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Christians & Father Christmas

(82 Posts)
FaithLoveandGrace Sun 21-Dec-14 14:01:15

Hi all, I had an interesting chat with someone earlier this week about teaching children about Father Christmas as a Christian. They said they've never taught their children about Father Christmas as they thought once their DC found out he's not real, they'd also think Jesus is not real either.

It got me thinking, how do you teach children that what you told them about Father Christmas (or the Easter Bunny or tooth faith) is not true but that (in our opinion) what we've told them about Jesus is? I'm not entirely sure where I stand on the issue tbh. DSS believes in Father Christmas and I wouldn't tell him otherwise - that's up to his dad (my DP) and his mum. As much as I love how magical Christmas is for DSS and the other children I know, I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable lying to any biological children DP and I may have.

I'd be interested to hear others views on it.

Cadenza1818 Sun 21-Dec-14 18:28:18

I'm a Christian and I really struggle with the whole xmas thing. I'd never normally lie to my kids and it feels so wrong. We've however gone along with it, although only stockings are from fc. The rest are from us. We did also tell them the story of St Nicholas so that they get the message fc comes from something. They're only 5 at the moment though. We've taken the policy that if they ask us directly if it's true then we'll tell them. Otherwise we'll let let carry on believing. As an aside thought..
We've told them jesus is real but in the same way they need to conclude that for themselves too. Hope that helps! Ps i also find it difficult that at xmas we make a big deal about celebrating what was once a pagan festival. But let's leave That for another debate!

LornaGoon Sun 21-Dec-14 18:32:16

I've thought a lot about this lately.I've down-played the whole Santa thing, particularly the naughty and nice list. To me, it implies that if you're naughty or bad you don't have stuff, and if you're poor you might not have loads of flashy presents at Christmas and therefore are a bad person. This, for me, is so far from the Christmas message. It's not that the dc won't get presents, just that there not linked with moral worth.

Lovelydiscusfish Sun 21-Dec-14 19:23:00

Really interesting question - like Cadenza, I've massively played down the Santa thing (but dd is really obsessed with him anyway!), and, like Lorna, I'm not keen on the whole idea of presents being linked to good behaviour - but in general I try not to bribe her to behave well as I want her to be good because she sees the intrinsic value in it, not for extrinsic rewards.
Shame in some ways, as she's so materialistic (not sure where that came from) that the threat of no presents would probably have her behaving like an angel!

OddBoots Sun 21-Dec-14 19:27:22

Father Christmas has always been a bit of a nudge and a wink thing in our house, he's never been used as a threat, just as a silly bit of fun.

capsium Sun 21-Dec-14 19:38:33

My DC didn't want Santa to visit our house as soon as he was old enough to express an opinion, terrified of the prospect for some reason - I had to promise he wouldn't and that he only visits if you want him to.

Later when my DC started school he learnt about the Saint Nicholas / Santa Claus account and was more OK with Santa. Still didn't want the man in the red suit down the chimney and pointedly ignored him at the school fayre. We then progressed to saying lots of people like to tell all sorts of stories about him visiting but the important thing was the idea of giving gifts and being kind like Saint Nicholas. Again my DC is ok with this but doesn't like the more fantastical tales.

Always has said believes in God and likes to celebrate the Nativity.

Funny really. Didn't plan it this way at all. I was bought up with the whole Father Christmas thing, got us all our presents etc. I expected to d the same. However I am relieved we don't really have to d the 'not real' business. We believe the Saint Nicholas account.

capsium Sun 21-Dec-14 19:40:40

Do not d. Typo.

ProbYou Sun 21-Dec-14 19:44:46

Make sure you also let your DC know that Jesus wasn't really born on 25th December, either.

capsium Sun 21-Dec-14 19:47:06

Funny I was watching Real Housewives of New Jersey last year. One of the grannies said "Santa is real. We're all Santa", or something like this. I rather liked that smile.

capsium Sun 21-Dec-14 19:49:03

Prob no problem, how many birthdays does Queen Elisabeth II have?

ProbYou Sun 21-Dec-14 19:49:16

I like that too, Capsium. fsmile

educationrocks1 Sun 21-Dec-14 19:50:49

We're Christian and never told dc about father Xmas, well I told them he wasn't real and it's mum and dad that buy the presents. However we told them this so that they didn't grow up thinking they could make endless requests because 'Santa' was buying them. They understand it's us. Every yr they each write 3 favourite things they'd like and we try and buy at least 2 items from their list. I usually but an interesting book or something educational e.g chemistry kit this yr, to go with it. They are always delighted with their gifts.

capsium Sun 21-Dec-14 20:03:57

Prob and that is how Santa manages to deliver all those presents in one night fwink...

FaithLoveandGrace Sun 21-Dec-14 21:39:52

Thanks all for sharing your views smile just to clarify, I certainly would want our DCs to make their own minds up about their faith, but I wouldn't want them to automatically assume it's not true as we lied about Father Christmas.

cadenza I like the idea of saying only the stockings are from Father Christmas and the rest are from us.

I too dislike the idea of presents only if you're good. I'd much rather them know they get presents because we love them, not because they've been good or bad. I think the idea of saying only stockings are from Santa / not telling them about Santa at all reinforces that idea of love as they then know the presents are of us and are because we love them, if that makes sense.

FrancisdeSales Sun 21-Dec-14 23:37:50

We are Catholic and always explained how Father Christmas/Santa is based on St. Nicholas. We live in Germany so celebrate St. Nicholas on the 6th December. We also celebrate St. Lucy's day, St Martins (with a parade following St Martin on his horse and carrying lanterns to a location where the reenactment happens of him giving half of his large cloak to a beggar, followed by Bretzels and Mulled Wine) All Saints Day, Epiphany (local children go around to the neighbours dressed as the 3 Kings, singing and collecting money for charity) and many other Holy Days and Saints Day through the year.

Their gifts do arrive on Christmas morning and so does a small statue under the tree of Santa kneeling at the crib of the Christ Child.

They are old enough to understand everything and it has not undermined their faith.

bigbluestars Mon 22-Dec-14 07:42:45

Easy/ God and Santa are both mythical.

Santa is actually a version of the Germanic god Odin, and similar figure Cernummos, lord of the forest, who has antlers and cloven feet. Christians twisted this figure into Satan.

Quite amusing to think of christians laying offerings ( milk, biscuit) at the hearth - offerings at the altar for the anti-christ.

capsium Mon 22-Dec-14 08:13:01

BigBlue We (my immediate family) don't lay offerings to any Odin or Cernummos derived figure.

Santa means Saint, as in St Nicholas and this is who we remember. Giving gifts in secret is part of Christian belief.

Some of folklore and storytelling connected with Father Christmas, I accept, has Pagan roots but my immediate family do not celebrate /worship this. We can choose what aspects of Christmas we celebrate and dedicate our celebration to God. The same goes for which days we celebrate.

educationrocks1 Mon 22-Dec-14 08:52:50

Our family certainly doesn't lay down any offerings down for the antichrist or anyone or thing for that matter. Where did you learn this from and why is it amusing?

BackOnlyBriefly Mon 22-Dec-14 10:01:48

educationrocks, it's no secret that most of the Christmas symbols are actually the symbols for other gods. Tree (and hanging things on it), Holly, Yule log and so on. Even the feasting would not have been Christian. Christians are more likely to fast.

You should look up Easter sometime as that's even worse. Easter was a goddess (of Fertility?) and those are her eggs you are handing out.

capsium Mon 22-Dec-14 10:41:10

Back other religions do not own the symbolism though. They are natural objects. There is feasting and fasting in the Bible. Christians can express their faith in a variety of ways, as long as they are acknowledging God, giving glory to Him.

"31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31 KJV)

bigbluestars Mon 22-Dec-14 10:46:20

"Thus says the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. "

CoolCat2014 Mon 22-Dec-14 10:48:36

BackOnly & Bigblue - you really should do your research before butting in like that (and whatever happened to live & let live and tolerating others viewpoints and beliefs?)

As someone who was a pagan, who became Christian, it's clear that some Christmas practices and traditions came from paganism (eg yule log), but many didn't, such as St. Nicholas (go look him up), some come from historical events that are now traditions, and some come from the over commercialisation of modern day society (eg Santa being red), and some come from a combination of all 4 together and are very hard to separate.

I haven't decided yet what to teach kids about Father Christmas (dd is only a baby), but i will probably teach them the truth - that Father Christmas is a tradition based on St Nicholas, and represents the spirit of Christmas - the joy of giving and generosity, and that kids even if naughty still get gifts - just like God still gives gifts to us even when we don't deserve it.

FWIW feasting is very biblical - the Hebrews had many feasting days/weeks, would you like me to find references for you?

educationrocks1 Mon 22-Dec-14 11:18:39

Backonly I sense some glee in your post at the idea of Christians "unknowingly" worshipping pagan gods. I'm afraid you are wrong. Christmas for us is a celebration of the coming of Christ. It's irrelevant what used to be celebrated on the 25th, pagans do not own the 25 th of December or any other date. The fact we are both celebrating on the same day doesn't nullify what we as Christians are celebrating.

You still haven't answered my question about "Offerings" being left out for the antichrist confused.

You assume far too much about how other people celebrate, "those are her eggs you're handing out" hmm

educationrocks1 Mon 22-Dec-14 11:23:21

Just to add, why on earth would I want to fast on Christmas Day? As a Christian we feast because we are celebrating the birth of our saviour, redemption, peace love and joy.

CoolCat2014 Mon 22-Dec-14 11:32:23

Also, Pagans didn't celebrate anything on the 25th December. They celebrated the solstice on the 21st.

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