Christmas Traditions: Santa Claus & The Spirit of Santa

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Pajamas: Target // Photography: Chloe Saltarelli Photography

Just like most modern mommas, I’m in several Facebook “mom groups”. Recently I saw a post from a mom in one of those groups asking everyone to share their thoughts on Santa Claus, and how they handle the tradition of Santa with their children. As I read through dozens of responses from moms all across the country, it became clear that everyone has their own way of approaching this topic. This is how my husband and I have chosen to introduce the tradition of Santa Claus to our family … and maybe it will serve as inspiration for your family traditions also!

When I was growing up… 

Ever since I was a little girl, Santa Claus was a BIG deal. My mom went ALL OUT. Like, next level, over-the-top effort to make sure we didn’t find out the truth behind the big man in the red suit. She ordered custom wrapping paper with our names on it, always used special ribbons and tags that weren’t used for any other presents (and that were apparently stored separately from the other gift wrap since I never did find those supplies), and would make sure every little detail was perfectly executed so my brother and I were led to believe the magic of Santa Claus was the only explanation for something so grand! I’m not kidding when I say Christmas mornings were magical when I was growing up. Even when I was older and had learned the truth, my mom refused to acknowledge any doubters and simply replied, “Only those who believe will get Santa presents!” Even in my know-it-all teenage years, I knew Santa’s presents were the best presents, so my brother and I continued playing along with my mom’s Santa game for years and years. Kudos, mom … I loved how you made Santa so special for us.

Now that I’m a mom… 

Thus, it’s only natural that I have followed right in my mom’s footsteps to make sure everything is just as magical for my children as it was for me. I use special wrapping paper that is reserved only for Santa presents, different bows, special name tags… the whole shebang! But every year, I can’t help thinking about how sad it will be when my children discover the truth about Santa Claus one day. All of my secret shopping, planning, late-night wrapping and decorating … it’ll all be over. And the magic will suddenly disappear. Or maybe it doesn’t have to end there… 

The Spirit of Santa…

My husband and I feel strongly that Christmas needs to be about more than just presents and Santa Claus. After all, the entire reason Christmas exists is to celebrate the Birth of Jesus. We want our children to maintain a perspective of gratitude and generosity throughout the season of Christmas and (most importantly) throughout their life. To achieve this, we have decided that once our children approach us with questions about Santa’s real identity, we will introduce the “Spirit of Santa”. We will explain that while Santa Claus is a fictional character, the Spirit of Santa is real and lives in every single person who chooses to use it. We will go on to say that the Spirit of Santa is all about giving with a pure heart– just like Jesus did for us when he died on the cross for our sins. The Spirit of Santa does not seek credit or praise, and it does not ask for anything in return. Mommies and Daddies all over the world give gifts under the “Santa Claus” alias because they love seeing their children’s eyes light up with happiness and wonder. We will then tell our children that they can now be a “Santa Claus”, just like mommy and daddy have been all these years. All they have to do is choose a person that they want to surprise with a gift or a random act of kindness, which we will help them execute. By completing these special gestures for other people anonymously, they will keep the Spirit of Santa alive. We hope that this will allow the magic of Christmas to continue throughout their whole life, and will ingrain on their hearts that giving selflessly, without agenda, is far better than receiving. And that’s what the spirit of Christmas (and Santa Claus) is all about.



  • Reply Denise Meyer December 11, 2017 at 6:43 PM

    Such a sweet post – magical!

    • Reply redlipsandnails December 11, 2017 at 11:57 PM

      Thank you, Denise!!

  • Reply Jamie Stewart December 11, 2017 at 10:47 PM


  • Reply Author Mikki Noble December 11, 2017 at 11:55 PM

    You guys are too cute!!! Thanks for sharing these lovely photos 🙂 I figured out about Santa extremely early and I really wish I hadn’t. You and your husband are doing a great thing.

    • Reply redlipsandnails December 11, 2017 at 11:57 PM

      Thank you, Mikki!! I’m so happy you enjoyed the post and our perspective 😘

  • Reply Sunrita December 12, 2017 at 1:46 AM

    Such a beautiful piece! Incidentally my 8year old had voiced doubts about Santa but in her own words said ‘ that I do believe in the spirit of Santa’ !

    • Reply redlipsandnails December 12, 2017 at 8:30 AM

      Oh that is so fantastic! What a wise little lady she is! So glad you enjoyed my post 🙂 thank you

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