Atlanta Area Truth in the Tinsel Swap Party 2015

Less than 100 days till Christmas?! Are you kidding me? That means Truth in the Tinsel is like…well, I’m not good with math but it’s getting closer and closer!!!

And to kick off the pre-pre-pre holiday season, it’s time for our our Atlanta Swap Party!

If you’re in or around Atlanta and want to come to my Truth in the Tinsel Swap Party you can sign up NOW!

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But first, a few things you should know…

1. The party is on Sunday, October 18 at 6:00 pm. It will be held at Mount Paran North1700 Allgood Road Marietta GA.

2. There is a $10 registration/I-promise-I’ll-be-there/help cover a few things donation/fee. There are only 44 spots available right now, so sign up as soon as you can! I’ll close RSVPs on Thursday, October 8th!

3. In order to attend, you must sign up to bring craft supplies for 22 children. Each available party slot is a craft. For example, you may sign up for “Day 1 – Candle” and bring all the supplies for 22 kids to complete the candle craft.

4. You must sign up per child. If you have 3 children, sign up for 3 craft slots. Basically, you walk in with supplies for 3 kids, you walk out with supplies for 3 kids.

5. Some crafts require many supplies and others only a few. As you prep each bag, make sure you have the appropriate size and amount of every supply. You may need to make one craft just to help you know how to pack it. (For example, how much yarn will be needed to make those crazy sheep?!)

6. Some crafts require weird supplies. Sorry! If you’re looking for small jars, or lots of old CDs or some other random thing you can’t find (or can’t find for cheap), get creative! Go to thrift stores, ask your Facebook friends to look around their house, scour Craigslist. It’s ok if supplies are used, I’m all about recycling. But please do your best to keep the supplies as close to the ebook as possible. It might look like an easy switcheroo substitute to you, but maybe not to the mama who’s taking your craft home and won’t open it for two months.

7.  If you saw our party last year, you’ll know how cool it was–lots of swag, good food, a fun craft and giveaways galore! It will be well worth your time and money!


Christmas and Easter

This Christmas has been lovely. We didn’t have any spectacular, change-the-world conversations over Truth in the Tinsel. Just normal, happy, God-is-with-us-and-we-like-Him talks and feelings.

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Maybe you’re like me and you want to continue this focus on God’s Word with your kids. Maybe not EVERY SINGLE DAY, am I right? But maybe Truth in the Tinsel made you realize that impressing God’s Word on your kids’ heart isn’t as hard or scary as you thought. Maybe you saw, for the first time, your child respond to God on their own. Maybe you saw their little minds work and their little hearts open. Maybe you saw the living and active word of God actually come alive in the life of your child.

I hope so. I pray Truth in the Tinsel wasn’t just another THING for you to do at Christmas–but a real and true introduction to God’s Word and his GREAT LOVE for you and your kids! If you’re interested in continuing these kinds of activities and conversations with my kids, I’ve got all kinds of fun devotional series on my blog that focus on sections of Scripture in ways your kids will love. Check out my Armor of God, Fruit of the Spirit, ABCs and Superhero series!

But if you really wanna continue the story of Jesus’ life and purpose, you’ll want to make sure you celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection at Easter this year. Probably one of the most common questions I’m asked after about December 23rd is, “Where’s the Truth in the Easter Basket book?!!” Well, ask no more! If you’re looking for a meaningful Easter experience with your kids, I have written an ebook called, A Sense of the Resurrection. It is a 12 lesson journey through the last week of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Each activity is connected to one of your five senses and it even includes printable flags to make a beautiful Easter decoration!

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Lent begins on February 18—which is SOON! And Easter is April 5! That’s just around the corner, y’all! So, I’m giving a 20% off coupon code for my Sense of the Resurrection ebook to all my favorite Truth in the Tinsel friends (that’s you!!). All you have to do is fill out this little, super quick survey about Truth in the Tinsel (see below or click here—and if you’re on a mobile it might not work right!) and when you’re done, you’ll see your code!

Thank you, friends. Thank you for journeying through Truth in the Tinsel with me. Thank you for sharing your pictures and stories with me. Thank you for being a like-minded parent that is raising a generation of God-loving, Christ-honoring, Bible-loving kids! Don’t forget to sign up for my monthly-ish newsletter for more fun impress-God’s-Word-on-your-kids-heart ideas & my free Pray for Your Kids ebook. :)

The Answer to the Santa Claus Dilemma

source: Kevin Dooley

source: Kevin Dooley

When I  had my daughter, my husband and I decided there would be no Santa in our Christmas celebration. Neither of us had believed in Santa and I just didn’t want it mixing up our Jesus-is-born holiday.

I was pretty strict about it and basically didn’t say the word “Santa” for two years. Even when my daughter would point out Santa hats on people we’d say, “Oh, look! They have a Christmas hat!”. We didn’t even listen to “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” because I just didn’t want those words in her mind (“He sees you when you’re sleeping…he knows when you’re awake…”).

On my daughter’s 2nd Christmas, she saw a tall traditional, velvet-y, fur clad Santa statute at a store and pointed at it yelling, “Noah!!” As in “and the ark”. Yeah, I did a good job shielding her.

As she got a little older and we let her see Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and read The Night Before Christmas, we continued to push Santa as a fun, fictional character similar to Rudolph or Frosty or even Mickey Mouse.

One day on the way home from church when she was 3 she said to me, “I can’t wait for Christmas!”.

I said, “Me, too, baby! What made you say that?”

She replied, “Santa is going to come down our chimney and give us presents!”

I whipped around in my seat and said, “Who told you that?!”

She said, “My teacher at church said Santa comes down your chimney and gives you presents.”

I was dumbfounded. I looked at my husband with wide eyes and then back to my daughter and said, “That’s not true.”

I went on to explain who-knows-what about Santa but could not believe that in one second my daughter completely bought into the Santa story with a simple push from her teacher! I’m not blaming the teacher at all–she probably just said, “What’s Santa bringing you?” and got started on a conversation that my little girl had never heard before!

After this conversation, we started talking about the real Saint Nicholas and how his story morphed through the years. We’ve watched Veggie Tales’ Saint Nicholas and probably even read a book or two about the real guy. My kids (now 8 and 6) don’t believe in Santa and honestly are a little confused at kids who do.

I tell you this whole story (because I felt like I finally needed to get it out into the internet) but also because I’m not exactly sure the best way to tell your kids about Santa. My father-in-law says “for every mile of road, there are two miles of ditch”. And I think that’s how the Santa debate has been. There’s the group of people who pull off elaborate stunts to perpetuate a lie about a jolly man who comes down your chimney and the others who equate him to Satan.

Where is the balance and the real education–not skewed by tradition and personal feelings?

I think I found it.

Does that sound like crazy hyperbole? (I’VE FOUND THE ANSWER TO THE SANTA DILEMMA!!!)

If you’ve been around me for any amount of time you know I love What’s in the Bible?. They produce the most amazing (hilarious) DVDs that walk kids straight through the story of the whole Bible with real and rich details. It’s like a Bible college lesson rolled into a bite-sized piece for a kid.

Anywhoo, their Christmas DVD, Why Do We Call it Christmas? does the same thing with Christmas–addresses all the traditions and their histories. This year, Phil Vischer (creator of WITB and Veggie Tales) released a new picture book called, Why Do We Call It Christmas?.

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At first, I thought it was going to be a simple paper-and-ink version of the DVD. In fact, it’s quite different and really really good.

In the book, Buck Denver (famous news anchor and star of all the What’s in the Bible? DVDs) is confused about Christmas because it seems to be two different holidays–the Jesus holiday at church and the Santa holiday at stores.

Buck’s friend, Sunday School Lady uses her magic flannelgraph (see how funny this is?!) to explain the word “Christmas”. She then begins the story of “Saint Nick” and how the Catholic Church gives certain people their own special day, like Saint Nicholas Day.

She then explains that Saint Nicholas Day is on December 6 and since Christmas is on December 25 and other churches didn’t always celebrate these special saint days–but they liked the traditions of them (hello! gifts left in stockings!) they just combined the two days. And bad-a-bing bad-a-boom we have our American Christmas traditions.

So. If you’re familiar with the Santa story, this might not seem like new information. It’s not the Santa-background that’s so great in this book. I know lots of people that celebrate Saint Nicholas Day. I’ve read all the books that tell Saint Nicholas’ true story. Instead, this book gives the explanation of WHY we celebrate Santa and Jesus on the same day. I love the clear delineation of the two celebrations.

When I finished reading the book, it was like a breathed a sigh of relief. There was no dancing around the story, or trying to walk on eggshells about should-you-or-shouldn’t-you believe in Santa. It is simply the story of how the Santa legend has arrived to 2014. Period.

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I think it’s so important to teach kids truth–in all circumstances. Not showing them too much, or inappropriate themes. But truth. This book will help you do just that–whether Santa is a part of your celebration or not.

If your kids have been confused about Santa–maybe they don’t believe and don’t know why he’s not included in your celebration, or they aren’t sure what to say to their friends, or maybe they do believe and you want to tell them the truth, or maybe they believe and you just want them to know where Santa’s story all began–this book covers all those bases.

Grab this book today and read it before Christmas gets here! (And while you’re over there, get the DVD, too!) What’s in the Bible? has a special coupon code: SNOW30 which takes 30% off any orders over $30 (expires 12/15)! Plus, there’s some GREAT DVD sales going on, too. Go get ‘em, friends!


Advent is Parenting

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The best part about Advent is that you take time every day for a whole month to focus on the birth of Jesus. The hardest part about Advent is that you take time every single day for a whole month!

If you’re doing Truth in the Tinsel for your Advent celebration (and I hope you are!) that means you’re sitting down with your kids, reading a passage of Scripture and making an ornament craft with them EVERY DAY. Maybe you’re just reading a devotional (I’m doing Liz Curtis Higgs’ Women of Christmas) by yourself. Or maybe you’re reading a storybook like Jotham’s Journey with your kids (we started this one and I love it so far!). Or maybe you’re unwrapping a picture book everyday and reading them in front of the tree. Maybe you’ve got a paper chain or a light-em-up idea or even a little chocolate calendar.

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And maybe, like me, you’ve breathed a heavy sigh and said, “We didn’t do our Advent stuff today!”  or you had a busy day and your kids said, “We can’t go to bed now! We have to do our Advent calendar!” and you know that the best thing you can actually do is put your over-tired kids to bed. Or maybe you just don’t want to get off Facebook or get up early to read your advent Bible readings.

There are simply days that just because it is December and Advent doesn’t mean you actually feel like celebrating or always have the time and space to make time and space!

{read the rest of this post at my personal blog,}


Scripted Simplicity

@oohamanda instagram

@oohamanda instagram

Tonight, as I walked down the stairs from tucking the kids in, it was so lovely seeing our little Truth in the Tinsel tree (a mini white tree I bought 50% off after Christmas a few years ago), the lighted garland on the banister and our big live tree downstairs. It’s magical seeing the twinkling lights and the meaningful ornaments.

I know this feels like a stretch but I really feel like the decorations help me worship and stay focused on Jesus at Christmas. I mean, yeah, the Mickey Mouse ornaments on the tree are for the kids and the stocking holders I found at Pottery Barn for $5 each are there because they are just pretty.

But there’s something about transforming your whole house into something decidedly other. Even for the kids’ birthdays we don’t decorate the way we do at Christmas.  Christmas has this yes, weird and American and commercial thing of Christmas decorations, but somehow, in some way, in my little heart–I feel like it’s part of the big birthday, the big thank-you, the big celebration of Jesus!

My new friend Rachelle from Scripted Simplicity thinks so, too! When her little girl came home to them by adoption, Rachelle wanted a piece of decor in their home that would showcase a Scripture about adoption and God’s great plan for her daughter. She couldn’t find what she wanted so she and her husband created one together.

Now, she makes wedding, Scripture and holiday art. I love all her Christmas pieces because they push me to worship!

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She’s also got a new line of Christmas gift tag ornaments that are just super adorable. (I had to add that Georgia tag in…)

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Rachelle says, “my prayer is that Scripted Simplicity will bring beauty & warmth to your home while reminding you that the plans for your life are scripted by The Giver of all good things whose desires for you are simply that you seek Him with your whole heart. ” Isn’t that what we want for our own kids at Christmas and all year long? I want my kids to seek God with their whole heart and recognize that He is The Giver of all good things–especially the best present of all, Jesus!

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So, wanna add a beautiful Scripted Simplicity piece to your Christmas celebration this year? Rachelle is also a giver of good things because she is giving away a 16×11 “Wonderful Counselor” piece to one of you!! It is a GORGEOUS piece (I know, because I have one on my mantel right now!) and the perfect addition to our Day 2 Crown ornament, no?

Plus, she has a 20% off gift code for YOU! Head over to her shop and enter code TINSEL20.

Use the widget below to be entered to win!

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Here’s What We’re Gonna Do…

Traditional Advent begins today and most of us will begin Truth in the Tinsel on Monday! One of my favorite parts of Truth in the Tinsel is that people around the WORLD are doing the same thing everyday. It’s so fun to see how the crafts look differently, how kids and parents react and how we’re all celebrating Jesus together!

So, if you’re on Social Media, make sure to update with pictures so we can all see! Use the hashtag #truthinthetinsel on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to see what others are doing (you might make a new friend!). You can also tag me @oohamanda on Twitter or Instagram. And make sure to tag @truthinthetinsel on Facebook.

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Plus, every day on our Facebook page,  I’ll do a “roll call” of some sort and share our craft from the day. I’d love for you to chime in and tell us what you’ve done! (My kids absolutely love seeing that other kids are doing the same thing as them!)

Or you can post a picture on the POST bar at the top…

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and then it will show up on the POSTS TO PAGE section on the left. Here’s a screen shot so you can see where it is (Facebook kinda hid it…)

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I’ll also be posting on our Facebook page about fun supplements to go with each day–maybe an appropriate book, a song or an alternative craft PLUS, all the fun gift guides, Christmas book suggestions and meaningful Christmas suggestions that I’ve been sharing this season. So, stick around the Facebook page this month!

But here’s the thing I’m super excited about! This Friday, I’m hosting a Google Hangout for all of us to chat about our first week of Truth in the Tinsel! My friend Heather from God-Centered Mom is going to co-host and there will be a special guest and some fun prizes! You’ll be able to interact with us and even ask questions. I’m SO EXCITED! Mark your calendars for THIS Friday, December 5th at 12 noon EST. It’l be like having lunch together. (Or coffee, if you’re on the West Coast.)

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Plus, I’ve also got some fun blog posts and giveaways planned for the blog. I can’t wait to share some fun Christmas folks and resources with you! Make sure you’ve got us in your feed (either Facebook, Instagram or Twitter) or bookmark us so you can keep up with all the fun!

You ready?!! Let’s go!

Black Friday 2014

I’ll keep it short because I know you’ve got lots of other deals to get to but today* only our Printable Ornaments are only $2.99!

black friday 2014 truth tinsel printable ornaments

Grab ‘em for the days you get home late, have 3 class parties and still need to make gluten-free, dairy-free cupcakes for church the next day. You’ll be glad you have them, I promise.

(Not valid on previous purchases.)

Sale ended.


Truth in the Tinsel GERMAN

Last year a reader from Austria emailed me and asked if she could translate Truth in the Tinsel into German so she could use it with her kids and share it with the kids in her community. It took all year but it’s finally here!

It makes my heart squeeze to think about a little Christmas tradition with my daughter that has turned into a tradition for families literally around the world! In honor of this new version use code WHOLEWOLRD for 20% off the German and Spanish versions of Truth in the Tinsel!

Truth in the Tinsel German

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Get the Spanish or English version here.

FREE Truth in the Tinsel Supplements

One of the coolest parts of Truth in the Tinsel is that it is so versatile. You can adapt it for any age and interest. Of course, I think doing it as is, is pretty fun and exciting but I love that people have come up with new cool ways to use it with their kids!

Fun FREE Truth in the Tinsel Supplements from REAL moms!

I’m going to share several free supplements and additions to Truth in the Tinsel made my actual Truth in the Tinsel alums.These are not alternatives to Truth in the Tinsel, simply fun additions or as I like to call them–Truth in the Tinsel hacks! Enjoy, the creativity:

1. Printable Mini Album from Pink Paper Peppermints

If you’re planning on doing our printable ornaments, Melissa has made the coolest printable for a mini-album to keep them in! You simply print, cut and staple the book together then glue your ornaments in as you go.

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You can even attach a ribbon and make them into an ornament. How super adorable is that?! If I ever travel during the holidays again, I’m doing this with the kids!

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2. Lego Advent Pieces from Stef at Educating Laytons

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I know Stef in real life—she’s a real bloggy friend of mine! Her boys are 11 and 7 so they are madly into Legos. Stef and her boys created daily Lego models in place of the ornaments. I love this so much because it still has the same heart behind it–letting kids use their hands to meditate on God’s Word.

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Stef also has lots of other thematic Lego ideas and ebooks she’s written with her son.

3. Countdown Riddle Cards from Mama Jenn

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Included in Truth in the Tinsel are fun printable clues to introduce the theme and ornament of the day. Mama Jenn has taken it a step further and has made little riddles for each day and once the kids guess the riddle, they run through the house looking for the hidden clue!

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Isn’t that fun? And I love how she displays the clues like a Christmas tree!

4. Active Advent Exercises from Everyday Faith & Fitness

First of all, I have to tell you a little back story on this–a few weeks ago, a mom sent me a Facebook message and said asked if I had any  ”games, challenges or physical activities” to go along with each day as her son isn’t really into crafts. There is a fun obstacle course suggested for the Joseph day, but besides that, I’d never ever thought about something like that.

THE NEXT DAY, Dawn from Everyday Fiath and Fitness emails me and says, “As I was thinking about the T in the T activities for this year, all of these exercise-related ideas started coming to me (God is so cool!). I’ve got the whole Advent season sketched out with exercises that correlate with each of the days from Truth in the Tinsel.”

Isn’t that amazing? Dawn has created some fun exercises to go with each day of Truth in the Tinsel and I think she’s going to be adding some videos through the month so you can see how to do them with kids. The kids and I are totally doing these!

5. The Christmas Cross Hunt

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This is a really meaningful extension of Truth in the Tinsel because it gives some more insight on the prophecies and Scriptures that point to Jesus’ work on the cross. Kelly has designed this cool find-the-cross activity which is similar to and Elf on the Shelf type idea and includes printable Scriptures to put on the cross which then leads to the Truth in the Tinsel activity.

{This one is actually not free because she’s formatted it into an ebook with lots of info!}

6. Truth in the Tinsel Notebooking Journal Page from Not Consumed

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If you’re doing Truth in the Tinsel as your Christmas Homeschooling curriculum, these journal pages would be a great addition. You can print them off and have your child write the Scripture, draw a picture or simply write a lesson learned or reflection of the day. These would be a sweet momento, too!

7. Musical Companions to Truth in the Tinsel

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I actually ran across this on Pinterest and fell in love with the idea–songs for every day of Truth in the Tinsel! (And also, on my to-do list: make a Truth in the Tinsel playlist on Spotify!)

8. Truth in the Tinsel Tracing Cards from All Our Days

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This is another way to easily use our printable ornaments and keep them all in one spot. Cute, right?

9. Little Kid Hacks

I had to link to this post even if it is from my own blog. My friend Lindsey gives a TON of great ways to use Truth in the Tinsel with the littlest of kids.

Are you inspired? I hope you’re inspired and not overwhelmed. The point of this post is not to make you do ALL THE THINGS this Christmas season. In fact, Truth in the Tinsel has the opposite goal–to help you slow down and focus on God’s Word and His wonderful gift of Jesus. These activities are how real mamas have done just that–whether it’s through music or Legos or exercise.

There’s no wrong way to do Truth in the Tinsel. Truth in the Tinsel works because you work. Truth in the Tinsel is a guide to help you lead your kids to Jesus. That’s all. I pray this Advent season will be one of fun memories and sweet times of communion with God.

If you still haven’t downloaded your copy of Truth in the Tinsel, do so now! Then you can create your own TNT hack! I’d love to hear about it!

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Don’t forget to check out my Elf on the Shelf Alternatives for more fun countdown ideas and my Merry Truth in the Tinsel Pinterest board to see how other families do Truth in the Tinsel in their homes!

We Said No To Ho Ho Ho

This is a guest post by my hero and mentor, Jim Wideman. (Jim also wrote the forward for Truth in the Tinsel!)

Back in November of 1978, Julie and I began our lives together. It was a wonderful day; all the kids in our children’s church were so excited about attending our wedding. I’ll never forget one little fellow named Zack who asked us if he could go on our “moon ride” with us. I told him he couldn’t, and one day he would have his own “moon ride.” (He thought when his parents said we were going on a honeymoon, they said we were going on a moon ride.)

I had no idea all of the work involved in the two becoming one. You see, although Julie and I both love Jesus, our families, rock and roll, and each other; we soon found out we had come from two completely different parenting styles. As we began to talk about all of our differences, the big desire of our hearts was to train our children based on God’s Word more than our own family and cultural traditions.

no ho ho ho quote bro jim

I believe that just like the church needs a biblical vision for reaching children, so does the family. Have you ever asked God for what He wants for your family? God designed the family to put His Word into future generations. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. So if God gives you the desires of your heart, what are your desires and goals for your children? For me, I wanted our family to be close. I wanted them to love the Lord and the Word with all their hearts. In fact, I wanted them to love the Bible so much that it would be what they base every choice in their lives on.

Julie and I believe the Bible was and still is the benchmark of how we should view the world and how we should live. The Bible tells us we are in the world, but we are not of the world. The Bible also tells us to come out of the world and be separate, yet we are told to be salt and light to the world. Over the years, I have studied families and the different ways they parent. I’ve also studied churches and the different ways they do church. To me, the families and churches who have the greatest successes are the ones who have teamed together to join forces and develop in individuals a biblical view of how to live 24/7.

I have had the wonderful honor of raising two wonderful daughters. They are both successful, not only in business but also in their spiritual walks. My girls are as different as night and day: if I had not been in the delivery room with both of them, I would not believe they were kin. I have had to discipline them differently; I have to communicate and instruct them differently. But when it comes down to making choices and how to live, it was the same for them as it was for their mother and me—simply, what does the Bible say?

There are lots of voices that speak into our lives and challenge a biblical worldview. As a parent and as a pastor, I cannot block out every voice that speaks to my family and to my congregation, nor should I; but I have spent my life pointing out that God’s Word contains truth, and the truth of the Word is what will set us free. God’s Word is the filter we should view the world through. Years ago, I learned that a stronghold is just believing wrong information. When we take captive every thought and make it obedient to the Word of God, it produces right thinking that creates right actions.

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Our actions come from our thinking; that’s why we have to be intentional about the voices we listen to and the actions we do, regardless of our age. When my children were small, we limited the voices and the traditions we planted in our children. Just because a movie or TV show was animated or geared for children didn’t mean we allowed our children to feed on it.

This led us to the big question: what were we going to do about mythical traditions?

Julie and I both grew up in Christian households. Both of our families attended church on a regular basis. Our parents also told us about the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, and Santa Claus. We also both grew up watching all the Disney™ fairytale movies and reading traditional children’s books. When Julie and I found out that our parents were really Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, and the tooth fairy; it affected us differently. Julie just kind of went along as long as her parents wanted to play the game. I felt betrayed. It also made me question if Jesus was real, too, or made up?

One thing Julie and I knew was we wanted to do whatever we could to help our kids know the difference between fiction and truth. We decided to do something that might not have been popular, but we felt it was right for us as a family. We chose to not tell them there was a tooth fairy; daddy bought their teeth. Oh, we still to this day give our kids Easter baskets, but they don’t come from Peter Cottontail hopping down the bunny trail; they come from mom and dad.

But the most controversial decision we ever made was to no to “Ho Ho Ho!”

We never told our girls their Christmas presents came from the North Pole or that they where made by elves. We told them the stories as stories, not as truth. The truth was their presents came from mom and dad with love bought with money Father God provided to us because He loves His kids and wants us to love ours. We told our children that Father God started the whole gift-giving tradition by giving the first Christmas present—His one and only Son. 

I don’t think our girls could have been more excited about Christmas than they were growing up. They went to bed wondering what mom and dad were going to give them in the same way other kids were excited about presents from Santa. A funny thing that happened was when adults would ask Yancy what Santa was going to bring her, she would answer, “Nothing.” Those adults would look at us like we were the worst parents in the world. I’ll be honest with you; at first, I was guilty of being somewhat of a Santa basher. Some of you might have heard a song I wrote for an early Puppet Trax tape that says, “Santa Claus never died for anybody’s sin, and the Easter bunny never rose again.”

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I remember walking through the mall around Christmas time and seeing a mall Santa. I remember saying something about there he is, the god of this world; and I remember Yancy as a very little girl saying, “Dad, it’s just a man in a suit like your gorilla suits.”  After that, I just took a chill pill. We had done what we had wanted to do: we had taught our girls the difference between truth and fantasy.

My kids loved Disney™. They were big Snow White fans and big Little Mermaid fans. They loved puppets, all my full-bodied costumes, and clowns. They even have had their picture made with Santa. But more than anything, my girls love Jesus. They love their parents and are very close to us. Although we are not perfect parents, we have never told them a half-truth, a white lie, or a fantasy story as a true story.

Because of this, my children believed me about Jesus. When I told them about the hurt and pain from living contrary to God’s Word, they believed me. They didn’t need to experience the pain themselves; they learned from my mistakes and believed me because I have always told them the truth. I learned when I first started working with kids in church to always keep your promises to them. I never made a promise in children’s church that I couldn’t keep. If I did that at church, I needed to do that at home.

I have no regrets for telling my kids the truth. They still look forward to Christmas and seeing what they are going to get from mom and dad, but greater than that, they know the reason for the season is that God’s Son became a man and dwelt among us.

Jim Wideman is considered as an innovator, pioneer, and one of the fathers of the modern children ministry movement. He has trained hundreds of thousands of children’s and student ministry leaders from across the U.S. and around the world over the past thirty-five years. He has built strong ministries for families in five great churches. Jim and his wife, Julie, have two fabulous daughters and the cutest grandson ever born!

This article is reprinted with permission. ©2013 Jim Wideman Ministries, Inc.