Is Santa Claus Real? by Rebecca Sicree

Is Santa Claus Real?

on Faërian Drama & the End of Enchantment

My husband and I must have been careless.

Christmas morning, while we were still sleeping off our annual all-nighter and the kids were fidgeting to go downstairs, our son John announced, "I woke up last night and looked downstairs. It was just Mom and Dad wrapping presents. There is no Santa Claus."

"I wasn't really surprised," Helena said afterwards. "When you're one of the youngest, somebody always tells you there is no Santa Claus. I just liked pretending." She sighed. "But I remember feeling sad afterwards whenever I watched The Polar Express. I thought, 'Now I will never hear the bell . . .'" In The Polar Express there is a sleigh bell that only those who believe in Santa can hear, and Helena knew she didn't believe in him anymore.

But somehow she still believed in the bell.

The Santa Controversy

Santa Claus, that peculiarly American avatar of Saint Nicholas, remains surprisingly controversial for a character who promotes good will and generosity among children. Some secularists think he is too Christian—and ban him from public schools—and some Christians say he is too secular—and ban him from church. But there is another dividing line between Santa's supporters and opponents that cuts across religious lines: 85 percent of American children under five believe that Santa Claus is real. Is this good or bad? Is telling children about Santa Claus passing on a tradition, sharing a fantasy . . . or telling a lie?

Our friend Vicky and her husband decided not to tell their son about Santa Claus for this very reason: her husband considered it a lie. Instead, they told him about Saint Nicholas. This worked until their son came home from kindergarten and told his parents that all his friends said there was a Santa Claus.

"We said that, no, there wasn't, and he stopped and thought about it," Vicky remembered. "And then he said that he didn't believe us."

Parents can never completely control outside influences on their children.

Or even inside influences, like older brothers.


Rebecca Sicree writes from Boalsburg, Pennsylvania. She and her family attend Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in nearby State College. She and her husband Andrew have ten children, six of whom are now adults.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!

Online
Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.


more on Christmas from the online archives

11.6—November/December 1998

Rediscovering Advent

by Thomas S. Buchanan

19.10—December 2006

God Rest Ye Merry

by Wilfred M. McClay

28.6—Nov/Dec 2015

Our Christmas Home

on the Deepest Longings of the Restless & the Lonely by William Graddy


more from the online archives

33.4—July/August 2020

Pondering Evil

on Boethius's Consolation in a Time of Plague by Thomas Albert Howard

32.5—September/October 2019

Feral Sexuality

on the Inhuman Transformation of Transgenderism by Anthony Esolen

35.6—Nov/Dec 2022

The Prince’s Peace

on the Divine Promise Fulfilled by the Child of Bethlehem by James M. Kushiner

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

00