Mikalah asked:

Should we tell children that Santa Claus isn't real? By telling them these stories are we lying to them?

Tim Staples replied:

[Editor's note: This is all paraphrased.]

Check out our website, we have a blog post on this by Michelle Arnold. Let me give you my perspective. This is not definitive Catholic teaching. No, it is not a lie to tell children tales about Santa Claus. I don't have a problem with this, but my wife does.

We as a culture need to teach our children that stories and myths are good. They are used to communicate certain truths. The intention of the Santa Claus story isn't to tell a lie. It can be presented in a way that's not healthy however. How I do it with my kids, we teach them that Santa Claus is a fictitious representation of a fourth century Catholic Bishop St. Nicholas. This isn't any different than the cartoons our children watch. The most important thing is that they get the moral truths in the stories, not think that the characters are real.

Even though parents want kids to believe Santa Claus is real, they aren't doing it in a deceptive way to hurt the children. They are doing it to get them involved in the story. But there comes a time where myths need to be identified to older children.

If you have a kid that has good parents that are ready at that tender age of six or seven, to teach them that Santa Claus is really a story about St. Nicholas and it's a story about God's providence and how God uses saints to bless us to bring gifts to us, spiritually not just physically, that's great. This can be a launching point to teach all sorts of truths to your kids. If you have parents that just don't care, then the problem runs much deeper than just Santa Claus.

Source material:

The Truth about Santa Claus by Michelle Arnold, Catholic Answers


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2013)

Editor's note: This is an excerpt of the answer provided. For the complete response download the podcast.

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Show air date: December 3, 2013

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Tim Staples

Question appeared in show: 1:46

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