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Author Topic: Santa Claus???  (Read 8788 times) Average Rating: 0
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Eugenio
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« on: December 08, 2009, 12:03:07 AM »

No, this thread is not about St. Nicholas, the holy wonderworker of Myra.

This is about the jolly old elf, the fat man in the red suit; the creation of Thomas Nast and Coca-Cola; and of Clement Clarke Moore - as well as Virginia O'Hanlon and Francis Pharcellus Church (Google them). He of the "Miracle on 34th St."  He who caused so many of us as children to have sleepless nights late on December 24, long after we laid out our milk and cookies by the stockings over the fireplace.

I have to admit that since I've become an Orthodox Christian (and more recently a father), the notion of Santa Claus has been causing some problems for me. It's not just the bumper stickers of confused and cynical people who say "God is Santa Claus for Grownups". It's that for so many people (adults and children) Santa Claus is bigger than Jesus Christ - and even bigger than the Beatles!

The problem is that Santa Claus is the ultimate American - he is the smiling man that brings everybody lots of goodies for free. Which is a message totally, absolutely at odds with the Incarnation - that oft-forgotten reason for the season. That Incarnational message is one of THE ultimate power of the universe humbling Himself to be born as a puking, crying, not-potty-trained infant in order to save His ungrateful creatures who only wanted to put Him to death - beginning with King Herod.

And so now that I am a father, I'm asking myself: Do I want my child becoming familiar with the something-for-nothing message of Santa Claus? Will he crowd out any room for Jesus Christ in my child's heart? If we don't have a visit from Santa, surely my child will hear about Santa from his friends at school. And his grandparents (not Orthodox nor understanding of Orthodoxy) would be bewildered if we told them not to address any gifts as being from Santa. They would look at us like those parents who never allow their kids to taste any candy.

So...for all of you other Orthodox Christian parents...whither Santa Claus? Is he allowed to plop down your chimneys? Do you tell your kids that it's all a lie, like Will Ferrell? If so, what happens if they spoil the fun for other kids?

Or for those of you who allow Santa, how do you keep him in check instead of his becoming a symbol of the base materialism that pervades the fallen human heart?
« Last Edit: December 08, 2009, 12:04:28 AM by Eugenio » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2009, 12:08:05 AM »

I am not a parent but have vowed to myself never to teach my children about Santa Claus.

That "jolly old man" caused more anxiety for me as a kid than I'd care to recall. Why is it culturally acceptable for us to lie to our children? Why can't we just say "Mommy and Daddy have bought you presents because they love you"?

I am against it 100%.
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« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2009, 12:36:19 AM »

I'm not going to set our kid up with a deliberate lie like this.  My wife agrees (thankfully).
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« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2009, 12:50:01 AM »

And so now that I am a father, I'm asking myself: Do I want my child becoming familiar with the something-for-nothing message of Santa Claus? Will he crowd out any room for Jesus Christ in my child's heart? If we don't have a visit from Santa, surely my child will hear about Santa from his friends at school. And his grandparents (not Orthodox nor understanding of Orthodoxy) would be bewildered if we told them not to address any gifts as being from Santa. They would look at us like those parents who never allow their kids to taste any candy.

So...for all of you other Orthodox Christian parents...whither Santa Claus? Is he allowed to plop down your chimneys? Do you tell your kids that it's all a lie, like Will Ferrell? If so, what happens if they spoil the fun for other kids?

My daughters always knew that Santa was nothing more than a story, like Little Red Riding Hood or Snow White. Early on, I told them straightforwardly that a lot of families like to pretend that Santa is real, and they shouldn't upset the other kids by arguing with them about it.

This was how it was handled by my Protestant parents as well, so I don't know that it's a particularly Orthodox thing, it's just how I was raised--why would you lie to your kids?

Obviously, because of that there were no issues with my parents. The maternal grandparents were a little surprised, and thought it was a weird choice, but it's not like it's an actual hardship to *not* pretend.
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« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2009, 01:40:39 AM »

Well, coming from a family where "The Night Before Christmas" was read faithfully every single Christmas eve (together with the Christ story), I never for one minute thought he was a real person. I remember as a young child at public school, in, say, first grade, debates on the reality of Santa Claus were pretty tense affairs at recess time. I remember we even created "teams" of people-those who believed he was real and those who didn't...(sigh). In general, I think I was a pretty gullible child, but I was never taken in by Santa Claus. It was just a jolly, funny story...
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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2009, 02:23:29 AM »

Well, I am opposed to it, but my wife is not.  It was confusing and traumatic for me as a kid finding out Santa wasn't real.  I remember having the attitude in Jr. High that I was going to reach a certain age and somebody was going to pull me aside and tell me that God isn't real either.

But my wife thinks its totally ridiculous to not have Santa and will not budge on it, so whatever.  I'm probably just being a scrooge.
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2009, 03:04:45 AM »

I think it can be somewhat cruel to have an innocent child believe and later be told it was all make-believe. I remember being unwilling to accept the truth as a young boy. This new revelation that it was fictionalized was difficult to assimilate at a very young age (we had to grow up quick in my household). But then I'm also against the whole Christmas thing; it has become too commercialized. The true significance has long been forgotten. Christ Mass isn't what it used to be.
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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2009, 04:31:21 AM »

Lets play a game: see what words we can come up with by rearranging the letters in "Santa". (Hint: there is one word in particular that is relevant to the discussion, and it is a proper noun)
« Last Edit: December 08, 2009, 04:31:34 AM by Ortho_cat » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2009, 04:33:13 AM »

satan Roll Eyes
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« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2009, 05:57:04 AM »

He who caused so many of us as children to have sleepless nights late on December 24, long after we laid out our milk and cookies by the stockings over the fireplace.
I found a fantastic way to get all the Family's kids to go to bed on Christmas eve last year when we had Christmas at my place. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracks Santa! They have a world map which lights up in each city as Santa is landing. Kept the kids quietly watching the computer screen until they began to squeal excitedly that they had to get to bed because Santa had just landed in Wellington New Zealand! Fastest tooth brushing I've ever seen! One day they'll realise that NORAD actually tracks Santa according to the rotation of the Earth, but for the time being, it works! NORAD is tracking Santa again this year: http://www.noradsanta.org/
 
« Last Edit: December 08, 2009, 05:58:11 AM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2009, 06:09:26 AM »

I don't intend deceive my children by telling that Santa is real.  I've felt like this before I ever got interested in Orthodoxy though.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2009, 06:10:24 AM by GregoryLA » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2009, 06:10:59 AM »

Quote
The problem is that Santa Claus is the ultimate American - he is the smiling man that brings everybody lots of goodies for free. Which is a message totally, absolutely at odds with the Incarnation - that oft-forgotten reason for the season.

Ok, I'm confused. Did you pay for your salvation in some way?
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« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2009, 11:14:16 AM »

Asterikos asked:

"Ok, I'm confused. Did you pay for your salvation in some way?"

No, I'm not saying that at all. But Christ does demand things of us, does He not?

Santa doesn't demand anything - except maybe milk and cookies.  Grin
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« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2009, 11:22:50 AM »

Lets play a game: see what words we can come up with by rearranging the letters in "Santa". (Hint: there is one word in particular that is relevant to the discussion, and it is a proper noun)

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« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2009, 01:11:50 PM »

If I ever have kids they'll be with me at the 12 am Nativity DL so they won't have time to think about Santa...  Wink
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« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2009, 01:28:53 PM »

If I ever have kids they'll be with me at the 12 am Nativity DL so they won't have time to think about Santa...  Wink
There is no 12 AM liturgy on Christmas in the Orthodox tradition. The Christmas liturgy is in the morning, at the customary time.
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« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2009, 01:35:29 PM »

If I ever have kids they'll be with me at the 12 am Nativity DL so they won't have time to think about Santa...  Wink
There is no 12 AM liturgy on Christmas in the Orthodox tradition. The Christmas liturgy is in the morning, at the customary time.

At our cathedral there is, with Orthros at 10:30 PM! Wink

Here is our schedule for 24-25:

Thu, Dec. 24:
8:30a Royal Hrs & Typika
4:00p Vesperal Divine Lit.
10:30p Orthros
Fri, Dec. 25:
12:00a Divine Lit.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2009, 01:37:57 PM by Ortho_cat » Logged
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« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2009, 01:43:01 PM »

Fine with me, but this is not what has traditionally been done in the OC and what most of other Orthodox churches do.
They probably mean to leave Christmas day free of "church stuff" so that people can do "family stuff". My guess.
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« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2009, 02:03:55 PM »

Thing is, "Santa Claus" is from the Dutch "Sinterklaas" which derives from our own St. Nicholas.  It's not that they're two separate people, it's that modern culture has misrepresented one of our saints.  Once our two kids are old enough to understand, I plan on explaining to them who St. Nicholas is and show them that he's been made a figure of legend to the point that the modern version of Santa Claus don't resemble him anymore.  Then I'll also totally ruin their views of King Arthur and Paul Bunyun while I'm at it.  Grin  Seriously, though, I agree that it's not right to teach the children a lie like the popular version of Santa Claus is, but I think it best to replace that with the truth about the saint who is the basis of legend.
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« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2009, 02:19:42 PM »

He who caused so many of us as children to have sleepless nights late on December 24, long after we laid out our milk and cookies by the stockings over the fireplace.
I found a fantastic way to get all the Family's kids to go to bed on Christmas eve last year when we had Christmas at my place. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracks Santa! They have a world map which lights up in each city as Santa is landing. Kept the kids quietly watching the computer screen until they began to squeal excitedly that they had to get to bed because Santa had just landed in Wellington New Zealand! Fastest tooth brushing I've ever seen! One day they'll realise that NORAD actually tracks Santa according to the rotation of the Earth, but for the time being, it works! NORAD is tracking Santa again this year: http://www.noradsanta.org/

And to think that kids could have more fun at Christmas with the Operations Division of the North American Aerospace Defense Command during the height of the Cold War than some people around here. Wink
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« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2009, 02:36:12 PM »

We allways had St Nicholas visit on December 6, on December 25 we just exchanged gifts among ourselves in honor of the Christ Child, and on January 6 we have a visit from the Magi bearing gifts. Some Greek friends we know only have St Nicholas on Dec 6, St Basil on Januray 1st. Some Syrian friends I know have a camel from the wise men who bring gifts on January 6.

We encouraged our children throughout Nativity Lent and the Christmastide to give alms to adults in need and toys /clothing to children less fortunate than themselves.

Thomas
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« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2009, 02:41:17 PM »

Well, I am opposed to it, but my wife is not.  It was confusing and traumatic for me as a kid finding out Santa wasn't real.  I remember having the attitude in Jr. High that I was going to reach a certain age and somebody was going to pull me aside and tell me that God isn't real either.

But my wife thinks its totally ridiculous to not have Santa and will not budge on it, so whatever.  I'm probably just being a scrooge.

My parents told my sister and I straight from the get-go that "Santa Claus was pretend, but that we should not tell our friends that because their mommies and daddies would tell them." When my sister was in kindergarten she told some kids that he was fake and made some enemies pretty quick. LOL. But long story short, not believing in Santa Claus did not rob me nor my sister of childhood memories. I remember my mother saying how hurt she was when she learned Santa wasn't real and vowed not to do that to us.

I would not subject my kids to the myths of Santa, but it might be hard for me to say that considering I'm not married and have no kids.:p Eugenio made some really good points above that I never really considered. Smiley

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« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2009, 02:45:59 PM »

Lets play a game: see what words we can come up with by rearranging the letters in "Santa". (Hint: there is one word in particular that is relevant to the discussion, and it is a proper noun)



HAHAHAHAHA! Cheesy
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« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2009, 06:08:48 PM »

We allways had St Nicholas visit on December 6, on December 25 we just exchanged gifts among ourselves in honor of the Christ Child, and on January 6 we have a visit from the Magi bearing gifts. Some Greek friends we know only have St Nicholas on Dec 6, St Basil on Januray 1st. Some Syrian friends I know have a camel from the wise men who bring gifts on January 6.

We encouraged our children throughout Nativity Lent and the Christmastide to give alms to adults in need and toys /clothing to children less fortunate than themselves.

Thomas
I think this is a much more sensible plan. We exchange most of our gifts on Dec. 6, and leave only one for each person on Dec. 25. This practice has allowed us to remain involved in the gift-giving that is such an important part of our culture, while at the same time allowing us to devote nearly three weeks to contemplation of Nativity, with no pressure to buy gifts and arrange a time and place to exchange them. The rest of Advent really becomes more peaceful.

We plan to introduce our children to the real St. Nicholas, rather than the American Santa Claus. He was such a wonderful man that the stories traditionally told in the United States serve only to detract from who he was.
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« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2009, 06:29:39 PM »

Asterikos asked:

"Ok, I'm confused. Did you pay for your salvation in some way?"

No, I'm not saying that at all. But Christ does demand things of us, does He not?

Santa doesn't demand anything - except maybe milk and cookies.  Grin

Ahh, ok, that makes sense, thank you. You'd think I would have thought of that! Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2009, 07:48:31 PM »

Fine with me, but this is not what has traditionally been done in the OC and what most of other Orthodox churches do.
They probably mean to leave Christmas day free of "church stuff" so that people can do "family stuff". My guess.

Well, personally I can't think of a better thing to be doing at 12 am Christmas morning than greeting our Lord and Saviour in the flesh Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2009, 09:43:00 PM »

Fine with me, but this is not what has traditionally been done in the OC and what most of other Orthodox churches do.
They probably mean to leave Christmas day free of "church stuff" so that people can do "family stuff". My guess.

Augustin, this is something new for me too. Our parish always has vigil service the night before and liturgy the next morning.
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« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2009, 10:00:49 PM »

If I ever have kids they'll be with me at the 12 am Nativity DL so they won't have time to think about Santa...  Wink

Funny, even after I left the Catholic Church, I took the kids to Midnight Mass, from babies, and they didnt have a choice not to attend untill they moved out, same with whichever church I was attending, you live here-you go to church. Once you are out AND on your own, then you have a choice. (Santa always came after we were home and they in bed). 
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« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2009, 10:02:44 PM »

We neither confirm nor deny.
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« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2009, 10:20:12 PM »

Saint Nicholas visits our house on Saint Nicholas day.  Mom and dad leave the presents on Christmas eve. It's like having two Christmas mornings every year, great fun for us and our six kids.
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« Reply #30 on: December 09, 2009, 04:05:17 AM »


Funny, even after I left the Catholic Church, I took the kids to Midnight Mass, from babies, and they didnt have a choice not to attend untill they moved out, same with whichever church I was attending, you live here-you go to church. Once you are out AND on your own, then you have a choice. (Santa always came after we were home and they in bed). 

Oh, I see. It's primarily a Catholic thing then...no wonder the disdain for such a practice.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #31 on: December 09, 2009, 04:13:29 AM »

No disdain at all. Just pointing out that in the larger Orthodox world the practice is unknown.
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« Reply #32 on: December 09, 2009, 08:02:51 AM »

We neither confirm nor deny.
LOL!
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« Reply #33 on: December 09, 2009, 11:11:27 AM »

NO way. Instead I would teach children about St. Nicholas.
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« Reply #34 on: December 09, 2009, 11:38:22 AM »

There was an article that appeared in Touchstone Magazine that focuses on this very question. It is not orthodox exclusive, but it gives a good point/counter-point review of Santa Claus from a christian perspective.

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=18-10-011-v

Excerpt:

Yes, Aquinas, There Is a Santa Claus

Nathan Schlueter on a Disputation in the Scholastic Tradition

Fifth Article: Whether the Practice of the Santa Claus Tradition is Permissible according to the Christian Faith? We proceed thus to the Fifth Article:

Objection 1: It would seem that the practice of the Santa Claus tradition is not permitted by the Christian faith, insofar as pretending to your children that Santa Claus enters your home in some supernatural way, and gives presents, involves lying to your children. Lying, or “to tell a falsehood in order to deceive” ( Summa Theologica [ ST], II-II, q110, a1), is contrary to God’s commandment “Do not lie” (Lev. 19:11). As Scripture says, God will “destroy all who speak falsehood” (Psalm 5:6), and the devil is “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Accordingly, the Catechism states that “by its very nature lying is to be condemned” ( Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2485).

-Nick
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« Reply #35 on: December 09, 2009, 11:43:18 AM »

There was an article that appeared in Touchstone Magazine that focuses on this very question. It is not orthodox exclusive, but it gives a good point/counter-point review of Santa Claus from a christian perspective.

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=18-10-011-v

Excerpt:

Yes, Aquinas, There Is a Santa Claus

Nathan Schlueter on a Disputation in the Scholastic Tradition

Fifth Article: Whether the Practice of the Santa Claus Tradition is Permissible according to the Christian Faith? We proceed thus to the Fifth Article:

Objection 1: It would seem that the practice of the Santa Claus tradition is not permitted by the Christian faith, insofar as pretending to your children that Santa Claus enters your home in some supernatural way, and gives presents, involves lying to your children. Lying, or “to tell a falsehood in order to deceive” ( Summa Theologica [ ST], II-II, q110, a1), is contrary to God’s commandment “Do not lie” (Lev. 19:11). As Scripture says, God will “destroy all who speak falsehood” (Psalm 5:6), and the devil is “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Accordingly, the Catechism states that “by its very nature lying is to be condemned” ( Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2485).

-Nick
LOL. This is awesome. Even though I disagree with him.
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« Reply #36 on: December 09, 2009, 11:44:57 AM »

There was an article that appeared in Touchstone Magazine that focuses on this very question. It is not orthodox exclusive, but it gives a good point/counter-point review of Santa Claus from a christian perspective.

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=18-10-011-v

Excerpt:

Yes, Aquinas, There Is a Santa Claus

Nathan Schlueter on a Disputation in the Scholastic Tradition

Fifth Article: Whether the Practice of the Santa Claus Tradition is Permissible according to the Christian Faith? We proceed thus to the Fifth Article:

Objection 1: It would seem that the practice of the Santa Claus tradition is not permitted by the Christian faith, insofar as pretending to your children that Santa Claus enters your home in some supernatural way, and gives presents, involves lying to your children. Lying, or “to tell a falsehood in order to deceive” ( Summa Theologica [ ST], II-II, q110, a1), is contrary to God’s commandment “Do not lie” (Lev. 19:11). As Scripture says, God will “destroy all who speak falsehood” (Psalm 5:6), and the devil is “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Accordingly, the Catechism states that “by its very nature lying is to be condemned” ( Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2485).

-Nick
LOL. This is awesome. Even though I disagree with him.

Theres more to it than just that paragraph :-P
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« Reply #37 on: December 09, 2009, 11:45:58 AM »

There was an article that appeared in Touchstone Magazine that focuses on this very question. It is not orthodox exclusive, but it gives a good point/counter-point review of Santa Claus from a christian perspective.

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=18-10-011-v

Excerpt:

Yes, Aquinas, There Is a Santa Claus

Nathan Schlueter on a Disputation in the Scholastic Tradition

Fifth Article: Whether the Practice of the Santa Claus Tradition is Permissible according to the Christian Faith? We proceed thus to the Fifth Article:

Objection 1: It would seem that the practice of the Santa Claus tradition is not permitted by the Christian faith, insofar as pretending to your children that Santa Claus enters your home in some supernatural way, and gives presents, involves lying to your children. Lying, or “to tell a falsehood in order to deceive” ( Summa Theologica [ ST], II-II, q110, a1), is contrary to God’s commandment “Do not lie” (Lev. 19:11). As Scripture says, God will “destroy all who speak falsehood” (Psalm 5:6), and the devil is “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Accordingly, the Catechism states that “by its very nature lying is to be condemned” ( Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2485).

-Nick
LOL. This is awesome. Even though I disagree with him.

Theres more to it than just that paragraph :-P
I know. I went in and read it in the same manner that I read the summa. Main body of the article, then each objection with its corresponding reply.
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« Reply #38 on: December 09, 2009, 01:01:57 PM »

Papist wrote:

"NO way. Instead I would teach children about St. Nicholas."

As you can see from my original post, I differentiate the real-life wonderworker of Myra, the holy St. Nicholas, from the Anglo-American fictional creation of Santa Claus. The one has origins in the other, but is quite unlike the other.

But you brought up a good question...is there a way to teach your children about the original St. Nicholas and downplay (deconstruct perhaps) the Jolly Old Elf known as Santa Claus?
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« Reply #39 on: December 09, 2009, 01:56:56 PM »

Papist wrote:

"NO way. Instead I would teach children about St. Nicholas."

As you can see from my original post, I differentiate the real-life wonderworker of Myra, the holy St. Nicholas, from the Anglo-American fictional creation of Santa Claus. The one has origins in the other, but is quite unlike the other.

But you brought up a good question...is there a way to teach your children about the original St. Nicholas and downplay (deconstruct perhaps) the Jolly Old Elf known as Santa Claus?

We completely deconstruct Jolly Old Santa Claus in our house, which is why Saint Nicholas comes on Saint Nicholas day and mom and dad on Christmas.
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« Reply #40 on: December 09, 2009, 02:13:20 PM »

My parents always referred to him as "Saint Nick" or "Father Christmas". Rarely did I hear them use the term "Santa Claus", which was considered nearly blasphemous. lol.
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« Reply #41 on: December 09, 2009, 03:18:16 PM »

Growing up we had them both:St. Nicholas on Dec. the 6th and "Father Christmas" (the Romanian version being "Mos Craciun) on Christmas Eve. I and my siblings fervently believed in both, our parents having taught us so.
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« Reply #42 on: December 09, 2009, 07:25:17 PM »

the Jolly Old Elf known as Santa Claus?

Santa is an elf??  Shocked Huh
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« Reply #43 on: December 10, 2009, 01:13:40 AM »

OrthoCat asked: "Santa is an elf??"

So saith the poem we all know so well:

"He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose..."
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« Reply #44 on: December 10, 2009, 02:32:32 AM »

Wow, there it is in black and white. You learn something new every day!
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« Reply #45 on: December 10, 2009, 09:11:32 AM »

We never engaged in the Santa myth with our child. 

I simply decided that I didn't want to lie to my daughter.  So right from the very beginning we told her that Santa was just a story, a myth, a symbol of generosity (we were atheists at the time), that some people choose to pretend that he is real and that is okay, but we have to be very careful not to tell other children that he's not real. 

It worked pretty well.  She never, to our knowledge, spilled the beans to another child who did believe in Santa.  And she disproved all of the people who swore to me that I was depriving her of something necessary to fuel her imagination by being a reasonably well-adjusted teen with a vivid imagination - without the benefit of believing in Santa.
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« Reply #46 on: December 10, 2009, 04:43:12 PM »

No disdain at all. Just pointing out that in the larger Orthodox world the practice is unknown.

Since I'm not familiar with every corner of the larger Orthodox world, I'll take your word for it. However in my OCA parish, we begin the Divine Liturgy at midnight on Christmas Eve. Also a Greek Orthodox bishop I know has instructed his priests that the Divine Liturgy should begin as close to midnight as the Divine Liturgy on Pascha.
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« Reply #47 on: December 11, 2009, 02:18:18 AM »

No disdain at all. Just pointing out that in the larger Orthodox world the practice is unknown.

Since I'm not familiar with every corner of the larger Orthodox world, I'll take your word for it. However in my OCA parish, we begin the Divine Liturgy at midnight on Christmas Eve. Also a Greek Orthodox bishop I know has instructed his priests that the Divine Liturgy should begin as close to midnight as the Divine Liturgy on Pascha.
I even hate to say it-but the typikon doesn't provide for a midnight liturgy at Christmas.
It does provide for one at Easter, though.
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« Reply #48 on: December 11, 2009, 10:35:01 AM »

No disdain at all. Just pointing out that in the larger Orthodox world the practice is unknown.

Since I'm not familiar with every corner of the larger Orthodox world, I'll take your word for it. However in my OCA parish, we begin the Divine Liturgy at midnight on Christmas Eve. Also a Greek Orthodox bishop I know has instructed his priests that the Divine Liturgy should begin as close to midnight as the Divine Liturgy on Pascha.
I even hate to say it-but the typikon doesn't provide for a midnight liturgy at Christmas.
It does provide for one at Easter, though.

Can you provide me with the particular information from the typikon? A quote from the Bishop's letter to his priests:"I have concluded that we must abide by the “taxis” of our liturgical life to provide continuity...to the Nativity Schedule in keeping with the Typikon. The Nativity Divine Liturgy should take place close to midnight as we offer for our Pascha celebration. "
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« Reply #49 on: December 13, 2009, 10:01:10 PM »

No disdain at all. Just pointing out that in the larger Orthodox world the practice is unknown.

Since I'm not familiar with every corner of the larger Orthodox world, I'll take your word for it. However in my OCA parish, we begin the Divine Liturgy at midnight on Christmas Eve. Also a Greek Orthodox bishop I know has instructed his priests that the Divine Liturgy should begin as close to midnight as the Divine Liturgy on Pascha.

My parish does this as well for Christmas Eve. We're in the Bulgarian diocese.

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Andrew
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« Reply #50 on: December 13, 2009, 10:23:54 PM »

The typikon only provides for two situations regarding both Christmas&The Lord's Baptism, neither of them having any provision for a midnight liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. In some situations there should be a vesperal liturgy (St. Basil's) on the eve of the feasts, the royal hours and the vigil, but never is there mentioned any midnight liturgy.
Plus, it is telling that these midnight liturgies seem to be confined to parishes in America, and not in the Old World. A more plausible explanation for them would be twofold:
1. Fulfilling the liturgical obligations of the day as early in the day as possible, so that the rest of the day can be spent within the family, as is the custom here.
2. Roman Catholic (perhaps even Protestant) influence/inspiration, since these traditions have a midnight service on Christmas , the Catholics actually having three masses.
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« Reply #51 on: December 14, 2009, 10:48:02 AM »

I am pretty undecided. I too HATE the commercialism that has overrun the holiday. But...is telling children a story that revolves largely around morality and life lessons really so bad? If you behave you will be rewarded, if not you sacrifice those rewards.

I was about 7 or 8 when a kid told the group that his mom quote "admitted" (as if a parent is the kid's target of questioning) that Santa was make-believe. When I relayed this to my own mom she said something like '[sigh]It's usually the parents'. I don't remember being too disappointed, let alone like I had been lied to. I guess finding out the truth was a minor rite of passage, like kids used to eventually learn the truth about "The Stork". I think that as with a magic show the audience (kids) want to believe there is something they don't see and are willing to suspend disbelief for a moment.

Maybe I am a naive optimist, but I am inclined to believe we can find some happy medium. A good example is that as a very young kid one of my best friends, (whom I am blessed to still be close to) group in a staunch Southern Baptist home. His parents/church taught him to be ready to share his faith from before he could ride a bike. Nevertheless his parents apparently saw no harm in telling him and his little sister that Santa would be dropping by. By the way that family was also fine with Halloween too. Again These things from a very conservative Christian family.

Merry Christmas!
« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 10:48:49 AM by sprtslvr1973 » Logged

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