Danielle Bean offers up her Your Turn discussion today to allow readers to share their take on the Santa v. no Santa debate. It is actually a very charitable, rational discussion. If you've ever pondered how others handle this topic, you might want to stop by and see what people are saying.
With that in mind, I thought I'd share a little about what has evolved on the Ark as our *answer* to this persnickety question.
Back a decade ago, when we first had young children in our home, my husband shared his family tradition of celebrating St. Nicholas' feast day by leaving a shoe outside the bedroom door to be filled with candies or small gifts. It was a wonderful way to begin blending our shared Christmas season traditions and, for me, an opportunity to add another celebration of the liturgical year to our domestic church calendar. As I continued teaching at our parish school, I was privy to some excellent resources about the good Bishop of Myra, including this excellent animated video for children about his life. (Incidentally, this video led us to add others from their series to our collection---all of which have been fabulous tools for learning about the saints). Each December 6th, we sit down after dinner to share this movie together as a family.
We've always hung Christmas stockings and Santa has always filled them. Santa's only as big of a deal as we make of him and relative to the birth of Christ, he just can't compete. Then, a few years back, I was introduced to the book The Saint Who Became Santa. It is a wonderful story of the life of the *real* St. Nicholas and shows how the stories of his generous life evolved into the tradition we now know as Santa Claus.
There are many stories about the miracles attributed to St. Nicholas both during and after his lifetime:
The title "Wonderworker" was bestowed on Nicholas because of the numerous miracles that he performed by the power of God; some while he was still alive, and some after his passage into the presence of God. Among these, he saved mariners from a storm; prevented the execution of three innocent men; restored to life a young boy tragically murdered; and helped preserve Myra from famine by miraculously appearing to the captain of a ship laden with grain and bidding him to come to Myra.For many, the selfless spirit of St. Nicholas lives on during the Christmas season through Santa Claus and in those who believe in the possibilities of Christmas miracles attributed to St. Nicholas, even today.
-From St. Nicholas the Wonderworker
So, how about it? How do you (or don't you) include Santa/St. Nicholas in your family's Christmas traditions?