Sunday, December 12, 2010

What to do with Santa?

This may not be a question you've asked yourself, but as Ethan got older, we struggled a bit with this. I felt like I sat on the fence: The idea of Santa Claus is so magical, exciting and fun but it also seemed to distract from the true reason of the season. I wasn't so comfortable with telling the tale and having my children wait in anticipation of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, but I also didn't want to have the one kid who "spoiled" Christmas for all the other preschoolers!! :)

As we approached the Christmas when Ethan was 2, I read the story of the evolution of Santa Claus. I was surprised to learn that it derived from the true tale of a Christ loving man by the name of Nicholas. His love for the needy is inspirational. He demonstrated the gift of mercy as he cared for the poor.

I couldn't remember ever learning this. He died in 343 AD and his good deeds made known and people began to celebrate St. Nicholas Day. Over time, with the change and corruption of leaders his saint title was altered and he became known as Father Christmas in much of the world. There is much more to the story of how this real man came to be a chubby, red suited gift giver. I think every family needs to decide how to celebrate Christmas.

With the help of Martha Zimmerman in her book Celebrating the Christian Year, we began celebrating "Sinterklass" like they do in Holland. The beauty of celebrating a holiday like this is that you can choose your day. We aim to have it around Dec. 6, but coordinate it with our tree and Christmas decorating. (We also do it on a weekend so Tim won't have to rush out to work). We read the book The Story of St. Nicolas: More Than Reindeer and a Red Suit. This is a great book with beautiful illustrations. It explains so sweetly the story of Nicholas and how today we can celebrate HIM in Santa Claus--so you can tell your kids he is real and they won't spoil anyone else's family celebrations! :) That night the kids put their shoes out because Nicholas would throw money and food through open windows. Some was always caught in the shoes and socks that were put there to dry.
(Check out sneaky Lindsey who traded her shoe for her snow boot so she could have room for more treats!) The kids woke to find a slinky and a Christmas tree lollipop in their shoes. More importantly, we kicked off the Christmas season with a very Christ-like model to remind us how we should be giving during this Advent Season.

The GREAT GIFT RAFFLE is still underway. I wanted to share a couple of pictures of the gifts you could win...but you can't win if you don't enter!! :) The Ugandan magazine necklace and one donated from my talented friend, Jody, from talk is sheep.
The signed copy of Fields of the Fatherless by Tom Davis.
Not pictured, but included in the raffle: Wild Olive, shirt of choice
Large "got love?" hooded sweatshirt
147 Million Orphans t-shirt
$40 Visa gift card
"got love?" t-shirt, travel mug, tote or car decal

Just to remind you. Use the donate button to enter. $5= 1 entry, $10= 3 entries, $20=7 entries

We need to extend the raffle deadline due to an out-of-town trip and lack of entries. The raffle will now end Thursday, Dec.16, at midnight and winners posted early Friday, Dec. 17. I will notify you through email so you can choose your prize! So far...everyone's a winner! :)


  1. We also teach about Saint Nicholas. Great way to keep the excitement but still keep things centered on Christ. We love the Veggie Tales: Saint Nicholas movie...very cute!!

  2. I so WISH I could enter the raffle, but our budget it tapped out this month... grrrr!

  3. i love that someone else celebrates St. Nicholas Day!!! We grew up hearing about Sinterklass and Zwarte Pete (we're Dutch). When my sisters had kids, my parents bought each of them a wooden shoe with their name engraved on the back. i can't wait to have a wooden shoe with our son's name on it next year!

  4. I LOVE this idea, because this is truly something we struggled with, and hence we just sort of learned to avoid that subject. My 3 oldest are far beyond that now, but Kinzie talked herself right out of Santa(without our help...she rationalized it all). However I like this real story...maybe I will have to share this one with her. Thank you!

  5. got my shirt today!!! LOVE it!!
    THANK YOU so much!!
    Merry Christmas :)

  6. So cool there are other families celebrating St.Nicholas Day!!! Our kiddos have all gone to Catholic preschool and that's where I learned about it. I love focusing on St. Nicholas rather than Santa(of course Jesus is first):) I love that Lindsay snuck in her boot!!:)

  7. That's great. We have friends who always celebrate St. Nicholas Day. It's a great idea. We struggle with how to approach Santa too - we decided to have Santa but it's fairly down played. We spend more time discussing advent and Jesus' birthday but we still do the silly things too. ;)