The Santa Claus ordeal...

Isaiah&Sibs (Tim: This original piece is by my nephew, Isaiah Taylor, from his blog for kids, Bosaiah's Blog. I'm sure our readers agree his creative ability is undeniable. Here's the young gentleman all decked out with his sibs. If you're a child and would like to read Isaiah's blog, send him an e-mail.) Now before I get into this, if you have any siblings (or you yourself) who believe in Santa Claus and the parents want it to stay that way, don't read this to them. I'm giving you you a fair warning because I could get in big trouble if I caused a little kid to drop their belief in Santa when their parents wanted them to think he was real.

The first point I want to make is that Santa Claus is taking the place of Christ in the Christmas season. The name Christmas has a simple meaning: Christ Worship Service. This is supposed to keep the focus on Christ, but the human mind is very inattentive. Most people don't know how this new religion came to be. It starts with a very generous man.

The story of Saint Nicholas tells of a poor man with three daughters...

In those days a young woman's father had to offer prospective husbands something of value: a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man's daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously...

on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home, providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.

And it ends there. Saint Nicholas was a regular human. He did not continue living for thrice the normal human life span working at the north pole. In the bible God pronounced that man's days shall be numbered to one hundred twenty years. In order for Santa to be alive today he would have to be about 200 years old.

Another problem is that all the poor people in Africa get no presents for Christmas. Showing a bit of favoritism, eh Mr. Claus? Going a bit racist? That doesn't fit most people's perspective of Santa. Here's what I think we should view him as:

Most chimneys have a roof on top to keep birds out and a very skinny inside. He would have to break your chimney to get in, and if he did get in, he would most likely end up in a stove instead of a fireplace.

If Santa was real, could you imagine how many tickets he would get every year? He would commit breaking and entering on billions of houses, breaching altitude limits, thus flying in aircraft airspace without clearance from an air-traffic controller, flying an uncertified aircraft and landing it in places unapproved by the FAA, stealing milk and cookies from people's refrigerators, monitoring every aspect of everyone's personal lives without approval of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the list goes on and on. As you can see, if you want to believe in Santa, you have to believe in magic.

Comments

We don't do Santa at our house and the kids have the story of who the real St. Nicholas was. We tell the kids to keep it a secret so we don't completely alienate their non-Christian parents. Our 5 year old is so very confused. She says Santa is dead so the elves handle everything these days. She also knows that Momma and Daddy are the elves.

My 13 year old son did say the other day that Santa sure commits a lot of breaking and entering.

Personally the modern Santa bothers me and the song Santa Claus is Coming to Town grates on just about every nerve. He is given the attributes of God and worshiped as an idol.

We do with our son what my parents did with me: We tell him that Christmas is the Jesus' birthday. (He actually has memorized Luke 2:8-14, and he's only three.) We don't keep Santa from him, but we tell him that Santa is just a "game" or "pretend."

On another note, when I was a child and in those crazy charismatic churches, all the parents said that Santa was really just another word for "Satan," but they letters were purposely mixed up. Ridiculous.

When I went to a fundamentalist school as a kid, one of my classmates told a cashier who asked if she was looking forward to Santa coming this year, "Santa is a lie-straight from the pit of hell." Can you imagine the shock of the cashier-the kid was 5 or 6 years old. I think a simple, "I don't believe in Santa, but I sure am looking forward to celebrating Christ's birth" would suffice.

It is funny though-our 6 year old almost got punched for telling another kid he didn't believe in Santa. It happened quite innocently and James seemed very surprised that everyone didn't know that Santa is just a story.
-Ginger

Here comes Satan Claus, here comes Satan Claus right down Satan Claus lane ...

I couldn't resist.

-Clint

"I could get in big trouble if I caused a little kid to drop their belief in Santa when their parents wanted them to think he was real."

One of two spankings I ever remember getting (heaven knows I could have used many more!) was for doing just that.

I guess I've been a cynic nearly all my life - I honestly don't remember believing in Santa Claus, ever. I do remember asking my mother, when I was quite young, why he seemed to be in every department store downtown at the same time!

Of course, my cousin and I used to drag our little brothers into the Santa line in Dayton's (downtown St. Paul) because they gave the coolest popcorn balls.

Kamilla

I heard an interesting account of the real St. Nicholas recently. According to some accounts, this same St. Nicholas (Bishop of Myra - near present day Turkey) was at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, which Constantine had called in order to maintain unity in the early church on the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine was being attacked by Arius and his followers, who claimed that Jesus Christ was not fully God and man. (This is why we have the Nicene Creed) Apparently St. Nick was so enraged at Arius's position, that after Arius had spoken to the council on his own heretical position, the zealous bishop slapped Arius in the face! The story goes on to say St. Nick was stripped and put in jail for slapping a man in front of the emperor, but soon released after having been found miraculously unchained, fully clothed and reading the four Gospels in his cell. I'm wondering how that story would fit in with the modern conception of the "jolly old St.Nick/Santa Claus..."

I wonder if there's some way to combine presents for kids with a Christmas church service?

We tried carol singing right before family present opening this year, and it worked well. I imagine that if non-Christian relatives were present it would work very well indeed.

Stephanie,

That's my favorite St. Nicholas legend. I hope it's true! Contemporary accounts I've read (in secondary sources) report that tempers at the Nicene Council ran very hot. So, the story is at least plausible.

As to Santa Claus, we always told our children that Santa Claus was a game that grownups like to play at Christmas time. Worked great for us.

Just curious -- How many of you were raised (or are raising your children) that all your presents were from Santa and the others were from Mom, Dad, Grandpa/Grandma, or another sibling?

My parents said Santa brought all our presents till we all stopped believing in Santa. After that, all presents came from each other.

My dad's extended family had a large Christmas celebration the weekend before or after Christmas with a gift exchange, games, tobogganing, playing Christmas music, etc. One of cousins stopped "believing" in Santa the same year that I did. We thought we were so wise and kind to our sibs or cousins to not let them in on this great "secret".

The only conflict was how to say grace -- 3 Roman Catholic families, 1 Lutheran family, and 1 Methodist family. I think we compromised by using the typical Roman Catholic grace, but the Protestants didn't cross themselves at the beginning and end.

I remember being preschool age, telling a second-grader that Santa wasn't real. I just couldn't believe that someone *so* much older than me would actually insist he was real! In our house, I don't recall talking about Santa being untrue or evil (we would read "Night before Christmas"), but the emphasis was always on the true story of Christmas instead.

I've never liked the idea of teaching kids to believe in Santa. There are too many lies in the world, and too many truths being attacked - why would I would to confuse my kids about which is which? I wouldn't want my kids to become disillusioned when they realize their parents taught them something false - even something trivial. On the other hand, I have no problem with imagination and pretending when it's clear to the children that's what it is.

I think there's a difference between a lie and a fairy tale, and I think that Santa falls in the realm of fairy tales. Belief in Santa lent an enchanting aspect to my childhood, for which I have no regrets. All of my children have believed in Santa, and it doesn't seem to have hurt them. And after all, we live in a world in which, one day, the King will come, He will slay the dragon, and take His bride to His Kingdom, where they will be married and live happily after after. So fairy tales really do come true.

> There are too many lies in the world, and too many truths being attacked - why would I would to confuse my kids about which is which?

I agree and people already say that Christianity is a fairy tale.

For me and my wife, we never considered for a second telling our kids a lie like this. I just can't see lying to your kids and then expecting them to believe you about Christ or to trust you in other ways later. One of the most common things I've heard form the atheists I've talked to ... "Do you tell your kids to believe in Santa too?"

I've had too many lies in my life, I'm a Christian so I want my home to be characterized always by truth.

Do I give my kids money from the tooth fairy? Yes, but they all know it's their mom and dad. We have fun but our fun doesn't come by sacrificing truth.

The only way to make a smart kid believe in Santa is if you lie to them emphatically, and I just couldn't bear to do that to my kids.

-Clint

Have you ever heard the joke about Satan? Two kids come out of church and one asks the other what do you think about this whole Satan thing? The other one says I don't know, remember how the whole Santa thing turned out.

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