When My Children Believed In Santa Even Though They Knew He Wasn’t Real

You know that person who’s just super jazzed about Christmas and starts listening to the music in like October and has the decorations ready to put up as the Thanksgiving table is being cleared?

I’m totally that person!

(See what I did there? I lured you in with the promise of sarcastic derision and then BOOM I sprinkled Christmas spirit all over you. You’re welcome.)

I LOVE the Christmas season. I start looking forward to it in July. Possibly because it’s so unbearably hot in Florida in July that daydreaming about Christmas one of the only ways to get through it.

I’m one of the people who tunes into the Hallmark channel’s Christmas in July month of non-stop cheesy holiday movies. I start listening to the music as soon as the weather turns even remotely cool (again, Florida, so I mean 75 degrees). I’m completely ready for it when it finally arrives, yes, the moment Thanksgiving ends.

And lest you think I’m a TOTAL heathen, I do love the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Advent season, the looking back to his first coming and the looking ahead to his eventual second coming and rule. In fact, I think certain Christmas songs are some of the best worship songs I know (see: Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, O Come, O Come, Immanuel). Side note: Top 5 Christmas/Advent artists/albums

Side note: Top 5 Christmas/Advent artists/albums

  1. Pentatonix
    • That’s Christmas to Me
    • A Pentatonix Christmas
  2. Future of Forestry
    • Advent Christmas EP
    • Advent Christmas EP Vol. 2
  3. Folk Angel
  4. Point of Grace (NO MOCKING)
  5. Charlie Brown Christmas (duh)

So now that we know my heart’s in the right place…I love all the commercial stuff too. I love the store decorations. I love the toy displays. I love baking cookies (and eating them!). I love the tree and the ornaments and making crafts that don’t turn out quite right. I love the home-made stuff my kids come home with. The fires in the fireplace, the candles lit, the fresh pine smell. All of it.

Oh, and of course, the movies.

Side note: Top 5 Christmas movies

  • It’s a Wonderful Life (don’t even try to argue this one)
  • White Christmas
  • Miracle on 34th Street (New and Old)
  • All the claymation movies (I can put all of these in one slot right?)
  • Elf
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Sorry, couldn’t narrow it down to 5)

Of course I let my husband read this post and he just tried to add Die Hard to this list which is why I can barely even talk to him this time of year.


Sort of.

Anyhow, I’m one of those people. Those Christmas people. And if you’re reading all of this and thinking “Ew, go away,” stop being such a Scrooge and just join the fun already.

In spite of my love for all of these things, we’ve never done the Santa thing in our house. Which you might think is a position we hold out of some sort of conviction of making Christmas all about Jesus for our kids, but honestly it’s mostly because I’m lazy.

Perpetuating the myth – sending lists to Jolly Old St. Nick, giving gifts that are from both us AND him, setting cookies out on Christmas Eve – just seems like a lot of work. Not to mention the fact that someday you have to admit you’ve been lying to them all these years. No thanks.

But, of course, with all of the aforementioned Christmas mania in our house, our kids know about Santa Clause. They’ve seen Mickey’s Once (and Twice) Upon a Christmas more times than is healthy. They’re well-versed in the Santa story.

So over time they started to ask us about him and our answer was always somewhere along the lines of “that’s a cool story and it’s fun to pretend it’s true.” Clearly this was a well thought out plan.

It seemed my plan for laziness in the Santa department was working until last Christmas, when my four children informed me, much to my surprise (and chagrin), that they believed in Santa anyway.

That’s right people. I told my kids Santa’s not real and they insisted that he is. I mean, I don’t even know what I’m supposed to say to this. Apparently the tooth fairy’s real, too, whether I like it or not. Not the Easter Bunny, though, because let’s be honest, who even gets the purpose of that giant rabbit. He doesn’t bring you presents OR leave money under your pillow. Useless.

I so admire their tenacious faith in a patently ridiculous myth that I’m willing to go along with it for now. At least when they realize it’s all a huge lie someday I won’t be the one to blame for convincing them. Unless they are like my dad, who to this day insists Santa is real with a little twinkle in his eye.

So I guess I’m stuck with Santa for now. But you know what? It’s got me thinking. There’s a lot I believe in, particularly at Christmas-time, that seems pretty ridiculous to most people. A Virgin Birth. God Incarnate coming to live, die and rise for sinners. Perfect babe. Shepherds, wise men, a stable, a star. It seems like a fable, and yet it’s all too real and wonderful to me.

There’s a reason it’s called child-like faith. May our faith be as tenacious as my children’s this Christmas season.

Katie Hughes

I’m married to Josh. He’s a pastor. We live in Tallahassee with our 4 children. They are wild and crazy and we don’t really know what we’re doing there. I spend most of my time managing them but some of my time doing some research at Florida State University. I’m grateful for good books, laughter, the Florida sun, and Netflix (and oxford commas!). But mostly for Jesus. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.