Christmas Memories 2008

We celebrate Christmas a little differently than most.  Instead of having our kids believe in a pretend man, we’ve told them about a real man who lived a long time ago named Saint Nicholas.  We all have a chance to pretend to be “Santa” by giving gifts to those we love and marking the tag “From Santa” as a way to bless them without receiving praise or recognition.  Santa in our family is a fun way of mimicking a real man who did good and gave cheerfully and self-lessly.

It’s always fun to hear my eldest daughter’s responses to the many times asked question – “Are you excited for Santa to come?”  I’m sure if  it were asked differently, they’d get a different answer but my favorite response that left me surprised and giggling was the following:

Uncle: Are you excited for Santa to come?!

DD#1: *giggle* No!  That’s silly! Santa’s not coming, he’s dead! *giggle*

Oh so priceless.  LOL!

So… apparently too much emphasis on explaining that the fat jolly old man in red is not the real Santa because the real Saint Nicholas died a long time ago.  Now we’re working more on the people pretending to be Santa bit.

I just can’t get enough of this girl…

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4 thoughts on “Christmas Memories 2008

  1. Please let me know how you explain the “pretending to be Santa” bit when you get a moment; I would love to hear your approach on that. Jeremy’s family has always had a long-standing tradition of having the eldest man dress up as Santa (his Dad did it for eons before passing away this past January). Jeremy and I don’t want to remove the tradition because of the sentimental significance it has to his father, but we also don’t want our children to believe that some jolly guy in a red suit is trapesing through our living room in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve. And when they see their dad dressed up to mimick such a generous man from the past, why it is he does so. I have thought about taking the approach of explaining St. Nicholas just as you have, and furthering that explanation in saying that as a metaphorical emblem of him others dress up in remembrance of him. I fear, however, this might further confuse them about others who don’t dress up in a red suit but give just as generously as Santa. Have you read the book “Is Santa Real?” I wonder if that is a book I need to get my hands on to use as a basis for my explanation.

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  2. I haven’t read the book but what I have shared with my girls and plan to emphasize more in the future is that people carry on St. Nick’s legacy by pretending to be him and by giving like he did.

    For instance, the kids received a letter “from Santa” which was from their Nana. I explained that someone who wants them to know they are loved SO SO much is pretending to be Santa and telling them without receiving praise or recognition (hence hiding behind the name “Santa”) just like St. Nick used to give secretly. As my younger daughter is still too young to fully grasp it all anyway, my eldest daughter sees Santa and knows it’s a game… that they are “playing Santa”.

    Something I also emphasize is that St. Nick did what he did for Jesus. I think of what he would think if he were alive today and knowing that Christmas – a day set aside to remember Christ’s birth and life and sacrifice – had become a day to worship him instead. I’m sure it would be unsettling to say the least. We honor St. Nick by carrying on his legacy of Christian acts of kindness… you know, the ones where we get nothing in return, not even a thank you. 😀

    That’s the whole basis of why we’ve chosen to continue to use Santa in our Christmas celebration. He’s an example of giving cheerfully, selflessly, and without receiving praise – all in the name of Jesus Christ. 😀

    Hope that explains it better for you! 🙂

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  3. That was explained perfectly!! Thank you so much for the perspective. This is honestly the first year I’ve given much thought to changing the ways in which Santa will be incorporated into our family structure, and in moments of pop culture weakness, it almost seems easier to just give in. Thank you for being a fresh pair of eyes for me and providing such a good method to still incorporating the giving nature of St. Nick but also keeping the real reason for the season at the forefront of everything. Love you lots!! 🙂

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