Thursday, December 20, 2007

Is Santa Claus a Good Idea?

Thabiti Anywabile has written a very thought-provoking post on whether or not Christians should include Santa Claus in their Christmas observance (Down with Santa Claus!).


thatbradguy said...

isn't celebrating Christ's birth on dec 25 (as well as his resurrection at easter) an act of cultural syncretism? weren't these dates selected to give Christians something to do while the pagans were having their fun? it's really just a question of where you're going to draw your line.

Todd Pruitt said...


It is not syncretism to celebrate Christmas in December and Easter in the Spring. Syncretism carries with it the idea of union, unity, or sameness. Religious syncretists, as I am sure you know, argue for the unity of all religions.

When Christians began celebrating Christ during times that had been set aside by pagans for their myths and debauchery it was a bold anti-syncratic act. They were saying to the pagans, "We are NOT you. We do NOT believe what you believe or practice what you practice."

So, I would suggest that celebrating the birth and resurrection of Christ when we do is the very opposite of cultural syncretism.

Now, I don't have a problem with Santa Claus. I think he's a pretty benign tradition whose roots are in the Christian church. However, I do think it is probably true that most Christian families spend more time focused on traditions than Christ this time of year.

I think Thabiti is simply saying that the decision his family made to remove Santa completely from their Christmas observance is one worth considering by all Christians.