Saint Nicholas Day – Santa?

How do we deal with the ever present Santa Claus invading my kids eyes and ears every day for a month before Christmas?  I began asking this question when my oldest was about 3 and everyone was asking her what she wanted from Santa.  I do not think that my disappointment in the the modern Santa makes it ok for me to squash the kind conversation of a well meaning cashier.  So how will my kids respond to the Santa question when asked?  We don’t get presents labeled from Santa at our house (we have friends that do) and that’s ok with me!  My kids have so much to look forward to because we celebrate Jesus’ birth for almost a month an a half with different special days and reminders.  I’m not worried about my kids missing out.  But with that said, Santa can be another one of those reminders of Jesus.  As I looked at the background of who Santa Claus really was and removed the folklore and embellishments that had been added later, I found a man who loved and served the Lord, and chose to use his inherited riches to love people like Jesus.  This is something children should understand about the real Saint Nicholas, the original Santa Claus.  December 6th in many countries is Saint Nicholas Day and so on this day we read the story of Saint Nicholas loving people like Jesus. We put coins, gold candy, and something the kids need (and enjoy) in their stocking. Then we begin collecting coins to help someone in need during Christmas.  This year I hid coins all over the house for them to find.  I have appreciated the articles on St. Nicholas from the Jelly Telly blog and their Christmas DVD, Why do we call it Christmas?.  They explain the Saint Nicholas origin (and other Christmas traditions) very well in this DVD and we watch it every St. Nicholas Day to clear up many of the confusing messages thrown around in December.  So now when my kids are asked about Santa Claus, they tell about collecting coins and helping people in need, just like Saint Nicholas.  This is how our family is dealing with Santa.

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