Some Christians don't want their kids to believe in Santa Claus because they are afraid that when they find out he isn't real they will think God is not real. And that's fine for them. But here is why Santa Claus is okay in my book:
"I suspect that fairy tales and Santa Claus do prepare us to embrace the ultimate Fairy Tale, the one Lewis believed was ingrained in our being."(1)I agree with the above quote whole heartedly. C. S. Lewis described the Truth of God sending his son, Jesus, into the world to live among humanity and then die for their sins as "the Myth that became Fact". He spoke of "Phantastes", by George MacDonald, as "baptizing his imagination". It, along with the other stories that stirred his heart and mind, prepared him and helped pushed him towards his eventual acceptance of the True Story, the Gospel Story. After all, God has "set eternity in the hearts of men". He draws us to Himself through the very longings for the heroic and the fantastic that He puts within us!
Back to Santa... "New research from the Université de Montréal and the University of Ottawa indicates that children aren't overly troubled upon learning that Santa is a myth. But the researchers remained puzzled because while children eventually abandon Santa, they keep believing in God. Lewis would say this is because God is real, but Mr. Dawkins fears it is the lasting damage of fairy tales. While Mr. Dawkins stands ironically alongside Puritans in his readiness to ban fairy tales, Christian apologists like Lewis and Chesterton embraced them, precisely because to embrace Christian dogma is to embrace the extrarational."(1)
I am living proof that a child can be raised in a Christian home (a preacher's kid at that!), allowed to believe in Santa, while still learning that Christmas is really all about Jesus.
My dear friend Megan is another example. She writes, "As a child I believed in Santa. When I was too old to believe in Santa, and knew better, I still wanted him to be real. I wanted to believe there was a place where magic, and wonder, and happiness, a perpetual child's wonderland, so to speak, existed untouched, unspoiled. Now I know that place does exist, just not anywhere on earth. At least not yet. But I have that hope in Christ. And every year, Father Christmas is a type, a reminder or a shadow of the Father of this world who sent His son as a ransom for my life. I need this reminding every year as the trivial trials and events cause my focus to waver off that which is most important." (Megan Missler)
All I can say to that is me too Megan, me too. :-)
(1) These quotes were taken from "OK, Virginia, There's No Santa Claus. But There Is God". You can read the article in its entirety here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122963990662019887.html