It was the saddest Christmas I had ever known.  I was ten years old and had just learned that the beloved Santa Claus was not real.  I don’t know if ten years old is too old or too young to learn this, but in 1977 as an only child who was overly protected by her parents, this is when my parents chose to break the bad news to me.

I am not exaggerating when I say that it completely took all the joy away from my Christmas that year.  On a Christmas that should have been my most meaningful one yet because six months earlier I had accepted Jesus as my Savior, I was in a depressed state.  I remember that I did not enjoy that Christmas at all.  To compound the sadness, this is also when you typically find out that there is no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy either.  What about Jesus?  I did have to ask because they had just rocked my world.  You see, I had this whole thing figured out – Jesus would tell Santa who was naughty and nice.

Me - with my Christmas gifts in 1972.
Me – with my Christmas gifts in 1972.

I’ll never forget the year my mother forgot to put my Easter basket out from the Easter Bunny.  I woke up early that Sunday morning and ran to the den where the Bunny typically left it, but it was not there!  Oh no!  I wondered what in the world had I done that was so bad that it would deter the Easter Bunny from giving me an Easter basket.  I ran into my parent’s room with the alarming news.  Alarmed, they got up and my mother led me to the dining room – a room we never went into – where she had it hiding.  Oh, I was relieved when I saw it sitting on the table in that room!  Silly rabbit!  My mom was also relieved (she had forgotten to set it out for me).  Well, that was close….and, traumatizing!!!

Fast forward to parenthood.  I can hardly believe it, but I made the drastic decision to not do Santa with my kids, or the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy.  Please don’t check out, as I don’t want you to let my conviction feel like condemnation if you have Santa for your Christmas.  These are things I felt compelled to leave out of my holidays, but I do not mind if others don’t.  I am simply writing about this for those whom may be considering saying farewell to Santa, too.

Santa's red hat

Here are some thoughts and questions you might have for me –

  1. What then would I say about Santa? I would tell my girls that Santa was only a fairy-tale.  I was never harsh with them about it.  I did not make a big deal about him one way or the other so it wasn’t a big deal to them.  My goal was to mainly focus on Jesus’ Birthday.
  2. Did I let them have their pictures made with Santa? The good thing about a Santa-less Christmas is that I did not have to stand in those long lines at the mall only to let my kids be scared out of their wits once they got a close up of Santa.  With that being said, there were two times that my girls asked to have their pictures made with these holiday fairy-tales, so we do have a picture with the Easter Bunny and one with Santa.  Again, I did not make a big deal about it; I just didn’t promote them to my children.
  3. Did we watch Santa kid movies during the Christmas season?  Of course we did!  Just like we watched other fairy-tale shows.
  4. What about their friends who believed in Santa? I asked them to not tell their friends because some believed in Santa.  I cannot recall any problems from this, but that is no guarantee.
  5. What did I do without Santa? I still got them gifts they would love and simply wrote, “From Mommy and Daddy” on the gift tags.  They never missed him.
  6. Are you sure they did not miss Santa? At the time, I do not believe they did; it’s hard to miss something you never had.
  7. Did they introduce Santa to their children? My elder daughter has 3 little boys 6 and under.  She did do Santa for the past few years because she thought it would be fun since she did not have that experience as a child, but she also said farewell to Santa this year, and here is how she did it.
  8. Was I upset that my kids did not carry on with my Santa-less Christmas tradition? I only have one daughter with kids who wanted to do it.  I did not question her or berate her.  She is a grown woman and she and her husband can make their own decisions.  I did not join them in promoting Santa, but I did not interject any negativity into their Christmas celebration either.  My other daughter will also decide with her spouse on how to handle Santa.
  9. What did I like best about not celebrating Santa? That’s easy – not having to tell them the truth when they got too old to believe in Santa.
  10. Do I feel as if I missed anything by not promoting Santa? No; other than trying to keep up a charade year after year – I missed out on nothing!!!

I am really quite satisfied with a Santa-less Christmas.  I highly recommend it.

We mistakenly think that because Santa is so wide-spread that we cannot do Christmas without him, but that is just not true.  There are so many other fun things to do with your kids to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:8-14



Before you go…

Because the give-away was so successful, I decided that I would do another one in December, but with a little twist; I am going to up the ante this time.  This drawing will be for my blog subscribers.  If you are not a subscriber, you can become one here.This will be another 5-book give-away, plus one more special give-away for the subscriber who most creatively promotes Organizing Your Prayer Closet.  Just email me with details of all the different ways you promoted my book, and my ministry board and I will name a winner on December 20th.


Whomever does the most and is the most creative will win this really cool ASK cross necklace (valued at $38) with a copy of my book!

Here are some idea starters:

  • Tweet your love using #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook
  • Post a picture of yourself with Organizing Your Prayer Closet Book on Instagram
  • Tell me how many books you purchased as gifts
  • Start your own small group of structured prayer journalers using my small group guide
  • Mention Organizing Your Prayer Closet in your Facebook posts.
  • Write an online book review of my book for Amazon or Barnes & Noble, etc.
  • Write a blog post about it.
  • ETC!!!

Thank you, friends!


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Award-winning author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and the Director of Women’s Ministry at her local church. With a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, she is able to bring a clear word for authentic Christian living. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. If you would like to schedule Gina to speak on prayer or host a prayer journaling workshop, click here for more information. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke.

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  1. I also did a Santa-less Christmas with my son and daughter. I told them that Santa was a made up character, like Superman, but that there was a man named Nicholas for whom Santa was created. (My mom had a fit when she found out I told my kids that Santa was not real). They did have pics done with Santa and my daughter played Mrs. Santa in a school play, but neither had a problem with knowing the truth.

    1. Teresa, I did Santa-less Christmas in early 90’s and knew few if any others who did this, but I felt it was right for me. My parents weren’t bothered by it that I know of, but then again, they already viewed me as fanatical :). My daughter has shared the story of St. Nick with her kids, too – good idea! Thanks for sharing! ~gina

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