Is the Easter Bunny OK for children? And what about Santa Claus?
What should Christians tell their children about Santa Claus?
And what about the Easter Bunny?
There is nothing wrong with giving gifts to your children or family at Christmas. And if your waistline isn't a problem, there is no harm in exchanging chocolates at Easter.
In fact, it is nice to give and receive gifts. And let us not forget that God gave the world a more wonderful gift than we could ever give: salvation to all who confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and who believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9; Ephesians 2:8-9).
However, we advise Christians not to tell lies to children about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Do you really want them to put their trust in a buffoon on the street corner who doesn't even know their name, let alone being totally unable to fulfill any wishes they may secretly tell him? Do you want them to think it's OK for strange men to visit them in the middle of the night? Why set yourself up to be exposed as a liar later by saying that Christmas is celebrating a man in a red and white costume instead of Christ's birth? It's called Christmas, not Santamas.
Truth more exciting than fiction
The truth about Jesus Christ is exciting, wonderful, and true. Do you really want to downplay God's miracles by replacing them with a warped insistence that your children believe what you don't even believe yourself: that a fat cartoon figure actually comes to their house at night and brings them gifts? Show some courage and treat your children with the respect you would like them to give you.
You can't tell very young ones that Santa doesn't exist, because they see Santa clones in stores every Christmas. But you can point out that these “Santas” are men dressed in bright red Santa suits — like clowns dress in clown suits at the circus. Kids are nearly all terrified when parents force them to have their photo taken sitting on Santa's lap. Give your kids a break for Heaven's sake. The world is scary enough without you lying and forcing more fears on them at an age when they trust you most.
Instead of asking children “What is Santa bringing you for Christmas?”, say “What are you getting for Christmas?” or “What would you like to get for Christmas?”
Tell your kids we give gifts at Christmas because the wise men gave gifts to Jesus after He was born. This doesn't destroy their excitement at Christmas time — it teaches them that they can receive and enjoy gifts without being lied to.
This is not bah-humbug. It is helping your kids enjoy a lie-free Christmas, and protecting them from fears they do not need. It saddens us that even many church pastors can't see the morality problem they are creating by re-inforcing wrong information to children.
Can children separate fact from fiction?
Children love stories and cartoons from books and DVDs. They know that Bugs Bunny and Thomas the Tank Engine are not real. And they enjoy these stories knowing that. The big difference is that nobody seriously tries to tell kids that Bugs and Thomas are real.
So why switch to insisting they believe that the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are real and will come into their bedrooms at night to leave them stuff “if they are good”?
Children like fantasy. But it doesn't take long for them to know that cartoon characters are not real. So for parents to pretend that fantasy characters are real is absurd.
Christ not born on December 25
Many Christian churches do not make a fuss of Christmas or Easter. This is because they celebrate Christ's resurrection every Sunday, and it is well known that Jesus Christ was not born on December 25. (See our article on the millennium for more information on this.) Isn't it strange that often the most irreligious people in your street have the brightest Christmas lights and decorations on their houses?
Just as the myth of evolution replaces the truth of biblical creation, so the modern-day Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, replaces the Son of God, Jesus Christ, at Christmas time. And the Easter Bunny replaces Christ's miraculous resurrection at Easter. This is rewriting history to replace truth with fiction.
Build trust with your children
The danger in encouraging children to believe that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are going to visit them is that you are asking them to build their trust in something you know they will find out is a lie. If you tell them a lie about this, you may wonder why they start doubting other things you tell them. The child thinks, “They told me two big lies; maybe what they told me about God is a lie too.” Then many stop going to church.
You can certainly exchange gifts at Christmas. But tell your children you do this as a reminder that the wise men mentioned in the Bible brought gifts to Jesus after His birth. And let them know Jesus came to earth to bring God's greatest gift — to show us the way to Heaven.
You can also give chocolate eggs at Easter, but tell the kids the egg stands for the new life that Jesus Christ gives to all who follow Him and receive His wonderful gift of salvation — the new birth.
Christ is, and must always be, the reason we celebrate Christmas and Easter.
Hunter shoots Christmas display reindeer
Live reindeer were taking part in a Christmas display at a garden center at Franklin Park, Pennsylvania, when two of the reindeer escaped. Donner was quickly recaptured, but Blitzen took off for nearby forests. A hunter saw the reindeer, thought it was local game, and shot it. Garden centre employee Jennifer Smith told television station WTAE TV: “We're all very upset and distraught. We feel like we've lost a member of our family.”