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Mystery and Magic

I know, I know…the true meaning of Christmas isn’t about Santa.

To be honest, as our kids grew up, I just couldn’t bring myself to telling them about Santa and for years, I semi-struggled with this “untruth.” I knew some Christian friends who did not play up the Santa thing at all – right from the start, Jesus was the reason for the season. Period. There was no Santa. I don’t know why but I always felt a little sad for those children. They didn’t put cookies out for Santa or carrots for his reindeer and there were no stockings to be stuffed. It just seemed like something was missing.

Growing up in a non-Christian family,  it seemed foreign to remove Santa from our family Christmas celebrations so I figured I would try to straddle the situation and celebrate both  – the mystery of Jesus and the magic of Santa.

My husband and I strongly emphasized Jesus’ birth – we even role-played the whole nativity scene every Christmas Eve. in our living room – I was the angel on the hill! (Tee, hee) We bundled up in warm clothes and faithfully brought our kids to the live nativity scene at Fairy Lake every December 23rd, until the kids got old enough to rebel and absolutely refuse to go. (They preferred to stay home, eat cookies and drink hot chocolate!) For years, the three kids were in Christmas plays about the true meaning of Christmas, we attended the Christmas Eve service at church, we gave to many charities and always had “strangers” over for Christmas dinner, who didn’t have a place to go. Our homemade advent calendar counted down the days until Christmas with felt figures and scripture. We’re still using the same one 30 years later!

Full Advent Calendar

We prayed and read books about Christ’s birth and we focused on the importance of giving to others.

We also took our kids to the mall so they could sit on Santa’s lap. We left a little note for Santa on his plate of cookies and we made reindeer tracks in the back yard, leading up to our house. I never liked the “Christmas wish list” – all the stuff “I” want – so we never went that route with our children. For me, that crossed a line. Funny – there really were boundaries that I dared not cross.

We decorated our tree and our house, inside and out. Every Christmas Eve, we all got to open up a Christmas ornament and pajamas before we went to bed. My husband and I stayed up late into the night, setting up stockings on specific chairs that the kids had picked for their presents.  We were always woken up extra early on Christmas morning with three children jumping on us and yelling, “Merry Christmas!” and the rule was that the kids had to sit at the top of the stairs and wait until we got downstairs to turn on all the Christmas lights and music.

To this day, I still don’t know the best way to do Christmas.  These days, I’m thinking that most likely, Jesus doesn’t struggle with this at all – He knows my heart. There is both magic and mystery to this holiday. Our kids are grown and now we have four grandchildren.

Jesus is honoured. Santa is fun.

What are your thoughts on this?  How do you combine the secular with the non-secular perspectives? Can there be Jesus AND Santa?


Talking about Santa, I had to chuckle at this sign – The Four Stages Of Life.

Four Stages of Life


  1. Cynthia Reyes

    I hear you. and it sounds like you’re doing fabulously already.

    In our family, there’s never been a conflict between the two. Santa is a jolly man (mythical) who gives out gifts — till an older cousin spills the beans and the kids stop believing! Jesus is the reason for the season. Sometimes I am not sure we’re making the season sacred enough, but that’s quite apart from the jolly red fellow.

    • Diane (Author)

      Thanks for the support, Cynthia. Totally agree. Gotta’ have both! 🙂

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