Santa ‘evil’?: Explaining St. Nicholas no easy task
BY JUNE STRAIGHT World Staff Writer
Monday, December 10, 2012
12/10/12 at 6:00 AM
Because I Said So is a blog written by six parents and one grandparent.
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Christmas can be a confusing time for a kid.
It's certainly raising a lot of questions around my house.
"At Granny's church, they told us Santa was evil," my daughter stated simply in the middle of my tale of St. Nicholas and Christkindl.
I could tell her how the commercialization of a sacred Christian celebration was evil, but then I'd have to explain what "commercialization" meant.
I could tell her they were wrong, but nothing associated with Granny is ever wrong to that kid.
I could tell her that Santa wasn't even real, but (a) I'm not sure she ever believed in him and (b) if she does, I don't want to throw away my "You better not pout" leverage.
This was a tricky one.
This wasn't a conversation I had with my mother. I went to Catholic school. Santa wasn't evil, he wasn't even a factor. He was just a character that was popular around Christmas, like Charlie Brown and the Grinch.
Christmas was about Jesus, Joseph and Mary; angels and wise men and, somehow, the Little Drummer Boy. Santa and his elves were not the focus.
But my daughter didn't go to Catholic school, and our church attendance record is pretty pathetic. I'm sure everything she knows about Christmas, she learned at home.
My solution was to be as honest as possible.
"I don't think he's evil, I mean he is a saint, after all," I told her. "Maybe they just want to make sure he doesn't steal the spotlight away from Jesus."
That approach seemed to work, but the whole situation made me realize we hadn't really set a clear idea of what Christmas is about for our family.
As far as my daughter is concerned it's almost as if the holiday is a combination of two distinct and unrelated celebrations: One, welcoming the Savior to the world; and another, mysterious, mythical event full of magic elves, talking snowmen and flying reindeer.
By now she should know that the magical, gift-giving celebration is reflective of the gifts associated with the first Christmas. I had some catching up to do.
We finished the night by talking about the original St. Nicholas, and I promised her the story of the Three Wise Men, the next night. Who knows, maybe this year we'll actually get around to reading the Nativity story on Christmas Eve.
June Straight 918-581-8331