“Should we teach our kids about Santa Claus or tell them from the beginning he isn’t real?”
It’s one of those parenting questions as sensitive as “should we vaccinate” and “should our kids go to public or private school.” Most parents have a strong opinion and most parents can get a bit “touchy” over criticism of their chosen method on such topics.
I was grateful to grow up in a family where my parents were honest with us from my earliest memories that Santa Claus was not a real figure that popped down the chimney and ate our cookies and milk and left presents on Christmas Eve. We knew our gifts were bestowed by our parents, not a man from the North Pole who flew in the sky with reindeer. And we loved it that way. It was fun to sing songs about the jolly fat man in red and watch Christmas movies featuring his sweet happy self (Hellooo Miracle on 34th Street – tied for best Christmas movie ever!). But none of my siblings or I had that crisis in 3rd grade when a neighbor kid told us Santa Claus was a big fat lie our parents told us, leaving us scarred for life, or doubting whether other things our parents taught us about Christmas (like the Christ Child or the Magi) were also fictitious “lies” our parents had spun.
One of the “perks” of being a Catholic Christian is the Hubs and I don’t have to struggle and debate and worry over whether or not we’re going to teach our kids about “Santa Claus.” We don’t have to make the “Santa Claus” decision because we celebrate a man who DID exist, and DID share love and joy and gifts, and loved so deeply that he gave his life for his Faith. St. Nicholas of course, Bishop of Myrna in the 4th century. A little background on his bio and associated legends can be found here.
Today, December 6th, is the Feast of St. Nicholas. It’s one of my favorite feast days of the liturgical year, because the tradition of putting your shoe out to receive gifts if you’re good, coal if you’re naughty, is just so stinkin’ FUN! Especially, I’ve learned today, with a toddler and a baby in the house.
My 2-year-old woke up around 6:15, jumped into his daddy’s arms, and said “Daddy I left BOTH of my shoes under the tree!” He was thrilled to find some tiny gifts in his shoe this morning.
Sure, the lines between the real “St. Nick” and the fictional “Santa Claus” are a bit blurred over here. Last evening Mark insisted we make a plate of cookies for St. Nicholas, and he also talked a lot about our fireplace. So I’m sure we’re a bit theologically and historically imbalanced. But that’s okay – knowledge of truth will come in time. And in the meantime, we’re reveling today in celebrating a bishop who loved Christ and the poor with a deep love. And we’re looking forward to Christmas when we’ll celebrate not the jolly man in red, but the little baby in the manger.
Here are some pictures of our St. Nicholas celebration. Hope your St. Nick Day is filled with as much joy and happiness as our little paradise is here today!
Quote of the day: “Mommy I was a really really good boy at Costco! So I put my shoes under the tree!” LOL.
Happy Feast of St. Nicholas!