What do we say about Santa Claus?

Originally emailed 12.14.12

Many of us worry that Christmas has become too commercial, but ironically the symbols used to boost sales, have very spiritual origins. “Santa Claus” for example was a real live saint in the 3rd century. St. Nicholas was the “Bishop of Myra,” a city located in what we now call Turkey. He came from a very wealthy family, and used his entire inheritance to help the sick, the poor, and most of all children in need. That is why, to this day, we associate St. Nick with giving presents to children!

Many parents tell me they feel conflicted about Santa Claus. Should they pretend he’s real? Will their children’s Christmas memories be less “magical” if they don’t? Will the kids feel their parents lied to them if they do?

 With our own children we were just a little vague. We didn’t say “Santa’s not real!” and upset  all the other parents, but we also didn’t try to make him real. We didn’t leave cookies, or say he was coming down the chimney, or attribute the presents to him. We referred to the mall Santa etc. as “Santa’s helper.” We said yes, Santa was real…he was a saint and a bishop long ago who loved children so much his spirit is still with us at Christmas time–we can feel it all around us.  Something like that.  If they’re old enough to want more answers than that, it’s probably time to stop being vague and answer the question they’re asking. But since you’ve never said anything that wasn’t true, it shouldn’t be too traumatic at that point.

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Advent Blessings!  Mother Candace+

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