Why We Don't Have an Elf on the Shelf

I realize that the above statement is near sacrilege as this "Elf on a Shelf" phenomenon has seemingly taken over every middle-income American home. As a new parent, I am already dealing with questions over how to deal with Santa Claus within our family traditions. I want Christmas to be a fun time for Castiél, but I also do not want to elaborately lie to my child. This also applies to the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. I feel that faith is a sacred thing - I want to teach my children faith in God, not in fairy tales. Not that fairy tales and myths don't have their place, but they do not have their place as TRUTH. I do not want to betray the trust Castiél has in us as parents just for the sake of holiday "fun."

I also do not want to manipulate the behavior of my children by lying to them. Parents have used Santa Claus as a means to manipulate their children into "behaving" for decades, but now this Elf on a Shelf further propagates the lie. Not only are you telling your children that there is a Santa Claus (a myth based on a truth at least), now you are actively lying to them on a daily basis by telling them that this "magic" elf leaves your house each night to go tattle to Santa.

Now at this point you may call me cynical and wonder about my own childhood Christmas memories. They are great! I got stockings and gifts from "Santa," but my parents never created an elaborate basis for our belief in Santa. I do not remember believing in him or not believing in him, and more importantly, I do not remember a "crisis" when I found out that I had been lied to.

It amazes me how many Christian families have adopted this tradition of the Elf on a Shelf. I just can't figure out how this tradition fits into a Biblical worldview. I want to teach Castiél about St. Nicholas - the historical figure who as a Christ-follower sacrificed his own material possessions to give to those with less. THIS is a lesson I want Castiél to learn! Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, has written a phenomenal article about redeeming Christmas and celebrating the Season without caving to cultural traditions that are not in line with our faith.

The verse that is running around in my mind as I write this is Matthew 7:11, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" I think it is completely Biblical to give "good gifts" to your children in YOUR name at Christmas and teach them that God (not Santa Claus) is able to give them even more than we could ever give them.

Well, that's my two cents. Take it or leave it. I'm sure I've offended some, but I just had to get that off my chest.

Comments

I love this! We taught our kids the truth about Santa from the time they each had their 1st Christmas, and the truth about Jesus. Like you, we just couldn't justify deliberately lying to our kids and/or manipulating them. It never dampened their excitement at Christmastime, and our Christmas eve tradition of "giving a gift to Jesus"-something from our life/heart-has become the highlight for everyone. We also found ways to create the elements of anticipation and surprise, which wasn't hard anyway...what kids doesn't love waking up to a pile of presents! :)

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