Are we going lie to our child about Santa Claus? Yes, we are, we are going to lie about the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy as well. "But then she will question the truth about Jesus and become an athiest" (or so I have been told.) The truth is though, I have never met the person who responded in that way nor do I believe that has ever happened. If it has, then I think that person must have deeper issues and was not really a true Christian in the first place.
"But then your child will miss the real meaning of Christmas and focus on Santa instead of Jesus." Yesterday, I was told that the virgin birth should be reason enough for Claire to be excited about Christmas. Now, I don't know about you but I have never explained what a virgin is to a young child let alone a virgin birth and expected them to see the greatness in that. If you want to try, then more power to you.
Growing up my brothers and I were lied to about Santa and I am so thankful. It made Christmas such a (and I hesitate to use this word) magical time. I have no doubt that the reason I get so excited about Christmas is because of how amazing it was as a child. My parents were pretty conservative about Santa compared to our friends. We never had images or characters of Santa and even to this day we don't buy anything that has Santa on it as the Christmas icon. For us, Jesus was of course the reason we have Christmas and Santa was an added bonus.
I remember vividly the day my mom told me there was no Santa. I was 6 years old. She called me into the kitchen away from my brothers (both still believed but apparently one of my friends had told me there was no Santa and I began to ask questions). My mom quietly told me that it wasn't Santa that put gifts in our stocking. "Is it Jesus?" I asked. "No, it's me and Dad, but it is fun to pretend and you can't tell the boys because they still think there is a Santa and we don't want to take the fun away from them" I then felt extremely privileged with this classified knowledge and made sure to guard this secret carefully.
A few years later, I was helping in Bryan's Sunday school class (he was 5 at the time) and a girl in the class raised her hand with a prayer request. "I want to pray for all the kids who still believe in Santa - cause we know he is fake" she said. I remember being mortified that now poor young Bryan had his childhood stolen from him. Luckily, he must have not been paying attention because he never brought it up and was still a Santa believer for a couple more years.
I completely understand everyone who is not comfortable with telling their children there is a Santa, as it is a personal, family decision. But please, let your kids know that it is not their duty to make sure they spread their knowledge to the less fortunate children who have dishonest parents.