Santa Claus: the Memory, the Myth, the Man

Friday, December 11, 2015

Santa Claus is alright with me. My memories of him are sweet. Growing up in Brazil, kids used to leave their shoes outside of the window (we left ours outside of our room) so that Daddy Noel (Papai Noel) could leave our gift by our shoe. The popular song said "how come Papai Noel doesn't forget not one child? Whether rich or poor, the old man always comes."

But some of us know he doesn't "always" come. There was that one Christmas he did not come. I still don't know exactly what happened, all I know is that my parents could not afford to give us gifts, so our family gave us a small token. I was so young to remember and to know details but I do remember the uncertainty mixed with the joy of knowing what true Christmas was all about.

We eventually found out who did all the work for Santa Claus. One of us found out where my parents hid the Christmas gifts. We moved on to asking things for Christmas and being thankful to get that one item. I remember asking my parents for albums. Those few years of Santa were fun. The excitement that all of us kids had was contagious and that memory will last for a long time.  

The myth of Santa Claus is not alright with me. As a parent, I came to see him as someone who is always stalking kids for 29 days. I heard that kids behave better during 29 out of 365 because of the fear of not getting toys. Many, multiple toys that are not going back to the store, no matter how bad the tantrum. This year my husband said he works too hard to give credit to someone else for the gifts the kids receive. Sorry Santa myth but you really don't sit well with me.

I learned about Saint Nicholas, the man, a few years ago thanks to Veggie Tales I appreciate his Greek heritage and his legacy of givingI embrace giving because God is a giver and I need to be more and more like Him. 

A long time ago we decided not to embrace the myth of Santa Claus. The memories will remain and the legacy of Saint Nicholas is pretty solid. My question, year after year, has become: what is Christmas all about? My memories? My fears? My desire to make up for the past? Isn't Christmas really about the Christ who was born to die and save me? 

I have decided the holiday is about Him so all my focus, all my devotion and my kids' attention will go to the Christ of Christmas.