Question: I think that Christmas and Easter should be about the religion and reason for the holiday, not about presents and candy for kids. Am I a bad mom if I don’t teach my kids about Santa and the Easter Bunny?
Answer: You’re not a bad mom if you don’t teach your kids about Santa and the Easter Bunny. Your concern is valid. In our culture, religious holidays sometimes lose their original messages and transition to being about eggs, candy, and/or presents.
The most important thing that you can do during these holidays is to teach your children about their historical and religious purposes. Make these lessons part of your holiday traditions so that you remind your children every year what the holiday is really for.
But don’t forget that the other traditions can be fun, too, especially for your children. Hunting for Easter eggs and waking up to presents on Christmas morning is exciting and magical for children. As adults, we too often forget those feelings of wonder and pure joy, but our children still have those feelings and it’s a great thing to be able to (secretly) deliver it to them through these traditions.
Instead of forgoing those traditions altogether, we suggest a compromise. Limit the amount of gifts that come from Santa, so there is less of an emphasis on gifts from a magical man. Let your children focus more on the spirit of giving between your family members and to charity.
At Easter, the children can hunt for Easter eggs filled with loose change, messages of love, and IOUs for their favorite activities. This way, they still experience the fun of finding hidden objects but the rewards are more meaningful than candy.
Of course, with these compromises you should still spend time talking and learning about the true meaning of the holidays. With this approach, everybody wins!