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Friday, December 17, 2010

Learning About the Real St. Nick

A couple weeks I go I read a friend's blog about redeeming Santa Claus.  She talked about how we can't avoid Santa as our children get older, and it's better to prepare them for that than to have to explain later.  Now I know a lot of you love Santa and it brings back warm memories from your childhood, which is perfectly fine.  Britt and I both grew up in homes that didn't use Santa in our Christmas traditions.  So for us, we just don't do it.  I never felt like I missed out on anything.  Christmas still had joy and suspense and all the wonder I needed.

Ok - back to the present.  This year Charissa has been much more inquisitive about all the Santas she sees around town.  We got the book The Legend of St. Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving last year and we just LOVE it!  It's such a wonderful way to teach the girls about who the real St. Nicholas was and how he really sought to honor God by giving to others.  (Also - if you're looking for wonderful books on Christmas trees and stockings I would recommend The Legend of the Christmas Tree and Legend of the Christmas Stocking.  They help teach about the origins of these traditions and how they point to Christ.)

This year we decided to go on a "St. Nicholas Run."  We knew of some people in need, bought them some things, and went out real early one morning to drop everything off.  As we drove out there we read the story of St. Nick and discussed why we should give to others in need.  And it was really fun to teach the girls about giving in a way where we don't get any of the credit.  That way the recipient can only thank God and not us.  (As it turns out, we were seen making our escape, but we really did try to go unnoticed.)

I hope this is going to be a new Christmas tradition for us.  While I don't really see anything wrong with celebrating Santa, if I can, I'd rather point my girls to Christ and show them how St. Nick's faith prompted him to give generously.  And as they get older, I'd prefer that they view Christmas as a time of giving to those in need rather than a time of receiving.

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