"" Writer's Wanderings: The Santa Dilemma

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Santa Dilemma

Is Santa a part of your Christmas celebration? He has been and still is a part of ours. Our adult children still receive their gifts from "Santa" although our grandchildren get theirs from grandma and grandpa. Santa visits their house, not ours, with their gifts.

Santa has always been presented in our family as the spirit of giving--not spirit as in personality or ghostly apparition, but as the part of our celebration of Jesus' birth that causes us to want to give just as God gave. And to recognize that this is a special occasion just as the three wisemen did with their precious gifts.

As our children grew, we stressed that the gift-giving part of Christmas, Santa included, was our way of learning to love others and express that love and remembrance. That is what Jesus taught--love one another just as he loved us. Our children's gifts to other family members were thought out. What would make Grandma smile? What does Dad need? (Over the years, he has collected 50+ pointy screwdrivers.) Sometimes my gift came in the form of a shelf built in a cupboard or a clothes pin glued to a stick to hold my recipe cards.

Santa became a game the older they got. I'm not sure at what age our kids became absolutely positive about Santa's real identity because whenever I caught that shadow of doubt, I said, "If you don't play the game, Santa doesn't bring anything."

Did my kids have a problem understanding that Jesus was not a game? That he did exist even though Santa was a creature of imagination? I'll take that on in my next post.

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