Santa is not a bad guy. Despite what some Christians may say or think, he really isn’t that bad. He’s been married to the same woman for centuries. (There’s your family values.) He employs local labor. (He’s looking out for the little man…in more ways than one….). He (supposedly) delivers toys to all children regardless of race, gender, etc. (Social equality and justice…) He cares for the animals.
But all jokes aside…Santa really is a good guy. He is a symbol of joy and of giving. Those are two things that are perfect for Christians to celebrate. Jesus was the greatest gift that could have ever been given, and he brought joy to our world in the form of salvation. And beyond all that…Santa fosters imagination.
I want Elias to have a big imagination. I want his childhood dreams to be endless and limitless. That’s why Santa will not be cast as a “bad guy” or a “nonentity” in our home. Santa will bring joy, giving, and imagination to our home. It’s why we’ll have Santa ornaments and giftbags, and why we’ll read “The Night Before Christmas.”
But I don’t want Santa to be the hero of Christmas for Elias. There is only one hero of Christmas, and it is Jesus. So Santa won’t be filling Elias’ stocking on Christmas eve. We will. Santa won’t get stuck in our chimney or eat our cookies and milk. (But we might imagine him doing so.) Christmas Day will be reserved for family and for Jesus.
So instead, we’ve decided to start a new Smith Family Tradition of celebrating St. Nicholas’ feast day on December 6th. If you don’t know about St. Nicholas (the origin of Santa Claus) you can read all about him here.
This morning Elias was very excited to find some chocolate gold coins in his shoes. (See above link). And instead of giving Elias a gift, we decided that it would be more appropriate and in line with honoring St. Nicholas to give to a local charity. In the future we’d like Elias to decide what charity to give to in honor of St. Nicholas…and far enough in the future we want him to raise the funds himself. But for this year, we decided to give to the Bonnie L. Hays Small
Animal Shelter. Elias has really been forming an attachment and interest to our cats. We adopted them both from Bonnie L. Hays so we thought it was an appropriate start to our tradition.
Here’s to many years of St. Nicholas fun!