Thursday, December 24, 2009
The whole issue of Santa Claus raises some interesting questions about how to handle topics of ... that which is not strictly literal, with one's kids. I struggle with the terminology because ... well, is Santa make-believe? Magic? Religion? How do you categorize a tradition like this?
I know a lot of religious folks who are anti-Santa, because they see him as a symbol of the secularization and commercialization of Christmas. I can certainly see that point of view. But, though I do celebrate Christmas as a Christian holiday and not just an excuse for presents, I embrace Santa. Not every aspect -- my kids did not write letters to Santa with a list of gimmes, and we did not visit the "Santa" at the mall -- but we do hang our stockings, and the jolly old elf does visit our house in the wee hours of the night, bringing goodies for the stockings and one special gift for each child.
I know parents on the other side of the spectrum who insist on "not lying" to their children. They seem to equate believing in Santa with perpetrating a fraud upon their innocent children. This puzzles me greatly, since I wonder... do these same parents not play imagination games with their children? When their child exclaims, "Look, Mommy, I'm a kitty-cat... meow!" do these parents quickly correct them that they are not really kitty-cats?
Magic. Do you believe in magic? Do you believe in powers in the world that go beyond the literal? Do you believe that people sometimes act, not in their own self-interest, but in selfless servitude towards others? Do you ever close your eyes and feel something touching you besides the wind?
I do. I believe my life is richer due to the magic around me every day. Call it what you will. In this house, we will lay out cookies tonight for an ancient saint, who will bring us a little magic on Christmas morning.
Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, in whatever way feels right to you, and a joyous winter season to all.