Back Seat Santa

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Last year I wrote about a troubling trend I’ve noticed- the notion that Christmas is just for kids.  It still really bothers me that anyone could feel that way- please see here to recall why:

But today I’m going to put out an even more radical holiday thought- I invite you to reimagine Santa Claus.

Before you come at me with pitchforks and torches know I am NOT suggesting that we get rid of Saint Nick.  His image invokes caring, sharing and good will to all-  something we need MORE of this in world, not less.  And no, I’m going going to beat you over the head with religious jargon.  Christmas is celebrated by many folks who are not active Christians, and it’s certainly not in keeping with the spirit of the holidays to take that joy away from anyone.

That being said, I wholeheartedly reject the notion that Christmas is somehow ruined without belief in a literally Santa figure.

Think back to the moment when you found out Santa wasn’t real.  Maybe an older kid told you at school.  Maybe you walked in on someone wrapping or hiding presents.  Maybe someone sat you down and lovingly told you. Regardless of HOW you found out, you were likely devastated in that moment and, likely, felt like a fool.

Think back to your childhood again and recall going back to school after New Years.  The hot topic of conversation was, of course, comparing who got what for gifts.   Now imagine being a parent and having to explain to your child- who got new mittens and a scarf from Santa- that yes, they were just as good as their classmate to whom Santa brought hundreds- or even thousands- of dollars worth of gifts.

And I already know someone’s objection is going to be that since I don’t have kids I have no idea what I’m talking about.  I reject that as well.  I WAS a kid, and I have great memories of what seemed like truly magical holidays that had nothing to do with a guy in a red suit.  I remember walking into church on Christmas Eve and the tree seemed like it was lit from within.  I remember nights it was so cold it hurt your face to be outside but it was warm and toasty inside with my family gathered around the tree at home.  I remember being so excited to watch someone open a present I knew they were going to love.  I remember the anticipation as presents came in the door from my grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Most of us have similar memories- our family made Christmas special, no matter how little or how much money we had.  Those are the traditions and rituals we should be preserving and passing down.  Or, if you were not as fortunate, you are now creating new memories and traditions to be passed down.  All of that is what Christmas is about.  It’s about family.  It’s about moments.  It’s about laughter.  It’s not about stuff.  It’s about so much more.

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