by Lori Ann

Our family does not “do” Santa.

Holiday decorations

That’s kind of a strange phrase, and I know it means different things to different people, but here’s my take on the truth about Santa: he was (probably) a real person, and he followed Jesus (we think), but he is no longer alive on earth, and so he does not pass out gifts today.

I want to always tell Tigger the truth, so even though I plan to share stories about Saint Nicholas just like any other historical or storybook person, we don’t want to persuade her to believe that a living (or magical) person named Santa brings her gifts. We try to keep the focus on Jesus during the holiday, which for us includes not exchanging gifts on Christmas Day (we do some Christmas Eve and three on Epiphany, as a reminder of the wise men’s visit) so Christmas itself is a day of worship.

Living in rural China also simplifies the decision for us. People here ONLY know about the St. Nick part of Christmas. “Christmas” in Chinese is literally “holy birth festival” but people often ask me “Wasn’t Santa born on Christmas”? We find it confusing to muddle things up (especially with what appears to our neighbors as the worship of a deceased man… and our neighbors are almost all ancestor-worshipers!) And if it’s confusing for them, I can see how it would be confusing for our “third culture” daughter, too.

So that’s my take… for now. Remember, my oldest is my only and is just 9 months! What does your family do?