Christ or Santa Claus; Man, am I confused!

Most of us know the basic history of Santa Claus…

Nicholas, a 17-year-old Catholic priest, became known for his generosity toward those that were in need (especially children).  Following his death the Catholic church granted him the status of sainthood.  As the Catholic church began to celebrate Christmas, they included St Nicholas in their celebration.

As time progressed, due to the influence of the reformation, the person of St Nicholas began to be changed into a variety of characters.  Different nations began to form their own description and name for this generous person.  St Nicholas’s new names ranged from Father Christmas, Christmas Man, Pere Noel and many others.  The name most commonly used in our country, Santa Claus, came from the Dutch version of St Nicholas, who was given the name, Sinterklaas.

In the early 1800s, most of the specific features of Santa Claus were first developed by two different publications; Clement C. Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and Thomas Nast’s yearly drawings of Santa Claus in “Harper’s Weekly” magazine.

Finally in the early to mid 1900’s Coca Cola commercials were the first time Santa Claus was pictured with the all of his modern-day features.

During the years of this evolutionary process, Santa Claus became an inseparable part of the American holiday season.  The vast majority of homes in the US continue to include Santa Claus in their Christmas celebration.  According to an AP AOL News poll 85% of those polled believed in Santa Claus as a child.  Also, over 60% of homes with children believe that Santa Claus is “important” to their holiday celebration.   For an eye-opening look at the role of Santa in the American celebration of Christmas please go to the poll:

Christmas, which mankind has set aside to celebrate the birth of Christ, in today’s time seems to center more on Santa Claus than on the Lord Jesus Christ.  So what gives?  Could it be, that the world has chosen to replace Christ with Santa Claus?  Is Santa Claus the secular version of Christ? Let’s take a look and see what similarities Christ and Santa share…


To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. (Isa 40:25)


In our text, the Lord is making the point that He is clearly exalted above all creatures, great or small.  Although this is a true statement, many times man tries to find replacements for Christ.  One of those man-made replacements is Santa Claus.

Here is a quick comparison of Christ with Santa Claus:

  1. Comes in the Sky – Mark 14:62
  2. Has White Hair – Rev 1:14
  3. Wears Red Clothing –  Isa 63:1-2
  4. The Time of His Coming Is Unknown – Matt 24:43-44
  5. Knows All The Actions Of Humans – Hebs 4:13
  6. Can Be Present Everywhere – Jer 23:23-24
  7. Will Not Die – Rev 1:8
  8. Rewards Good / Evil  –  Rev 22:12, Rom 14:12 … Santa leaves gifts or coal
  9. Loves Little Children – Mark 10:14
  10. Described as Christ child – Luke 2:11-12…. Kris Kringle means “Christ Child”
  11. Says Ho Ho – Zech 2:6
  12. Answers requests made to Him – Matthew 7:7
  13. Belief in Him is necessary for gifts to be received – Hebs 11:6
  14. We Look forward to His coming – Titus 2:13

Need I say more?


As we celebrate this Christmas season, at the least, we need to be sure that our children understand the true meaning of Christmas.  We can all do this by emphasizing the role of Christ and minimizing the role of Santa Claus.

For some of us, we may decide to totally exclude Santa from our holiday celebration and center all of our attention on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  After all, isn’t that what He really deserves?

I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. (Isa 42:8)


About Rob Barkman

A retired pastor, Bible teacher and author of 20 years, he is currently ministering through Settled In Heaven Ministries. SIH Ministries is an on-line Bible teaching ministry that was founded by Bro Barkman in 2010. Settled In Heaven’s mission is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by fulfilling two different roles... rendering encouragement and Biblical knowledge to the saints in an effort to enhance their service to Christ; and proclaiming the gospel message to those who are in need of salvation, explaining to them their urgent need to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

24 Responses to Christ or Santa Claus; Man, am I confused!

  1. Pingback: San Nicolo di Bari in Italy: Santa Claus is Coming to Town | Vino Con Vista Italy Travel Guides and Events

  2. Hi Rob. If others want to use the Santa legend, it is their business and I won’t criticise, but it is something I have always avoided and will continue to do so.

    I have a vivid memory of teaching Sunday School. One of the boys had recently found out that Santa was make-believe. When we were talking about the goodness of God and His blessings to us, the boy piped up “And when do we find out He is fake, just like Santa?”

    I’ve never had a Santa in the house and have never bought a card with Santa on or used Santa in any way. I consider such things as Santa, the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny etc as telling lies to my children and I won’t be part of it. Telling children that a present is from Santa is an outright lie and cannot be excused.

    The Christmas story, on the other hand, is beautiful and TRUE, and requires no lies or commercialism to back it up.

    • Love this comment…Amen! Exactly how I feel. Hope you liked my poem 😀

    • Rob Barkman says:

      Hi Angela,

      We are pretty much on the same page… I know that for many the issue of Santa Claus is a “white lie” type of thing. The idea is since it doesn’t hurt anyone it is not classified like a “black lie”. Your illustration shows that this “white lie” does hurt those who are lied to. That’s why the Bible is plain, there is no wuch thing as a “white lie” they are all black, sinful and hurtful.

      A member of one of my past pastorates told me that a “white lie” is simply a lie that is lied about. I’ve never forgotten that. It is so true. Lord bless you. Thanks for the additional comments.

  3. Rob Barkman says:

    Lyn and Water Bearer…. thanks for all your comments. Lord bless.

  4. ptl2010 says:

    Thank you for an excellent post Pastor Rob. It is a good and easy reference for Christian parents who would like to teach their children the difference between Jesus Christ and Santa Claus and are grappling with what to tell their kids about the truth. Blessings to you.

  5. Lyn Leahz says:

    SANTA, change a few letters SATAN. LOL Hey, in a sense… he sure does take away the true meaning of Christmas. innocent propaganda of seemingly goodness.

    • Hi Lyn, Yes he does, doesn’t he. My poem sparked quite the discussion on my blog as we discussed back and forth the pro’s and con’s of Santa at Christmas. You may find it interesting and maybe even want to join in. 🙂 It would be nice to hear another perspective. Blessings to you!

      • Lyn Leahz says:

        Sure. Would be happy to. 😉 By the way, nice to hear from you! I’ve missed you! It’ll probably be a little bit here..I’m finishing up the editing of a chapter in my book. I’m nearly done and will then be submitting it to Thomas Nelson for publication..whooh! I love to write..but I hate editing! Tedious!

      • Wow! That’s awesome Lyn. Congratulations! I know what you mean about editing, if feels like it will never end! Wishing you all the best of God’s blessings over your work. 🙂

    • Rob Barkman says:

      Never thought of that Lyn… thnaks for your comments. Lord bless.

      • Lyn Leahz says:

        Oh, I don’t know for sure if there is anything in that. I just heard someone..I think it was Perry Stone, but could’ve been someone else, mention that. It was just a ‘slight’ interesting point. Thanks Pastor Barkman. 😉

  6. A Poem of Christmas Woe – From

    “Lilly sit still” My mother’s voice rings out, “I don’t want to” I say, as I punch and shout.
    The fat jolly man on who’s knee I was sat, Thought it ok to give a soothing pat
    But his touch didn’t soothe my flighty fight, In fact it didn’t feel quite right
    And when I tried to sleep that night, The thought of him gave me an awful fright
    I’d heard of Santa Claus and his right, To come into my home at night
    Our security screens were in doubt, And wouldn’t keep this stranger out
    My parents said “sleep” I must, For “Santa Claus we sure could trust”
    But everything else they had taught before, Lay open in warning all over the floor
    I knew I hadn’t done my best all year, So why were there so many presents here?
    They told me he viewed me from all ranges, This proves I need to make no changes.
    The kids at school told me it was all a lie, “My parents lied?” I wondered why…
    So if that fat man they forced me to love, Wasn’t really watching from above
    Perhaps there is no God there too, And why should I believe in you?
    When I grew up and became a mum, I told my kids that was no fun
    I wanted them to know I would tell no lies, Not of fairy’s or Santa or the bogey man’s flies
    The birth of Christ is our Christmas story, A babe who came with hope and glory
    His purpose here is losing impact, Diluted by a man with toys in his sack
    I see these tricks now so much better, and it comes with the change of just one letter
    Santa’s ‘N’ makes it’s way to the end, as Satan’s name is sure to offend
    In a world so full of broken trust, A parent’s truth is a vital must
    So before you tuck your kids in this eve, Be sure of what you make them believe.
    Great Post, I couldn’t help but pass on this poem The Lord inspired me to write. Blessings to you!

    • Lyn Leahz says:

      Love it, and so true! The enemy has a way of making bad things ‘seem’ good. Halloween is a fine example. Easter is celebrated with pagan traditions..bunny’s and eggs, which are pagan symbols to do with ‘mother earth’ and her ‘fertility’..the egg… the bunnys (who mass reproduce in the spring). Then there is Christmas…totally focused on money, buying presents, and Santa Claus with elves and ‘magical’ reindeer. And let us not forget the tree..which is also pagan (specifically mentioned in the Old Testament..the pagans would go out and decorate the pine tree and worship it, and the original date to celebrate this holiday way back when was December 25! Elves are also symbolic in witchcraft, and magic is obviously witchcraft. Satan has taken every “Holy” holiday and turned them into Pagan holidays, the focus completely off of what the holiday is about to begin with. Then, those of us who know the truth, are made out to be fanatics for saying something about it.
      The only people who have held fast to the Godly holidays are the Jewish people…who have not polluted the Lord’s days with Satanic symbolism.

      • You are so right! It seems so obvious to me, yet I am shamed by other mother’s for ‘Destroying my Children’s Dreams!” …Are you kidding me? The dreams of a child raised to open their imagination to the limitlessness of God’s power and the amazing mind blowing stories in the Bible, far out weighs the fictitious lies shoved down the throats of almost every child in the world! I am so glad I have found other who can see through this deception. Bless you Sister! 🙂

      • Lyn Leahz says:

        Amen. Pastor Rob here did a whole sermon, a bunch of posts, on Halloween. I don’t celebrate Halloween. Next Halloween, I’m going to take a big black slab of wood that was a shelf to an old entertainment unit and write in white paint, “As for and my house, we will serve the Lord!” and put it in the front yard…at the bottom of it, it will say, “We celebrate life!” And then put decorations around the yard to do with Jesus, the cross, etc. I was going to do it this year, but I couldn’t find the shelf..I finally found it the other day when I was looking for something else in the garage. All of the houses around me have caskets, skeletons, things that look like dead bodies hanging from things…you know, typical Halloween stuff. And then the same people at Christmas time put up all of this stuff to do with Santa Claus and reindeer. It sure looks pretty…but I’m sure it doesn’t look so pretty in the spiritual realms.

      • Lol I love that idea! That sounds great!! Being in Australia we are lucky enough to have less Halloween Hooplah in the past. Unfortunately, as with everything, it is being adopted into more and more homes here every day, not quite to the extent that I believe Americans and English do, but it is increasing year by year.. I have never had ‘trick or treaters’ at my door because we have loud dogs that keep everyone out. 🙂 But I still like the idea of that sign! Amen! God love you, you rock and make me smile from over the ocean between us. 😀

      • Lyn Leahz says:

        Amen! You too! We don’t answer the door on halloween. I wish I had access to a bunch of those free Bibles they leave in hotels..except the mini ones. The little New Testaments everyone hands out for free… I would hand each kid one with a candy cross or something. And, when my house gets toilet papered as a result..or egged..I will honestly be able to say that I was persecuted and suffered for working for the Lord. That would be the up-side! LOL

      • That would be so cool to do. I wonder where we could get those Bibles from??? We must find the upside in times of persecution and that is a great way to look at it hahaha. 😀

      • Lyn Leahz says:

        Amen! Gideon used to do that stuff… they’d probably throw the Bible somewhere (kids) but then in the future, find it and start reading it.

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