I often wonder about how it will affect my daughter when she finds out that Santa is not real. She associates Christmas with Santa and with Jesus. When she finds out that Santa is not real, will she also think that Jesus is fictitious? I do not want to ruin the fun of her childhood, but I wondered if I should try explaining that no one has ever seen Santa and work my way to tell her that he is not real. Any thoughts? -- Gregory Baugh (Kingston)

Just how old is your daughter? In my experience, learning that Santa was fictional has never ruined the faith of a child. Maybe I've not met all the victims, but I personally see little if any risk in the Christmas fantasies we encourage in our children.

I see little difference between the Christmas stories and children's Fairy Tales, or even the stories in most children's books. There is something healthy about make-believe play with young children. (Of course, we would be concerned if Johnny, age 12, still believed in dragons and trolls and elves!) But as we mature, we learn the difference between fantasy and reality.

Not all Christians would agree, and I would certainly encourage them to follow their convictions.

[From Q&A 0726]