Wednesday, December 15, 2010

kris kringle

christmas. i love it. a time for family gatherings and cuddles by warm fires. mistletoe, holly, and the singing of carols. baking dozens of cookies from recipes you never touch the rest of the year and subsequently overeating. i even love the crowds of people on the hunt for the perfect gift. i love all the salvation army volunteers ringing their bells and the general sense of generosity and good will that people extend to one another. i love that even the dmv (where i spent one morning this week) decked their halls with evergreen. i love that the teller smiled broadly and wished me a merry christmas even after i took almost 10 minutes to find my ID in my overstuffed wallet.

& yet, even with the twinkle of lights and jolly dispositions, it's still somehow easy to forget that christmas is just so merry because of the birth of Christ.

i'm thankful that my parents were always keenly aware of the ever-encroaching commercialism of christmas and so brought my sisters and i up knowing that the birth of Jesus and the fulfillment of God's promise were the reasons we celebrated. i knew that come christmas morning i would get to open presents exactly because they represented the gifts brought by the magi. so, i think, i was given a pretty theologically grounded view of christmas.

m and i were talking about christmas traditions last week. we grew up with many similar experiences and were growing giddy just thinking about how we would one day get to watch our kids experience christmas (ok, maybe it was just me with the giddiness).

that is, until we got to santa claus. i grew up believing in santa. m did not.

we argued. i pouted. he made valid points. i made silly points. he made a sensible argument. i made a sad pouty face.

i like all the imagination and feeling of possibility that come with santa and the flying reindeer but i see m's point that you can still experience the wonder and excitement of christmas by focusing on Christ himself. and though i didn't grow up thinking my parents had lied to me, i could imagine a child being scarred by the realization that what his parents said was true (that santa is real) was actually false. maybe that's taking it a bit far, but as i enter my marriage, i've had a new desire to examine my choices, assumptions and expectations.

did all of you grow up with santa? do you expect to raise your kids the same way?

m just sent me this article that gives a great perspective on santa. i love it. you should read it. this is the kind of tension i believe in - celebrating the imaginative while still keeping christmas sacred.

and the article sheds light on santa claus himself - the real guy! he truly was what is (mostly) embodied in the jolly, rosy-cheeked claus we see today. an orphan himself, claus, in his adulthood, spent his time helping children in need.

ok, santa. i think i'm ok with you.


  1. hey mallory! I did not grow up believing in santa. my mom did and it did scar her when her mom told her that santa was not real (also, the tooth fairy). She says that she didn't trust her mom for a little while after that.
    I don't really know if i missed much not believing in santa. i think that santa, especially when you are really little, adds to the excitement of christmas. On the other hand, i may appreciate the presents more because i know that someone cared enough about me to give me a present.

    Either way, i don't think you can really go wrong on this one :)

  2. adriel - thanks for your thoughts. i love hearing the perspectives of others. thankfully, we have plenty of time before we decide how we'll teach our kids about santa.


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