Yesterday, while the items we were able to find in the large store that-shall-not-be-named were being passed over the scanner (funny how we are increasingly unable to find items on our list when shopping there), I overheard another customer and the clerk who was passing her items over the scanner complaining about the commercialization of Christmas and how Christ was being taken out of Christmas and being replaced with Santa Claus in our culture, and how evil was that? And on and on.... It bothers me some too, but I dunno....
My brothers and sister and I were born to parents who were committed Christians who loved God and who tried to live their lives by Biblical principles all the time -- even at home when no one else was watching except us. We went to church, we knew about the Christmas story from the Bible from the beginning; in fact back then, we even did the Biblical Christmas story at the public school. I got to be one of the Wise Men in the 5th grade Christmas program, one of the most exciting things I remember about the elementary school.
We also did all of the other Christmas things. We got a tree and decorated it. We were told about Santa Claus when we were little. We went to the department store downtown and saw Santa. We left cookies and milk out for Santa, and there was always one unwrapped gift under the tree on Christmas morning that Santa had left the night before.
Eventually, of course, we realized that there was no actual Santa. Yep, we were told an elaborate lie, and nope, it didn’t do us any damage that I can see.
When our boy was little, we taught him the Christmas story from the Bible. But we also did Santa Claus, and I had the first two verses of the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” memorized from having read it to him so many times. Eventually, he realized there was no Santa. It was not a big deal.
Some groups get really upset about the celebration of Christmas, and the traditions associated with it. Some don’t celebrate it all. I recognize that many things we do in connection with Christmas have their origins in pagan traditions and the Winter Solstice. But unlike the Church Lady a hilarious character on Saturday Night Live, and others I have come into contact with, I do not think Santa is really “Satan.”
Because I don’t have a grandchild and I am likely to not have one, and I do not even have contact with any little kids, I do not have to make a decision now about whether I am going to “do Santa Claus” with a child and perpetuate the lie. But, I think it is really very cool that my younger brother has bought himself a Santa Claus suit and has decided to play Santa Claus for their grandson and for other small children (and adults too!) in his wife’s family.