We’re gearing up for our third Saint Nicholas celebration on Saturday. This is a new tradition for me and I’ve put way too much thought into the other Santa/Saint Nicholas idea over the past few years and of course I’m still not a pro and can’t say with certainty how it will all play out.
|Found at http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/origin-of-santa/|
How we handle Santa Claus and Saint Nicholas in our house is probably best described as a happy medium. A little bit of this and that. This is what we’ve been doing so far
- Place the Emphasis Always Back on Jesus – In our house, whether you get a gift from mom, grandpa, Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus it is explained that those gifts are because it’s Jesus’ Birthday and that we’re celebrating our love for him and his love for us.
- Saint Nicholas Comes to Remind Us of Jesus – Saint Nicholas brings his traditional gold chocolate coins and a Christmas book (and maybe a few Christmas activity books). Ideally this Christmas book helps remind us of Number One on the list.
- Santa Claus Comes to Remind Us of Jesus – Starting last year Santa Claus brought a few treats and a little toy and set up our Nativity Scene in front of our stockings. Ideally this also helps remind us of Number One on the list.
- No Denial, No Encouragement – Henry currently believes in Santa Claus. He’s watched a few movies with Santa Claus in them and seen a few books with Santa Claus as a character. He’s come to his own conclusion that he believes that he exists. We don’t rain on his imaginative parade, but neither do we actively encourage it. I’ve asked him if he believes Santa is real, he says yes and I basically drop the subject. I believe it’s healthy to believe in things that aren’t real as a young child. I honestly believe it helps to stretch the mind for some of the bigger truths we need to accept later in life. If, in a few years, he believes he might be able to find a passage to Narnia in the back of a closet or find a hobbit hole out in a field I’ll treat it the same way. I cherish the days where the possibility of Narnia or Middle Earth existing was real and I hope my children experience that same type of wonder even if it relates to Santa Claus (I think Mr. Chesterton sums up things nicely for me but I tried to hash things out a little while ago with Santa, Sherlock and the Scientific Method)
- Ideally – We’re doing all of this with the goal that eventually (in a few more years) he’ll figure things out for himself. Both my husband and I had Santa figured out by around age 6 or 7 if memory serves. Some kids do get really invested in this idea of Santa and if we get the feeling the “truth” will be hard for him we might break the news earlier rather than later – it’s all about knowing your kid in the end. But for now I’m hoping that when he figures things out for himself we can lean back on our traditions and teachings of Saint Nicholas and still enjoy the spirit of giving that Santa came from. I hope we can encourage him to be “Santa” or “Saint Nicholas” to his parents, family, friends and strangers and how that it all comes back to Number One in the end.
*p.p.s For us, a book and chocolate coins come from “Saint Nicholas”, a gift or two and a few snacks come from “Santa”, but any other gifts (the under the tree sort) come from Mom and Dad. I hope that in the future we can bridge Santa Claus to Saint Nicholas by explaining that, like Saint Nicholas Mom and Dad don’t need the credit for every nice thing we do and that we enjoyed “playing Santa Claus and Saint Nicholas” without getting the credit just like we do when we buy gifts and things for charity (which we already do with our son). with no recognition afterwards.