New ebook available! “To Elf or Not to Elf?”

To Elf or Not to Elf?

How to Have a Christ-Focused Christmas Without Ruining the Fun or Lying to Your Kids

Unless you’ve lived under a rock the past few years, it’s probably come to your attention that Elf on the Shelf is all the rage. Everyone’s doing it and taking pictures of their Elves and posting on Facebook. Kids are going to school talking about the unexpected places their elf showed up in the night. There are even blogs dedicated to how to pull off the best Elf mischief.

I’ve been reluctant to get in on this new tradition. On one hand I marveled at the brilliance of the person who came up with the concept (and the millions of dollars they have undoubtedly made). I was also amused by all of the fun people seemed to be having placing their Elf every night with their kids waking up in the morning, excited to see what that little guy has been up to while they’ve been sleeping.

But a little nagging in the back of my mind prevented me from joining in on the fun.

The conflict in me is this… if I push Santa (or the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy) as real, how do I expect my children to believe or trust me about other thing things? Last year my daughter (who was three at the time), thought Santa and God were the same being. One night, she even started her prayer to Santa. Virginia, we have a problem.

How can I impress upon her that God is real if I also tell her that Santa is real? When she discovers Santa doesn’t exist, will she wonder if God really exists?

Just in time for the holiday season, To Elf or Not to Elf will explore:

  • The issue of whether or not we, as parents, should encourage magical thinking in the form of Santa and other beings.
  • The meanings and origins of popular holiday traditions.
  • A variety of fun and meaningful activities to help keep your family Christ-focused this Christmas season.

At just under 30 pages, this ebook shares an overview of popular holiday traditions and will provide some food for thought as to how to approach the upcoming holiday season.

Order Your Copy Today!

eBook – Price: $3.99

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  1. Its just for fun. I believed in Santa when I was little and I believe in GOD as and adult.

    • HelloMyNameisShanna says:

      I think it’s all a balance and a personal choice of what you think is best for your family. I personally have found I’m much more comfortable talking about Santa in the context of the legend of Saint Nicholas rather than Santa with reindeer.

  2. We chose early on for those very reasons to not do Santa with our 3 children. Our children haven’t missed out on any fun and they still get surprise gifts in stockings and under the tree on Christmas morning. We even do 3 gifts like the 3 wise men. It’s hard to outright lie to your children and we wanted them to never question if God was a myth too. We don’t like equating this made up being as having God’s power of knowing what your doing and what you ask of him will come true. We want all that glory to only be given to God.

    • HelloMyNameisShanna says:

      I love the idea of giving three gifts in honor of the three gifts from the wise me. We’ll be doing that this year!

    • So, you have never read your child a fictional book, ever? Never let them pretend? Never let them use their imaginations? God can be given glory in everything if you do it correctly.

      • HelloMyNameisShanna says:

        Dawn, I agree that God can be given the glory in everything if done correctly. That is the gist of the conclusion in my book and I also share ways in which to do that during the Christmas season.

  3. I’m sorry, but I often find this argument ridiculous! I grew up believing in the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and Santa and yet I NEVER doubted Jesus. God’s word is more powerful than any story written and He can overpower myth and fun.It is not us as humans that affect what our children believe but the calling and understanding of the Holy Spirit. Our words are not stronger than His. Children need to have fun and believe in fun things. In fact, children who believe in fairy tales are actually better adjusted later in life! And, I feel the need to point out, even Jesus told fictional stories in the form of parables. Do you think He had people sitting around saying, “Well, how do I know if He really rose again? I mean, did you hear that story about the women who fell asleep waiting for the bridegroom? Like that would ever happen!”

    • HelloMyNameisShanna says:

      In my book I explore Christmas traditions, what they mean and how to go about choosing traditions and activities that focus on what’s most important for your family. I’m not saying to completely ostracize your child from anything Santa related. Instead, approach it intentionally and figure out how you want to position the stories so that your kids can distinguish fact from fiction.

  4. I agree that if you lie about Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter bunny then the kids may think Jesus is a lie too.

    • HelloMyNameisShanna says:

      I just don’t feel right saying, “Yes, honey, Santa is real” and going to great lengths to make them believe in Santa only to have to untell that story later. I do think there is a way to position Santa so that you’re not lying, but still allowing them to pretend. In the book Pinocchio Parenting, author Dr. Chuck Borsellino outlines age appropriate talking points to tell your kids the truth about Santa a little bit at a time. For instance, he suggests telling the story of Santa as “There’s a story from long ago” or “Some people say…” This allows for pretending (the same as you would about the existence of Elmo or Mickey Mouse) without lying.

  5. My kids know that Santa is not real but we still have fun with the idea of Santa. They know the story of the true “Santa Claus” aka St. Nicolas (his full name escapes me at the moment), and my boys know that it after Santa was gone parents made his good deeds continue. Christmas morning they each get 1 gift that “Santa” brought them. Those are the gifts that Have been extra blessings from God.
    I must say I was one that was devastated when I was little to hear that Santa was not real. I never doubted God though. You can celebrate with imagination of Santa without lying to your kids.
    We have not done the elf on the shelf but it is still a very cute idea to have fun with and if I could find one cheap to buy we totally would. I know many of my friend that do it but most of the kids know it is mom and dad moving him, but the kids all seem to get so excited as to where/ what the elf has done next. Never lie to your children but let there imaginations have fun!

    • HelloMyNameisShanna says:

      I agree to let their imaginations have fun! I felt betrayed when I learned there was no Santa at age six. I felt silly that I had fallen for it. I don’t know if these things are directly related or not, but even though I grew up going to church, it wasn’t until I was in my 20s did I realize the Bible was a historical text. I thought it was a book of fables. Maybe that’s why I’m a little sensitive to being sure to present Santa information in a certain way.

  6. Thank you for writing this. For me it is so simple, lying is one of the commandments. The commandment doesn’t say “don’t lie unless it’s super fun”. We have 3 sons, 7 and under, and I have never lied to them. It is so thrilling to be able to look them in the eyes and tell them I have never lied to them. I would never give that up to do something as insignificant as Santa. And I grew up with Santa, LOVED the tradition, wasn’t traumatized when I learned the truth, assumed I would do it with my children. But when that first child was born, perspectives changed and suddenly I was a role model and I needed to role model not lying which is something I can easily do with them. So there’s my take. Blessings to you, precious lady!

  7. I grew up believing in Santa, the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy. My family stopped going to church when I was 5 and so I have no real memory of church except for the times I went to church with my grandparents while visiting them. My rebellion from my childhood? I have my family in church, my kids have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, they are homeschooled with a biblical based curriculum. I also did Santa, Easter bunny etc with my kids and they know there is only one Saviour. I never felt like my parents lied to me nor did my kids feel that way about my husband and I. It’s really about priorities, you can have fun while they’re young cause they’re only young once while still leading then down the right path. My kids never put Santa or anything else above The Lord and they knew the real meaning of Christmas was about the birth of Jesus and that Santa was just a fun part of Christmas but NOT the main reason. To each his own when it comes to this, my kids and I love the fun in Christmas, the traditions etc and yes we still “believe” in Santa and always will because it’s all about giving and not receiving in our house. *This is just my opinion and not meant to offend anyone, blessings to you all 🙂

  8. My kids never believed in Santa because I never could bring myself to tell them that he was real. We put the main focus on the true meaning of Christmas, but we also like to have fun with the other Christmas traditions. I’ve thought about doing the elf thing without the story that goes with it just because I think it would be fun for them to find the elf every morning doing some interesting things.


  1. […] fun of Santa and the spirit of Christ in your family’s Christmas holiday, check out the ebook: To Elf or Not To Elf, How to Have a Christ Focused Christmas Without Ruining the Fun or Lying to Yo…by Shanna Goodman.  You can get this book for $2.99 today with the promo code FOCUS (normally […]

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