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Jesus won’t be mad if your kid believes in Santa

I grew up in a house where Santa was forbidden because Jesus was the reason for the season. Way to suck the fun out of magical Christmastime. Now that I’m an adult and have developed my own relationship with God, I have a special Christmas message to share: Jesus is totally cool with Santa bringing your kid presents.

There’s something unsettling about adults who push their fundamental religious agenda on kids at Christmas. While I am still a Christian and appreciate the message of Jesus, I don’t appreciate the need to make every aspect of the holiday overly spiritual.

When I was growing up, we weren’t allowed to have presents from Santa because Santa was secular. There was an unspoken message that Santa directly conflicted with Jesus (maybe because Santa is an anagram for Satan). It was implied that the more you acknowledged Santa, the less Jesus mattered to you.

This is not true. Sadly, I know many kids who were raised this way, my husband included. Santa was not allowed — he took away from Jesus. There was only one savior at Christmas, and he did not come down the chimney at night. To this day, I know several religious families spreading the same Santa guilt.

Like I said, I’m still a Christian. I’ve grown and developed in my relationship with God, which means that I’ve loosened up quite a bit. Becoming a parent helped me to understand God even better. Becoming a parent didn’t make me want to restrict my kids and browbeat them for acknowledging the magic of Christmas, as my parents did to me. I know for a fact that God does not behave this way.

Becoming a parent (who still happens to be a Christian) helped me to understand a very spiritual Christmas message that I would love to share with the world: It’s not that big a deal. Jesus can handle it. Christmas has a deeper meaning, but it can be fun too.

I feel cheated that I was not allowed to believe in Santa as a kid. Sure, my dad tried to gloss over the intense religiosity of the holiday by leaving me gifts under the tree from Jesus, but it wasn’t the same. I knew what was going on. I’d never heard of our risen savior delivering presents on a sleigh with reindeer before. Nice try, Dad.

Making Christmas about one strict set of beliefs takes away from the spirit of the holiday: family, fun and togetherness. I know that Jesus is the reason for the season, but I don’t see how that negates the potential for Christmas fun. Jesus was a relaxed, accepting kind of guy. He hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes. He would have hung out with Santa too.

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