Time is flying as fast as….. reindeer. Only three days left until the joyous Christmas Day is here. I have been a part of some interesting conversations about Santa Claus this year. They have made me ponder what I believe, and have introduced me to some different ways of doing things, or thinking about things than we did with our children. I am not going to delve into those here. As with almost all aspects of parents, there are as many “right” ways of doing things, as there are mothers and fathers. This falls into the category of – if it works for you do it.
Instead, it made me kind of wonder about the history of Santa Claus, or St. Nicholas and so I decided to do some reading. Rather than quote lots of different sources here, I will share some interesting websites I found, in case, reader, you too are interested.
History of Santa in America<a The Real Saint Nicholas
I obviously have not done an exhaustive study, and have only searched using “St Nicholas History” in Google – it is three days before Christmas and, as fascinating as I find this, I still have preparation to do and am still teaching classes. BUT, what I have gleaned so far is that:
1. St Nicholas, Santa Claus etc – does have roots to some extent in Christianity.
2. There have been controversies over whether or not it is good to use him with children for hundreds of years. (See the Santa in America site)
3. Yes, there is a commercialism to the idea of Santa Claus, but there is also one of charity, philanthropy, hope and love.
As a child, I loved the concept of Santa Claus. I would listen for sleigh bells, gaze longingly into the Christmas Eve sky, and readily believe my dad when he told me an airplane’s lights was Rudolph’s nose. As an adult, I have great appreciation for the length my parents went to give my sister and I wonderful Christmas memories, surprises and treats. Looking back, I now realize that it probably wasn’t easy for them most years. There were many times dad was out of work, or funds were tight. We never thought we were missed by Santa though. As an adult, I love hearing students tell me what they have asked Santa for, and to watch their eyes light up when I play “Ho Ho HO” on the iPod. We do Breakfast with Santa with the band boosters each year, and it is so heartwarming to watch the children wave at him, sit on his lap, hang around to get his attention.
As a parent, I loved the brief time my children were innocent enough to wholeheartedly believe. I like to do special things for people, and tried to make that time extra special for them. I did things such as leaving them notes thanking them for the cookies, and, one year, we wrapped the living room entrance so they had to unwrap it to even see what was under the tree. I went to great lengths to use special wrapping paper for Santa gifts and, even though the gig is up in this house, there is still usually one or two unexpected gifts under the tree from ‘Santa’.
I would love to do a picture study of the ways his image has changed through history. Hmmmmm maybe if I take a day off over the break, I’ll surf around for those. In any case, just like St. Nicholas in the tale of Twas the Night Before Christmas allow me to wish a A Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Santa Claus – or your favorite memory of him.