Monday, December 10, 2007


(Each "Featured Question," an idea which I gleaned from A Republic If You Can Keep It, will remain toward the top of the blog until the next question appears. The previous QUESTIONS are HERE. Please scroll down for recent postings. My Christmas post is HERE)

I grew up in a Christian family and all my life have celebrated this Holy Season on a faith basis. Yes, we had a Christmas tree and "hung our stockings at the chimney with care." Nevertheless, the focus of our Christmas decorating was the Nativity scene placed conspicuously on the living-room bookcase. I still have that Nativity scene, by the way, and I leave it set up year round in one of our glass-fronted cabinets.
When I was growing up, all families I knew included Santa Claus as part of their Christmas celebration. I caught on early that Santa was merely a fantasy. In fact, by the time I was four years old, I had cracked the Santa code because (1) I saw a different Santa at every shopping center and didn't buy into the Santa-has-lots-of-helpers nonsense and (2) the Santa who "visited" my house preferred oranges to cookies, just as did my father.

Even in those few years during which I believed in Santa, he was not an important part of the Holy Season. For one thing, my family celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve. Santa's Christmas-morning gifts were few and were of the type impossible to wrap, such as a tricycle, toy piano, or bicycle. Besides, I never got to thank the elusive Santa in person after he bestowed his few gifts; as a result, he never played a big role in my mind.

Today I know several families who never include Santa Claus as part of the Season. Instead, they focus exclusively on the Reason for the Season. Some of these families feel that our society's emphasis on Santa Claus detracts from the message they want their children to understand about Christmas.

Do you believe that promoting the story of Santa Claus undermines the true meaning of Christmas? Explain the reason(s) for your position.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/10/2007 12:59:00 PM