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No more lying to your kids: Santa does exist!

 

Vintage Coca-Cola ad circa 1930

Take a moment, close your eyes and picture Santa Claus.

You have probably just pictured an older plump man with a bright, fire engine red, fur trimmed coat with matching hat, a broad black belt and gold buckle. He would be wearing shiny black boots, with a full mane of long white hair curled perfectly at the ends. You have just pictured Mr. Haddon Sundblom’s 1931 depiction of St. Nicholas for the Coca Cola company! That famous print not only boosted Coca Cola sales that winter, it set the standard for what we know today as Santa Claus.

So if that is not Santa Claus, who is?

St. Nicholas

A boy named Nicholas was orphaned when his well to do parents were both killed by illness in an epidemic in the 3rd century. Being that he was raised to be a devout Christian, young Nicholas gave his whole inheritance to the poor and needy. He continued to devote his life to God and at a young age became Bishop of Myra. It could be said that losing his parents at such a young age was what caused Nicholas to have such a kind heart to children during his time on earth.  It wasn’t until after his death December 6, AD 343, that the legends of St. Nicholas began.

One such legend was of a poor man concerned about a marriage dowry for his three daughters, if he could not provide a proper dowry for them then they would surely be sold into slavery. It is recorded that on three different occasions bags of gold coins were tossed through the window landing in stockings left hung out to dry by  the fire. It must be St. Nicholas they concluded! Since then children have eagerly left stockings out for gifts from St. Nicholas.

December 6th is now recognized at St. Nicholas Day. Many countries celebrate this day with a Breakfast Feast. They also participate in giving to less fortunate or those in need by giving small gifts and candies. On December 5th many European children leave carrots and hay outside in their shoes for St. Nicholas’ horse that he is imagined to be riding into town on.

By having this early celebration of gift giving and festivities it allows for a more Christ-centered Christmas morning on December 25th. Which would have ultimately been the best gift that one could give back to a believer like Nicholas.

Elle-girl's first sight of "St. Nick"

As a parent I couldn’t wait to introduce the idea of Santa Claus to our child. However, as a Christian, I didn’t want it to be the main focus. I found this neat little site called the St. Nicholas Center “Discovering the truth about Santa Claus”. It has great ideas for celebrating “Santa Claus” while still directing a child’s focus to the real meaning of Christmas. We are planning on celebrating by hanging Elle-Girls’ stocking out side by the door, it will more than likely be filled with small gifts, bath items and toys that she will enjoy, and books talking about Jesus birth, as well as other small items that will help to lead up to Christmas Day.  In the years to come I expect there will be a letter from Santa himself explaining how if she is a good girl, gives to others, and remembers the real meaning of Christmas then he will return again on Christmas Eve and give to her gifts that she wishes for. Just as God gave the gift of his son to Earth, so should we give to others. Our St. Nicholas day Breakfast feast will be a large one with a ham, casserole, cider and German Macaroon cookies. In the spirit of giving we plan to share this meal and a visit with an elderly neighbor who lost her husband this year. And what could be a better end to a holiday celebration? But the Clarksville Christmas Parade downtown, that we will attend for the first time this year, followed by a tour of the Riverwalk’s lights!

How do you plan to celebrate this Christmas Season?

How do you plan on giving to those in need?


About Beth Britton

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