For the Love of Santa

There are a few things I feel strongly about and must use some self-control so I don’t offend people when I’m in conversation about these things. But this month, I’ve set the rant free. I’m not holding back anymore.

Let me begin this rant by saying I’m no Scrooge. I love Christmas. It’s a fun time of year. However, the lies about Santa really must stop.

“Santa Claus is coming to Town” is a great song. It explains that Santa brings toys to only the good children. The lyrics encourage kids to behave this time of year. While good behavior should be encouraged, I think there may be better ways to do it. When Santa Claus comes to my house, he’s moving from the garage to the front yard. He doesn’t move. Then we put him back. I got my Santa from my dad. He cut him out of plywood and painted him. My dad gave me the Santa that continually bows his knee to baby Jesus.

“Here comes Santa Claus” is a very cheerful song. I guess I could sing it while I carry Santa to the front yard and shove his stake into the dirt.

“Santa Baby” has fun lyrics written by Joan Javits. The version I hear performed by Eartha Kitt makes me laugh and want to sing it to my husband, followed by “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. However, I don’t actually sing it because I’d feel embarrassingly greedy. I’d much rather sing Irving Berlin’s “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep”.

I hear “Up on the Housetop” and wonder if any children get confused about what to call the guy with the eight flying reindeer. The song has three names for him: Santa Claus, Santa, Saint Nick.

So who is this Santa? I’ve heard the explanation that Santa Claus is a modified version of St. Nicholas. Pronunciation of names can change how people hear and spell the words. I can imagine that several similar versions of the same story spoken with several different accents can cause a name change fairly easily.

My husband and I told our kids that there was a man named Nicholas who lived long ago. He tried to secretly give special gifts to people because God had blessed him. There really was a Saint Nicholas. Although he may have been around a reindeer or two, he didn’t have eight tiny flying reindeer. And he probably didn’t look much like the present-day images of Santa.

When my kids were small, we drove around the neighborhood each Christmas to see all the pretty lights and decorations. They were young enough that I’d name what I saw, “There’s Rudolph with his red nose. There’s Snoopy next door. There’s a funny snowman and Santa and Mrs. Claus.” I didn’t pretend that Santa didn’t exist, neither did I pretend that Charlie Brown and Mickey Mouse didn’t exist. But I also didn’t tell my kids that their Christmas presents came from a fictional character.

My kids sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus while they rode in the grocery store cart. I didn’t tell them to do that. They just did it. They knew that Christmas was the time of year everyone celebrates the birth of Jesus. They saw plenty of nativity scenes in neighborhood yards, on Christmas cards, and over our fireplace.

I knew that my kids used the phrases I spoke and picked up some of my habits, both good and bad. Why would I lie to them and expect them to never lie to me?

As long as Christmas is about love and not greed, I’ll enjoy the festivities. This time of year should be devoted to the one whose birthday we celebrate. December is Jesus’ birthday month. And I’m glad we start celebrating long before December 1.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!