real! It is though they want to prolong the child’s wonder for as long as possible; or perhaps they, personally, want to continue experiencing the child’s excitement instead of allowing them to grow and mature.

Whatever the reason, this can be a traumatic time for the child as they are torn between what their parents tell them and what they can see for themselves. We will talk further about this in the next post.

4. Introduce the Child Early to the True Story of Saint Nicholas

00001 Saint Nicholas2

A number of readers of my 2016 Santa post shared a couple positive and delightful approaches they use in the Santa transition. The first has to do with a real, historical figure.

Dave says simply:

Teach them about Saint Nicholas.

Bridget shared:

I love the idea of telling them about St. Nicholas!

While Matthew says:

As long as the kids are let down gently with that book about the real St. Nicholas or something, eh, no biggie.

I think introducing the story of the real Saint Nicholas is a great idea, whether it comes instead of treating Santa as real or whether it is part of the later transition. It explains the roots of the Santa Claus myth and also teaches about a genuine historical figure from early Christianity.

5. Participate in the Child’s Transition from Belief in Santa by Letting Them Become Santas

Several readers last year introduced an approach to the Santa transition I had never previously heard of—letting THEM become Santas!

Laura wrote:

Helping children to transition from getting stuff from Santa to giving stuff AS Santa is a developmental step in maturing.

Helen said:

When they begin to question it is time to teach them to be Santa. Santa lives in the hearts of those who keep the tradition.

Jean expands on this idea, saying that she:

Saw something about a dad that tells his kids when he starts to notice they’re guessing the truth. He compliments them on having grown up so much. Tells them he’s noticed their noticing that all the Santa’s at the stores are different people. So the folks have decided it’s time for the child to become a Santa too. A project is assigned. To think of or find someone who probably doesn’t feel loved and come up with a gift that will let them know they are loved…to just leave the present from “Santa.” One could of course tell WHY we bother…because of Christmas day.

Marie seems to refer to the same story:

I saw something fantastic the other day but can’t seem to find it again. It was a parent who, when kids were old enough, let them in on the “Santa secret” – because they were now old enough to be Santa themselves! And then their Santa responsibility was to find someone who needed something and gift it to them anonymously. I thought this was amazing.

This was all totally new to me, but I loved it at once! It was even nicer when another reader shared this video.

There Are a Number of Ways to Handle The Santa Issue

It’s up to parents to decide how to talk to their children about Santa, and there are several good ways to go about it—but I think #3 is potentially very harmful; we will talk about that next time.

May you and the children in your life enjoy the Santa myth this Christmas in appropriate ways!

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47 Responses to 5 Widely Different Ways to Handle the Santa Issue with Questioning Children

  1. Laura says:

    Interesting post! I don’t have kids so don’t have to consider this. But my parents did number one. I did not realize this until a few years ago. It seemed so many friends had a bad memory of finding out Santa was not real. Why didn’t I have this memory? I asked my parents about it, and they described #1. I don’t think I missed anything by knowing Santa was pretend, except the missing bad memory of finding out it was pretend!

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Laura, children are different. I don’t think all kids respond badly to discovering Santa isn’t real, but some do and it can be sad.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. tonycutty says:

    When my eldest son was a toddler, at the beginning of 1991, we jokingly told him that Santa had been shot down over Iraq. As the story went, he had been clobbered by a heat-seeking surface-to-air missile homing on Rudolf’s nose…

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Tony, this is funny; was your son aware it was a joke? How did he take it?

      Like

      • tonycutty says:

        Good point. Our view as a young family with regard to the Santa stuff – and don’t forget I was really ‘religious’ back then – was that we never told our sons (born in 1987 and 1989) that Santa was real, but we did tell them that other kids believed in him, so it was our secret that he was not real and not to tell their friends. In this way, the boys had a secret that they knew they had to keep, so we involved them in the myth in a passive sort of way. The point that it was a secret meant that they kept it to themselves with great joy – the ‘we know something you don’t know’ principle! And so they already knew that Santa had not perished by enemy action; that was how they knew it was a joke – or at least the eldest one did. The youngest was only 19 months old at that point.

        For my daughter, though, born nine years after her middle brother, she believed in Santa right up to the point where she asked us if Santa was really ‘you two’. She was about ten at the time. And then we ‘fessed up, of course. She wasnt fazed by it at all; she had really outgrown it by the time she worked it out.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Great stories, Tony! The part I most appreciate is: “we did tell them that other kids believed in him, so it was our secret that he was not real and not to tell their friends.” I think this is vitally important. Children who ‘know’ should be told not to spoil it for other children; this is also so respectful–and learning to respect others is a huge lesson of its own.

          Liked by 1 person

          • tonycutty says:

            Yep, indeed. Like that miserable ‘pastor’ on YouTube who went and tried to spoil a public Santa thing. Git.:

            Like

          • tonycutty says:

            Sorry, for some reason the link didn’t work properly. Here it is again:

            Like

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Tony, this is distressing and inappropriate.

            Just because a person opposes Santa, that gives them no right to do what this man did and try to override the parents’ plan for their children. It is the parents’ call on how they want to present Santa–not some religiously fanatical spoil sport.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Mike Stidham says:

    When my daughter was little, we tried a mix of #1 and simply emphasizing Jesus while letting other family members deal with the whole Santa thing.
    That lasted until the Christmas she was 2. We went into some store, where there was the inevitable line leading to the guy in the red suit, etc. My wife looks at my daughter and says, “Honey do you know who that is?”
    The kid didn’t miss a beat…”JESUS!!!!”

    I walked away and said, “my work is done here…”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. theotherlestrangegirl says:

    My parents chose option 3, and it is confusing when they refuse to answer questions truthfully. Children definitely know. Also, I have never heard of option 5 before, but I think that one is really healthy and interesting. I might like to do that with my kids one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Strange Girl, my parents went for option 3 as well. When they told me the truth they made it seem my fault that I believed in Santa for so long. I did believe it, despite my serious doubts, because I believed them. I have never fully gotten over that.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. stevegok2006 says:

    I am thankful that my parents never encouraged the whole Santa thing. Yet, I’m sad about the lady you mentioned in the bookstore who didn’t like to read her children fiction. A philosophy professor of mine, who also loved novels and poetry, once said, “Sometimes it takes fiction to tell the truth.” Reminds of the great New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman. He once said, “Myth doens’t tell people what happened; it about what happens.” Still, although you write that “Children understand that fiction stories are pretend,” I don’t think that’s often not true. People have had differences of opinion for three thousand years what’s real and what’s pretend in the Bible. If it’s some other tradition’s myth, it’s much easier to conclude that it’s “just a myth.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Steve, you raise some good points. I certainly believe good fiction can open up and illuminate truth. And, while I think children can distinguish between fiction and truth in general, I agree that both children and adults can confuse fiction for actual literal truth. And your example of biblical fiction is a good example of that; generations of uncritical reading, tradition, and the misguided assumption of inerrancy has led to reading even the most obvious biblical fiction (or other genres) as literal truth–resulting in tremendous damage.

      By the way, I was sad about what the lady said about fiction books too. I was especially sad–deeply sad–for her children. I hope they discovered a love of good fantasy and fiction on their own.

      Liked by 1 person

      • stevegok2006 says:

        The authors of the letters & books of the New Testament are not inerrant ; nor are we their readers. If the idea that they are inerrant is in error, how can we know when we are not in error….that our study too is not critical enough or misguided?

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Steve, it is true that the authors of the NT are not inerrant. But this is true of any and all literature, whether it is religious, historical, or scientific. None of it is inerrant, so how can we trust any of it?

          The NT is a collection of books, and not all of them are equally beneficial. But I see great value there. It is not all clear; it is not internally consistent. But I say we can only work with what we have and I am unwilling to throw the baby out with the bathwater just because there are difficulties.

          You ask, “how can we know when we are not in error….that our study too is not critical enough or misguided?” And I will answer that we don’t know. It would be great to have solid, dependable certainty about it, but we don’t. You might not wish to deal with such ambiguity and that’s fine. But I contend that there is plenty enough in the NT about Jesus to make its study worthwhile.

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          • stevegok2006 says:

            I expressed.my point poorly. I agree that just about any publication of work is capable of error. In science and many other areas, more evidence and improved or new experiments can help us correct them. I’m okay with ambiguity but like to get it straightened out when I or we can. But we have very little to go on in determining what is and is not historical about Jesus. You say “there is plenty enough in the NT about Jesus” but that’s the point: what is truly about Jesus and what isn’t? What is about the historical Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, and what is the mythological figure of the risen Christ who was resurrected and in whom belief can help us attain immortality. For that matter, where is the evidence for immortality?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Steve, let me say first that I don’t put much stock in the concept of ‘the historical Jesus and the Christ of faith.’ To me there is no distinction between them.

            But I think I understand your question: on what basis do I trust Jesus? This short section from the 3-part ‘My Spiritual Crisis’ might give you some insight into my thinking.

            https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/discovering-jesus-as-the-foundation-of-all-my-belief/

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  6. Simon Timperley says:

    Great points and well made. My main struggle with the “Santa” thing is that in my experience it is used by parents to guilt / shame / fear kids into behaving. I read once that “Santa is the only childhood story that is controlled by adults”. No one pretends Bambi is real or that Bambi will come get them if they’ve been bad…I was raised without Santa, we had stockings for little presents, but we knew they came from mum and dad etc. One year my little girl was maybe 3, and we had never done Santa with her (or the others after her) but she’d obviously picked something up from preschool, she said: “Daddy, will you be Santa, I don’t want a stranger in my room”. I try to be OK with how other people want to do it, but I am deeply troubled by it, more so than Halloween even.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Simon, you mention something that is a real problem for me–using Santa to manipulate children to behave the way we want them to behave. He sees you when your sleeping or awake; he knows when you are good or bad; he keeps a list and determines if kids are naughty or nice. And then there is the elf on the shelf. This is outright manipulation of a fantasy that should be about giving–not rewarding.

      Even worse is that God is used to manipulate children’s behavior the same way. How can we expect such children to love or trust such a God?

      I love what your daughter said, “Daddy, will you be Santa, I don’t want a stranger in my room”. That is precious!

      Liked by 1 person

    • fiddlrts says:

      I would agree with that one too. Using Santa (or Jesus for that matter) to manipulate kids into obedience is a terrible idea, and one that does (in my experience) lead to problems later on.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. newtonfinn says:

    Interesting and bittersweet subject. I fondly remember the magic of Christmas as a child, centered around Santa Claus, and thus raised my two children with the same holiday myth, knowing, of course, that the day would come when reality would trump the magic. In a strange way, I view this benign and tender deception as being potentially related to belief in God. The concept of a Heavenly Father, who watches over and cares for even the sparrow, seems as “mythological” in this hard, unforgiving world as the figure of Santa Claus. Yet Jesus urges us to retain this childlike faith in Abba, despite the doubts and contradictions that inevitably crop up as we grow older and learn the bleak tales told by science, history, and, often, personal experience. Does promoting the Santa Claus myth, which inevitably will be rejected, also operate to undermine belief in God? Or might it perhaps teach a valuable lesson to the child about the distinction to be made, in one’s mind and heart, between temporal and eternal things? Might learning to let Santa go, in a subtle way I’m finding hard to explain, actually strengthen our ability to retain the trust of a child when it comes to what really matters, aid in our distinguishing between conceptual belief and existential faith? Sorry I couldn’t quite nail this thought, but maybe I’ll try again later after reading the comments of others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Newton, I mention the relationship between Santa and God in next week’s post–especially as it relates to those parents who insist the Santa is real even after the child begins to question it. In regard to your question, “Does promoting the Santa Claus myth, which inevitably will be rejected, also operate to undermine belief in God?”, I think it can have potentially negative effects.

      But I do not consider the other side of your question, “Might learning to let Santa go, in a subtle way I’m finding hard to explain, actually strengthen our ability to retain the trust of a child when it comes to what really matters, aid in our distinguishing between conceptual belief and existential faith?”

      I think this is a tremendously interesting question! Can you dig into that and develop it further?

      Liked by 1 person

      • newtonfinn says:

        Let me try to dig further, Tim, by noting the difference between a cognitive construct we call an idea or concept, and a decision or determination of the will–what William James calls, in the religious context, the will to believe. A child’s belief in Santa Claus involves buying into the idea of Santa Claus, which, as tonycutty points out later in this thread, increasingly becomes a willing suspension of disbelief, as the child gets older and begins to play along with what he or she is coming to understand cannot be real. At some point, the cord will be cut, with Santa Claus reverting to the status of a Star Wars character. What drives the inevitable disconnect is the child’s growing awareness that the Santa Claus narrative simply cannot fit within the real world conditions and contraints that the child is learning to recognize and live with.

        Faith in God is quite a different animal. While our ideas and concepts of God often change and evolve over the years, our faith in Him should be a constant, occupying a higher ground than the reasons we use to describe Him or “demonstrate” His existence. I would, however, make one exception here, and that is the understanding that God is love and calls us to love, a matter much more of the heart than the head. Learning to hang loose with our ideas and concepts of God, while remaining rooted in faith and trust in Him, is a difficult and lifelong process. You would think that it should get easier as we grow older, but right now this 69-year-old is enduring his deepest spiritual crisis, having seemingly lost the intimacy with God that sustained him since early childhood. But I press on day by day, knowing that Jesus himself felt abandoned by God at the end of his life. So who am I to hope that I can escape the darkness that we, as Christians, must will to believe eventually returns to the light?

        Again, I have this feeling that I’m not expressing myself clearly, so it’s best that I defer to my spiritual mentor, Albert Schweitzer, who spoke these words to a group of young missionaries shortly after the First World War. “After the war, some (former students) came to me and thanked me for teaching them clearly that religion was not a formula for explaining everything. Whereas many in the trenches, not being prepared for the inexplicable, had thrown Christianty over, they were able to hold to it. When you preach, therefore, lead men away from the desire to know everything, to the one thing that is necessary; namely, the desire to be in God, through which we become other than the world and through which we are redeemed from the world, standing beyond all riddles.”

        To the extent that parents can guide a child through the loss of Santa Claus, allowing him to gradually and naturally become a fictional character, while using this aspect of the maturing process to begin to bring home to the child the essential difference between disbelieving in a particular idea and losing faith in a loving God, similar in a child’s mind (which Jesus would have all of us retain) to trust and faith in a loving father or mother, I think that the Santa Claus myth can be, in the long run, more edifying than disillusioning. But, yes, it is a subtle, difficult dance.

        Liked by 2 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Newton, it seems as though you are saying that going through the process of letting Santa go as a real person as we mature can serve as a practice run for the time in which God does not seem as real as we once thought. Loss of faith in what we once understood about Santa somehow prepares us for a loss of faith in what we once understood about God. Am I off base?

          I can see how many of us mature out of a simplistic Sunday school understanding about an angry, fearful, demanding god who is quick to punish us when we don’t toe the line and transform our understanding to an empathetic, compassionate, caring God whom Jesus describes. Many people are very much stuck in their understanding of angry God based on misguided portrayals of God in the OT. Are you saying that the Santa-belief transition should prepare us for a similar God-belief transition because we discover that both beliefs are inconsistent with what we see in the real world? Am I close?

          Or are you saying that when we are discouraged to find that God does not seem to be an active factor in addressing suffering in the world we should suspend disbelief so we can hold on to a loving God anyway?

          I think there is a lot going on here, but I am still not clear about how our Santa experience relates to our God experience. My observation is that many who outgrow Santa often feel they have outgrown God as well.

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          • stevegok2006 says:

            I guess that, as I’m writing this, I have in mind some other things too–things Tim wrote about how he came by his faith in J.C. It seems to me that if anyone is going to have faith in Jesus Christ without the baggage, they need to explain how they decided what the baggage was and what is not. The interpretation of God in the Hebrew Scriptures as angry, judgmental, violent, jealous, and retributive is not a misunderstanding of God in the scriptures; it’s only an incomplete one. But whatever one picks out, it nice, for others, to hear the reasons. Same with Jesus or rather with what the writers of the New Testament said and what they said in over 15 places that, if you don’t believe in J.C. as your Lord and Savior, you will be condemned. Instead of being condemned in the Old Testament for being bad, a major lesson in the N.T. is that you will be condemned for not believing in Christ. Isn’t that still an angry, judgmental, jealous God who would act that way simply for not believing something?

            Liked by 1 person

          • newtonfinn says:

            Tim, thanks for probing to clarify what I’m trying, and failing, to fully articulate. Maybe the simplest way to put it, at least some of it, would be to say that so-called puppy love–when one middle school student, for example, is temporarily smitten with another–can often be a painful but important learning experience, one which later helps a person to recognize when the quite different real thing comes along: the deep, mature, and lasting love between mutually-committed partners. I’ll keep attempting to make all of this clearer, not only to you and your readers but also to myself. Since you’re continuing this topic in your next post, there should be plenty of time to unclutter my mind and further unpack, along with other readers, this whole Santa Claus/God business.

            PS: It’s not so much the nature of God that I’m trying to get at, but the nature of faith and its relationship to purely conceptual belief.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Newton, I think I understand better now. I really like your suggestion that our experience in puppy love does better prepare us for the real thing. That makes sense. And your clarification on the nature of God and nature of faith was very helpful: “It’s not so much the nature of God that I’m trying to get at, but the nature of faith and its relationship to purely conceptual belief.”

            I think we are getting somewhere on this question. Perhaps next week’s Santa post will help further.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Paz says:

          “…the understanding that God is love and calls us to love, a matter much more of the heart than the head. Learning to hang loose with our ideas and concepts about God, while remaining rooted in faith and trust in Him, is a difficult and lifelong process.”
          Newton, I think this is so true on so many levels. I think so much of our ideas and concepts about God relate to self awareness and how we interact with others – LOVE, Kindness, Compassion…etc
          I totally agree that this is a difficult and lifelong process. Suffering seems to be such an inevitable part of this evolving life journey! We can certainly relate to and/or learn so much of this from Jesus own relationship with God, his life, his teachings, death and resurrection.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. fiddlrts says:

    My parents did #2, out of the (mistaken in my view) belief that when we found out Santa wasn’t real, we would assume they were lying about God too. My two problems with this are 1. Kids aren’t that stupid – and I don’t know anyone who lost their faith because of Santa Claus. Which leads me to 2. The lies that DO cause people to lose their faith are the ones our parents actually believed, like “science/evolution is a hoax,” “God designed men to rule over women,” and “gays are all a bunch of sexual predators.”

    For my own kids, we have done a combination of #1 and #4. We have always been literary sorts, and have been reading them various myths and legends since they were little. So we have been having conversations about the meaning and value of mythology, the way many legends have some truth in their origin, and how fantastic stories can be powerful ways of understanding and communicating truth. So we never told them Santa was real, but we didn’t avoid wrapping paper with Santa on it like my parents either. #5 does sound like a fabulous idea.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Fiddlrts, I like your approach with your kids–avoiding both extremes; I imagine they are well balanced, richly informed in literature (which is no surprise to me with you as their dad!), and have no trauma regarding Santa. I really like option #5 as well, though I had never heard of it until last year.

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  9. Paz says:

    I like the idea of using the imagination, creativity and even the magic in fiction to reveal and illuminate the real important messages. Number 5 sounds really beautiful 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. tonycutty says:

    St. Nicholas looks a bit miffed in that picture, doesn’t he? 😉
    My parents too used the manipulation thing. As fas as I knew, as a child, Santa, Mr. Sandman [another mythical threat figure who comes round every night to put sand in children’s eyes (which is why you wake up with it there) – if the Sandman found you awake, he would abduct you instead. And of course Santa would not bring you presents if you’d been ‘naughty’ [undefined term]. These two psychopaths, allied of course with the ‘bogey man’ – another child abductor – were all ‘friends’ of my parents. Thinking about that in later life, it makes me wonder why I didn’t doubt my parents’ sanity, having friends like that. The only friends of theirs I’d ever seen were poeple like my Auntie Jean and Uncle Malcolm, who were just lovely. It simply didn’t fit 😉
    This is another reason why I never perpetrated the same stuff on my kids.
    Having said all that, I was never in any doubt, and I am still not in any doubt, that my parents loved me unconditionally, and indeed still do. Maybe they used the Sandman threats to get me to go to sleep. Having had seeminigly insomniac toddlers myself, I can understand why 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Tony, you are right; Nicholas does look a bit miffed doesn’t he? I think the great artists of that time didn’t spend much effort to paint smiling faces.

      Threats and manipulation! I think it is horrifying that parents do this to their children instead of having a mutual, honest, trust relationship. But I had my share of threats and punishments as well. Now, I like the idea of using stories to help children develop character and good behaviors, but why must threats be involved?

      I am glad your parents had Auntie Jean and Uncle Malcolm along with their more frightening friends.

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  11. tonycutty says:

    Another thing is that we look at this question with the black-and-white ‘logic’ of, at least for some of us, ex-Evangelicals. It’s either lies or it’s truth. But kids’ minds don’t work that way; kids enact fantasies that they know full well are untrue, but the fantasy thing is simply a game to them. It may be even more too; at that age they are developing the ability to think and develop ideas of their own, and fantasies are all part of the way that they test reality. For that reason, amongst others, I would say that a belief in Santa is actually healthy…even if as they grow up, they realise all the incongruencies and inconsistencies – how does Santa manage to deliver toys to over a billion kids in eight hours without waking up all the kids (even the good ones) with a sonic boom – all this does is to help them differentiate between fantasy and reality; fact and fiction. Comic books and superheroes do the same thing. They know it’s not true, but it doesn’t matter; it’s fun – and that’s the main thing.
    But also that knowledge and ability to distinguish fantasy and reality mean that we can still indulge, as adults, in fantasy, even just for a little escapism. I know full well that what Spiderman can do is impossible – but that doesn’t stop me enjoying a Spiderman film *precisely because* I know it’s all made up.
    And then, to bring it full circle, I also think that an ease with fantasy actually helps us cope with the ‘fantastic’ – in the sense of it looks like fantasy – truth of our real Superhero, Jesus. He is the One of Whom all these other guys with magical powers – Santa, Superman, the Hulk – are but a reflection. An ease with worldly fantasy makes it easier to grasp the real supernatural world, much of which we can only access by imagination, and not entirely through empirical experience.
    More on this here, using the Star Wars universe as my model:
    http://www.flyinginthespirit.cuttys.net/2015/12/17/faith-and-the-suspension-of-disbelief/

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Tony, I think you are right when you mentioned that, “for some of us, ex-Evangelicals. It’s either lies or it’s truth. But kids’ minds don’t work that way; kids enact fantasies that they know full well are untrue.” Kid’s can deal with fantasy, but I still don’t think it is good for parents to insist to questioning children that Santa is real.

      I grew up in a home with the Bible and the National Enquirer; we were not very literary at all. I think one thing that made a huge difference in my life was discovering books, including classic children’s fiction and science fiction. They really opened up my world! I still enjoy reading good science fiction once in awhile. The stories are not true but they still expand my mind and my embrace of reality.

      Thanks for including the link to your article. I read it and really enjoyed it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Paz says:

      “…at that age they are developing the ability to think and develop ideas of their own, and fantasies are all part of the way that they test reality.”
      “But also that knowledge and ability to distinguish fantasy and reality mean that we can still indulge,as adults,in fantasy,even just for a little escapism.”
      tonycutty, I think this sounds like fun for all ages to enjoy! Well said 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Tony, you mentioned the quandary: “how does Santa manage to deliver toys to over a billion kids in eight hour.” I solved this to my satisfaction when I was a child who believed in Santa–Santa had more than 8 hours to complete his task. The Earth is continuously turning so that the darkness last 24 hours as night creeps around the Earth. This increases Santa’s available time by 200%! Problem solved!

      Liked by 2 people

  12. quadratus says:

    Here’s how we did it: In our household, the gifts from Santa that appeared on Christmas morning would all be wrapped in the same paper. You can sense when the kids are becoming skeptical and, with each of our kids, when that time came, I would ‘accidentally’ let them find the unused ‘Santa gift wrap’. Instant eureka moment for the kid and the sly little one got to ‘figure it out on their own’ that Santa wasn’t real.

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  14. Pingback: 5 Widely Different Ways to Handle the Santa Issue with Questioning Children — Jesus Without Baggage – GRACE MINISTRY–INDIA

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