Growing up, we always had a Santa in our Christmas, both at home and my Mormon ward. At home, Santa would always bring the large gift for each of the children. I was probably in 3rd grade when I figured out what was really happening. At ward Christmas parties, one of the ward members would dress up like Santa, and kids would sit on his lap for photos, and to tell him what they wanted for for Christmas. Recently I’ve seen less Santa at Church Christmas parties, ands more of a Christ centered program.

There is no directive from the Church via the Handbook regarding Santa at the parties, so it is up to the discretion of the Bishop. When I was Bishop, I think we alternated it, with one year a Santa party, and the next a more Christ centered theme.

My father, though not a large man, started playing Santa years ago with the help of padding, and even went so far as purchasing his own Santa suit when the ward provided suit started to fall apart. For many years the Bishop would ask him to deliver ward purchased gifts to families that needed help, dressed as Santa. This brought him great joy, and he still speaks fondly of those times.

What has been your experience balancing Santa vs Jesus in your Christmas celebrations? Do you still have Santa at Ward Xmas [1] parties? Or do you have a Bishop that prohibits Santa? Do you think Christians could balance both as my family tried? What is your thoughts on Santa given the real reason we are celebrating Christmas?

[1] No, I’m not taking Christ out of Christmas, I’m using the letter X as the Greek letter for Chi, which is the first letter in Christos, the Greek name of Christ. Using X for an abbreviation of Christ dates back to the 16th century.