Besides Love, the Best Gift for Baby's First Christmas

by Sally Matheny

(The Best Gift for Baby's First Christmas)
If God has blessed you with a precious, new life this year, I’m sure your Christmas morning will be extra sweet! 

Your little one already may have a cute stocking hung, and brightly wrapped gifts under the tree. Or, perhaps due to his adventurous spirit, all the gifts are well out of reach!
No matter what gifts you’ve chosen, I hope you've considered one spectacular gift you can give your baby, especially for his first Christmas.
No matter where you live, or the extent of your resources, you have the power to give your baby the best gift ever. The positive effects of this gift will last a lifetime. It will only cost you wisdom and courage.

Besides love, the best gift a parent can give a baby for his first Christmas is the truth. 

Godly parents long to teach their children the importance of honesty. Teaching by example is always best--and the earlier the better.

We want our children to know they can always come to us. We build a relationship of trust on a reliable foundation of consistent truth.

My husband and I learned the hard way that it would've been much easier if we had begun telling the truth to our child from the beginning.

As young, Christian parents, my husband and I knew we didn’t want to play up the whole Santa Claus thing. We never said, “You better be good, Santa is watching you.”  We even tried to make subtle hints by saying, “Santa is a fun thing people do at Christmas.” 

We emphasized the birth of Jesus through our speech and actions. Yet, we still took our little one to see Santa, we put milk and cookies out for him, and there were always gifts under the tree with tags signed by Santa. We thought we could have a nice blend of Jesus and Santa, with the heavier emphasis on Jesus.

One Christmas Eve, when our daughter was about four years old, she informed me in an excited whisper that she had asked Santa for a secret toy she had not told anyone else about. I tried to tell her Santa doesn’t always bring everything we ask for, but she insisted that he would bring this to her because he told her he would. 

Anxious to please her, I finally pried out of her the secret toy was a Barbie horse. It was the first time I’d ever heard her express a desire for one. She was so excited.

After tucking her in, I racked my brain for an idea. Finally, I sat down and wrote a letter to her from Santa explaining that once he arrived at our home, he noticed a problem with the horse. He would take it back to the North Pole and send her a new one in a few days.

(Have fun without the lies.)

The next morning our little girl believed the fabrication. Later, I bought the toy horse at the store. Giving it to her, I told her it came in the mail. Another lie. 

She played with the horse for about a week and tired of it. Also, during that week, my husband and I struggled more and more with the whole Santa thing. Finally, we made a decision that wasn’t popular with many folks. We decided to tell the truth.

Beginning early the next year, we began telling our little girl how the legend of Santa Claus began. It all began with an ordinary man who loved Jesus Christ with all his heart. He wanted to share that love by helping others and he found a way to do that secretly so as not to draw attention to himself. That man did not have superhuman powers or magic reindeer. He loved Jesus and wanted to serve Him by serving others. 

As Christmas drew near, she occasionally asked a question about Santa and we always gently gave her an honest answer. She never cried, complained, or needed therapy. Neither did the rest of our children whom God blessed us with in the following years.

I tell you the truth; our kids have never missed Santa. They loved receiving gifts no matter whose name was signed on the gift tag! 

And, they had a better understanding why some children receive extravagant gifts and some receive very little. It wasn't due to an unfair Santa or based on lists recording sinful behavior throughout the year.

As they matured, our children grasped the true meaning of Christmas. As they celebrated the birth of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, they too delighted in blessing others through giving. Sometimes they did that secretly but, as of yet, they haven’t used Santa’s name as a cover.

Lies cause pain and mistrust. Numerous stories circulate every year of distraught children during the Christmas season. The reasons vary from the dissolving magic of a stuffed elf to unfulfilled wish lists. 

The youngsters aren’t the only ones in distress. So are the parents. They have to come up with a new plan and juggle additional words of explanation (a.k.a. more lies).

Parents, please consider carefully how you want to begin celebrating Christmas in your home now that your little one has arrived. 

If Santa must be a part of it, consider making it clear to your child, people pretend to be like a man who lived long ago who wanted to share the love of Jesus through secret giving. As your child grows older, research with him the facts about the origins of the jolly, fat man in a red suit and his flying reindeer.  

You always want your child to know he can come to you, his parent, and expect an honest answer. 

You want him to believe you when you tell him there is only One who knows your true heart and if you’ve been bad or good. There’s only One who watches over you every second when you are sleeping or awake. 

Amazing and miraculous power only comes from God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

God created us to be creative and imaginative. It’s fun playing pretend with our children! But they need to know what’s real and what’s not. 

From the moment they can understand, we begin teaching them. A picture of a fire will not hurt you. It’s just an illustration. Pretending you’re fighting a fire with the water hose doesn’t mean you’re really battling flames—you’re just play-acting. However, flames in a fire pit are real and can harm you. Do not touch!

(Besides love, what's the best gift you can give your child?)
Do you see? We begin teaching our children at a young age what is real and what is not. Sometimes, it is not as easy as it sounds. We want to make our children happy. We create fun for them. The commercial world is eager to help us with that. But, encouraging children to use their imaginations is different from perpetuating untruths as truth.

It’s your baby’s first Christmas. Along with your love and devotion, what do you think is the best gift you can give?

If you found this article helpful, you may also enjoy reading "The Year I Learned the Truth About Santa."


  1. Thanks for this timely post. We did Santa Claus with our kids but I often wished I had done that whole thing differently rather than fall in with the world's commercial handling of Christmas. It brought lots of stress during a time that is supposed to be peaceful. Blessings on your celebration this year!

    1. Cathy, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. There are many things I wish I'd done differently as well. I'm the sentimental sort and love traditions, but I'm glad we broke free from this one.

  2. Hello Sally Matheny. I am so glad to know you through your profile on the blogger and the blog post. I am also glad to stop by your blog post and go through it. It is a very thoughtful exhortation on the first Christmas gift to your child.I am also blessed to know you as a Pastor's wife who is also a speaker. We would love to have you come and encourage and equip our women in the church. I may have commented on your blog post earlier but may be I do take advantage to speak about the opportunity young people as well as adults from the west can have of mission trip to Mumbai, India. I am a Pastor from Mumbai, India and love to get connected with the people of God around the world to be encouraged, strengthen and praying for one another. I have been in the Pastoral ministry for last 36yrs years in this great city of Mumbai a city with great contrast where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We reachout to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the broken hearted. We also encourage young and the adults from the west to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. We would to have young people from your church to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. I am sure they will have a life changing experience. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar Wankhede. Looking forward to hear from you very soon. God's richest blessings on you, your famiy and friends and the ministry. Wishing you a very blessed and joyous Christmas season and a very bright, prosperous and a Christ centered New year.

    1. Hi, Diwakar. Thank you for sending salutations all the way from Mumbai, India. Who knows what the Lord will bring your way as a result of your post? I pray the Holy Spirit prompts those He wants to send your way and they respond accordingly. May the Lord continue to bless you and meet all your needs.


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