Santa and Jesus Both Have a Place on My Mantle

​A few years back, an agnostic (on his way to being atheist) friend of mine chided me for being a Christian who allowed my children to believe in made-up, worldly things such as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. He thought it was very unChristian of me to lie to my children. He’s not the only one who feels this way.
It always seems that beginning in September through the end of the year, there is a war that is waged between the believing and the unbelieving world. Sadly, the battle also wages among believers as well and I know Satan just loves that. It usually starts right around the time Halloween decorations are brought out and Christians tiptoe around whether or not they are celebrating “Halloween” or celebrating “Fall Festival,” will they or won’t they allow their children to dress up and what kind of decorations will adorn the outside of their house. Blogs are written, conversations inside and outside of the church take place and then thankfully, Halloween is over and it is all tucked away nicely until the next Fall.
Thanksgiving usually arrives without too much fanfare and there is only an occasional argument about whether or not Christians should be celebrating a feast that took place among a group of people who may or may not have acted nicely to their new neighbors. I believe the turkey coma usually slows down that argument and thanks to Black Friday sales and stores opening earlier and earlier, people are far too distracted by the busyness of the kick-off to Christmas shopping season that they don’t have the fight in them to discuss it.
But then, there is Christmas and I reflect back on that conversation I had a few years ago. I have younger children who may or may not believe that Santa Claus is still real. My house is decorated with just as many Santa figurines, Christmas trees and Christmas lights as it has manger scenes and mentions of Jesus. Does that make me a hypocrite or a blasphemer? Honestly, I think there are some who may say, “Yes” and those who say, “No way.”
​I believe there is a place on my mantle for both Santa Claus and for Jesus. Both represent hope and giving and both serve an important part in the celebration of Christmas.
My children know that Santa brings gifts one day per year, but they also know that Jesus offers the most important gift for free everyday of the year. We are not just about Jesus “being the reason for the season” for the month of December. He is our reason for everyday, every hour and every breath everyday of the year. By cramming Jesus down the throat of nonbelievers during the Christmas season, we run the risk of sounding like the clanging cymbals Paul references in 1 Corinthians 13:1, “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
​Santa represents happiness, joy and giving, especially to the unbelieving world. Use him as a prop and use the colors of his clothes to share the Gospel with someone this Christmas season…
  • Santa’s black belt – represents Sin and separation from God (Isaiah 59:2)
  • Santa’s red coat – represents the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 9:12)
  • Santa’s white beard – represents the fact that Jesus washes our Sin away white as snow because He is our Savior (1 John 1:7, Isaiah 1:18)
​Counteract what the world would want us to do (forget all about Jesus) and wage war on Satan. Speak the Word of Truth in love when you have the opportunity. Open your home to someone who is lonely, seeking or just doesn’t know Christ. Serve more this Christmas season. Share the Gospel everyday during Advent and see how that changes your life and the lives of so many.
John Piper comments in his blog, “Let’s Revise the Popular Phrase “In, But Not Of” on John 17:14-19. He says, “The accent falls on being sent, with a mission, to the world – not being mainly on a mission to disassociate from this world.” (
We can run from “Santa” and the “Happy Holidays,” but then what? We spend our Christmas season huddled around a bunch of Christians who already know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Don’t get me wrong, I celebrate Him everyday…and especially even more on His birthday, but if the majority of the world around me doesn’t even know who Jesus is and I only celebrate with what seems “Christian,” how will I continue to be able to relate to unbelievers and meet them where they are?
For now, Santa has a place in my home. My children are in the process of trying to figure out if he is for real or not and that is okay with me. What I truly care about more than all the gifts under the tree or all the sparkly decorations is that they know that Jesus is for real…always. 
​For the record, I believe Christmas trees have a place in our homes as well so before you form judgment on Santa, google the history of Christmas trees. P.S. you won’t find any reference of them in the Bible either. :-)

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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1 Comment

tracy popoff - November 28th, 2015 at 7:31pm

Amen Erin! Thanks for sharing!