For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
No I do not believe that they are as both the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are targeted at innocent little children. Make believe is part of growing up and God understands this.
I do not believe they are idols, but I do feel (and raised my children accordingly) that we should be very careful how we present them to our children.
Number one - I felt that telling my kids there was an Easter Bunny and Santa Claus was lying to my children. I did not care to break the trust they had in me one day by having to tell them that what I had told them about - even tried to convince them of - was in fact an untruth. The effect would be compounded if someone else told them that the characters were not real, leaving Mom and Dad holding the bag for lying.
Number two - If I tell my children the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, Boogey Man, and Jesus are all real, then eventually tell them that the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, and Boogey Man are not real, won't they be left to wonder if Jesus is also not real? I have often wondered if this had some part with the number of kids from Christian families who fall away from the faith as they grow older; doubt in the truth of Jesus was planted in their minds once these truths, or untruths, came to light. I have heard the argument that kids are bombarded with fictional characters all day and can separate real from fiction; the difference with these other characters is that parents have not tried to influence children to believe that they are real.
Our strategy was to tell our girls that the EB and SC were pretend. We still gave EB and SC gifts at holidays, but focused on Jesus and the real meaning.
Yes they are false idols, and lies people tell.
I believe that all Christian parents should ask your self is what I am teaching my children helping them to know who God is so that they can have a relationship with him. Or am I just handing them the lies that my parents thought me? When me and my children came to know who God really was how Holy and amazing he is we as new. Born Christians we had to tell them that mommy and daddy were Santa and at that time they were 6 year's and 9 year's of age.as for an egg laying bunny thank God we never had to explain that we would not know how, my advice is ask the Holy Spirit for guidance.Jesus is the only one who give's the true gift of Eternal Life. The Lamb of God our Provider of All Truth.
The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are tokens of the Joy of these two
celebrations. The celebrations of The Lord Jesus. If you search for modern
day idols take a look at professional sports. Consider the population of this
country and the world that will preempt ANYTHING to watch pro sports.
Sunday Worship for instance.
I am sure that a child who believes that Santa exists has no problem understanding the concept of a loving God. They see representations of Santa and Jesus all the time.
I am quite sure that many people who respond to this question believed in Santa as a child. Did they "worship" Santa? I would think not. Did it damage their understanding of Jesus and their concept of God? Again, I doubt it.
Please read Paul's quote in 1 Corinthians 13:11
"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways."
Allow children to be children.
Since both the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause are part of the deliberate effort to commercialize and de-Christianize Christmas and Easter, I would say that they are both antichrists designed by Satan to blind our minds and hearts to the true meanings of these holidays, i.e. Jesus Christ. Why else are both of them given the same attributes as Christ Himself? Why else are they lies? (Romans 12:2,2 Timothy 4:4,2 Corinthians 4:4,John 8:44)
Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are not mythical because of a deliberate effort to de-Christianize any religious celebration. The celebration of Christmas by anyone, let alone Christians, stems from pagan celebrations centuries ago. Christ was born sometime in the late summer according to most who have studied the Gospel story accounts.
The Santa Claus story came out of the legend of St. Nickolas who rescued children from slavery. Hardly an antichrist act.
The Easter Bunny origin is from German Lutheran folklore from the 1600's. It stems from the attempt of parents to use the story to get the behavior of children to improve. The Easter Bunny brought treats and eggs to good children. Again, to a child's understanding, not the story of an antichrist.
There is only one antichrist, which has not appeared, as yet. Let the children be children. If one let's these two mythical characters overshadow or deny Jesus Christ in their lives, then, I suspect, they didn't have our saving Lord in the first place. I don't know of one person who replaces or diminishes Christ in their lives with the use of Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny in their children's lives.