Monday, December 15, 2014

Santa and Christmas Randoms

Alright, I've got to write about something other than this baby! It's just so much easier to write about the baby, so little thought is required when I just type complaints.

However, there are many other blog worthy topics that have been on my mind for months. Months!

So I'll pick the most relevant one, one about to expire (like my baby -- I couldn't help it): Santa and all things Christmas.

There seem to be a few general topics on blogs and facebook right now, and I'm just going to throw them all into one post.

1. How do you handle your kid's questions about common traditions your family doesn't follow? 
This question comes up in various ways, but mostly it is aimed at the beloved Elf on the Shelf. Here in Wisconsin I'll also have to tackle St Nick's Day. What's St Nick's Day you ask? I'm still not 100% sure, so do what I did and google it.

When it comes time for me to field questions like "why do X, Y, and Z have an elf at their house but I don't?"  and "why did Saint Nick come to A, B, and C's house but not mine?" I'm simply going to discuss the role and value of traditions, both secular and religious. We assume kids can't handle the idea that each family is different, but I assure you they can.

One of my personal favorite books in our family advent has been Jingle Bells by Iza Trapani. The basic gist of the book is that some children ride around the world on Christmas Eve, observing Christmas traditions in other countries. It's very obvious to children reading this book that "Christmas" doesn't look the same in every household. I remember learning of Christmas traditions in other countries when I was a kid and that never once made me suspicious of my own traditions.

Like most parenting conundrums, there's a Daniel Tiger song that wraps up this topic well. "In some ways we are different, and in so many ways we are the same." I totally plan on singing that to my children when Mr Elf and St Nick come up.

2. Why don't Christmas concerts have music about Christ?
The war on Christmas drives me nuts! It isn't real people. It. is. not. a. thing. And, if it is a thing, it is an in house thing. Do you want to know why? Because Jews don't celebrate Santa. At all. Neither do Muslims. No one does, except Christians -- or agnostic/atheist individuals with Christian heritage/backgrounds. So if you are upset that Santa has a stronger presence than Christ you have no one to blame but your own.

Also, as a wise friend once told me, Jewish kids only get presents for Chunaka to try and make them feel less bad about not having Christmas and Santa. To most the world's Jews, Chunaka isn't even a top five holy day. Christmas consumerism has made it a big deal in America. And Kwanza? Totally made up to counteract Christmas. Neither the creation of Kwanza nor the empowerment of Chunaka have ever tried to take away from the spirit of Christmas. They enhance it. The only people trying to declare a war on Christmas are the people who are fighting over who deserves more lime light -- Santa or Christ, and those two things both have to do with Christmas. So lets identify this war accurately, it is a civil war -- not an outside attack.

3. Does Santa take away from the religious purpose of Christmas?
Considering everything said in #2, I am totally a fan of Santa. Yes, to many he has destroyed the Spirit of Christmas. Many Christians loathe him. I get it. But the bottom line is, he is still a Christian ideal. No, he isn't rooted solely in pagan traditions. If he were a cookie, his primary ingredient would be Godly Saint. Other important ingredients would include various spin offs of Saint Nicholas -- like Father Christmas and Sinterklass. The tiniest ingredient would be Odin, a major God in German mythology. I'm not sure why people think Santa is based on the pagan God, Odin, when all his various names come from Christian nations, times, and beliefs. I repeat my thesis from #2, Santa is Christian. So in this house, Santa gets two big thumbs up.

Picture from this morning's library story hour.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love your #2 argument!! You are so smart -- way to put the blame where the blame belongs. I didn't quite understand your #3. We'll have to talk about it when I'm in WI.

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