This time of year always brings a little tension in my family. Many years ago when we had our first child, my wife and I had to decide between Santa and Jesus.

Now that may sound stupid to you. But most of us who’ve grown-up in America were told there’s Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, God, and Jesus. We teach kids they’re all real, but they’re not all real. Eventually our kids will be okay with Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy being cute little white lies, while accepting Jesus and God as completely legit—right? Not really. At least I don’t think so, and it’s something I talk about in my book 10 Things I Hate About Christianity: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith. So Santa is something that my wife and I have spoken about in depth, because ultimately we want to be honest with out children.

Will we tell our kids about Santa?

More importantly, will Santa be the one who gives them their gifts?

On a humorous side-note, it’s funny how many atheists (and some agnostics) have railed me over the years for teaching my kids about Jesus and God—something that can’t be proven. You know, they want to wait to introduce ideas of faith and religion to their kids when they’re old enough to decide for themselves.

Sounds so intellectual and enlightened, right?

But these people have had no problem telling their kids about a fat guy sliding down the chimney with a sack full of gifts and eating the cookies and milk, his elves, flying reindeer, and somehow doing this at midnight in every home all around the world. What’s with that? Do I have a problem with the story of Santa? Not at all. We’re not Grinches. We tell our kids the story of the real Saint Nicholas. But we’ve decided that’s where it stops. Sorry Santa. No cookies for you at the Berggren home.

It’s not always easy. Last year our middle child (who was 5) confessed that he told a friend at school that day that Santa isn’t real. Of course, this is something we have coached our children notto do extensively. So we reprimanded him.

This issue may not be a big deal to you, and I understand. For us, this all came together when our oldest was about three. Like most, he was still enamored by the story Santa. We had to explain it again.

And when he added “…and Jesus and the Bible!” we were floored. Now, I’m sure there are some (that don’t believe in God) that love the fact my son made that connection. But for us, Jesus is real and we explained that to him all over again.

So there is a little dynamic about our family and Christmas. I’m sure you have some funny family dynamics as well. It’s what makes life interesting.

*Some of this has already appeared in my article 10 Things I Hate About the Holidays.