Which brings me to my next point, Santa Claus is a real person. So it’s not a lie to say that Santa Claus is real. He has died, yes. But he’s not really dead. He’s alive in heaven, which means he’s more fully alive than any of us.
Santa Claus = Sinter Klaas = Sint Nikolaas = Saint Nicholas. Make it a lesson in linguistics for your kids. Santa means Saint. A Saint is someone who has lived a life of heroic virtue. A life worth mimicking. A life worth observing. A life worth learning from. A life that points to Christ.
Saint Nicholas was a 4th century bishop in the Church. And his spirit of giving and serving the poor is worth remembering by re-enacting (and imagining) his life and then learning from it. More importantly, the reason he served the poor and gave of himself so much is because he served Christ at the center of his life.
We just have to make sure that as kids get older they continue to learn the depth of the Santa story as they are able. And how that jolly fat man who gives presents is not there to give us presents, but to show us how to give. And he’s not doing so because you’ve been good, he’s doing so because giving is what life is all about. And the most radical way that old Saint Nick lived this out was not with the gift of presents, but with the giving of his entire life to Jesus Christ and the way he lived it in service to Him.
Personally, I think we should tell the Santa story to our children the same way we tell any great mythical story. Let them get all caught up in it. And then let them learn in time what is true about the story and what isn’t. What is important about the story and what isn’t. And more importantly, help them learn the deeper (and very real) truths contained within it. And along with that, of course, use it to help them understand the infinitely more significant and completely true story of Jesus.
Just look at the book of Genesis. If you read the story of creation and get caught up on whether everything was made in 6 literal days or not, you’re missing the whole point of the story. The writer didn’t feel the need to clarify certain questions of *fact* when telling that story. Does that mean they were lying or intending to deceive? Not at all. They were telling the better story and teaching a more important truth in the process.
Good myths are the ones we grow in to – not out of.
—from the blog post Are you lying to your children about Santa? by Matthew Warner
And MORE HERE from Catholic Answers’ blog:
It is worth considering that the name “Santa Claus” is not merely an imaginary moniker arbitrarily affixed to a jolly elf wearing red. The name is an Americanization of the Dutch Sinterklaas, which translates to “Saint Nicholas.”
And, because Santa Claus is based on a real person, they need never stop believing in him; they need only mature in understanding of how St. Nicholas answers their requests.