Santa and the Easter Bunny

My six year-old grandson came over for a visit on Saturday. He invited the neighbor boy who lives next door to play at our house for the afternoon. After an hour of outdoor activities and adventures, they came inside to “build stuff” and I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation. Here’s an excerpt from the best part:

Grandson (GS): I can’t wait for Christmas!

Neighbor Boy (NB): For sure… Christmas is awesome!

GS: What do you want Santa to bring you?

NB: There is no Santa.

GS: (shocked and a bit confused) Well, if there is no Santa where do all the presents come from?

NB: They come from your mom and dad and your grandma and grandpa.

My interest in their conversation escalated from casual overhearing to full on eavesdropping. I was paying attention – curious as to how my grandson would receive this earth-shattering news. A renewed confidence swept over his face and he continued the conversation with a somewhat indignant tone:

GS: That is so totally not true ‘cause I’ve seen the real Santa that comes from the North Pole. I saw him at the mall. I even talked to him.

NB: That was just a man in a costume. There is no North Pole and Santa Claus is not real.

At this point, my grandson decided to let things slide and there was a lull in the conversation. Then the neighbor boy piped up:

NB: Same thing with the Easter Bunny… not real. Who ever heard of a bunny that drops off candy to little kids? Ridiculous!

By this time my poor grandson was reeling. His core belief systems were under attack. I could see his little mind spinning and churning as important parts of his world were crumbling right before his eyes. No Santa? No Easter Bunny?

Suddenly, he jumped up and ran into my office. He asked when his mom would return and I said, “Pretty soon.”

“Good” he answered (with a very serious look on his face), “cause we’re gonna have to have a long talk when she gets here.”

I just smiled and said, “Well, that’s good.”

So there it is. One family lets their children know that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are myths while another keeps the illusion alive for yet a while longer.

Dress up, make-believe, and childhood fantasies are a fun part of growing up (and of parenting). There is certainly nothing wrong with imaginary fun and pretending. But I believe Christian parents must be careful about crossing the line between creative pretense and imaginary fun and encouraging our children to “believe in” things that aren’t real.

Let's make sure our children don't have to wonder if the things we teach them are true or worry that someday they will "find out" that Jesus was just a man in a costume.

Do you believe in God? Do you believe in Santa?


Post a Comment