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Author Topic: Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas??  (Read 7501 times) Average Rating: 0
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MaryCecilia
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« on: December 17, 2005, 05:44:51 AM »

I don't know if this belongs here, and I do not mean this to be controverisial or anything like that...I hope this can keep away from any arguing Smiley   

My question is this, how do you as Orthodox parents handle Santa Claus, do you let your children believe in Santa as non Orthodox might, do you tell them he's not real, just a fantasy, or do you tell your children that santa is based on Saint Nicholas, that the suit and present giving in secret was from St Nicholas.  I want to know what other families do around this time of year.  We are planning on letting our daughter know that Santa is not real, that he's a fictional character and that he's based on St. Nicholas.  Also, how do you handle family members who want to tell your child about Santa Claus if you choose to not have her believe in him?  Do you just let them tell your child and then explain away what they told your child?  I guess I'm bothered by things like the song "santa claus is coming to town" and how it goes on to say he knows basically everything you do....it seems kinda odd to me...maybe i'm taking it too literally, but I think it's better to have your child believe that the one who knows all you do is God and that you shouldn't be good only because you want a gift at Christmas time.  Am I wrong in thinking any of this?  Thankyou in advance.

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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2005, 07:31:16 AM »

We believed in Santa, but to us, he was the same as St. Nick in our family. Our presents from him on Christmas morning were labeled "From: Saint Nick." I knew about St. Nicholas of Myra, and there was no direct conflict in my mind between what I knew about him and what I was told about Santa. I plan on encouraging wonder and innocence as long as possible in my children, and would be fine with allowing them to believe that St. Nick (called Santa) comes to give them gifts as long as they are able.
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2005, 12:39:20 PM »

I'm not a parent, so I'm not really qualified to comment on this. But, a few weeks ago at church, I heard people at church talking about Santa Claus and they referred to him as a "heresy" and a "delusion".  So I'm guessing their kids don't believe in Santa...Seriously though, is that a crazy-convert type thing or do most Orthodox actually think Santa is a "delusional heresy"?? 

I guess I'm bothered by things like the song "santa claus is coming to town" and how it goes on to say he knows basically everything you do....it seems kinda odd to me...maybe i'm taking it too literally, but I think it's better to have your child believe that the one who knows all you do is God and that you shouldn't be good only because you want a gift at Christmas time.ÂÂ  Am I wrong in thinking any of this?ÂÂ  Thankyou in advance.

In Christ,
the struggler, and sinner,
Mary

I think it is a good idea that your children realize that they shouldn't be good just to get gifts.  Also, the idea of getting presents because you're good can open up the idea that if you don't get what you wanted for Christmas, then you just weren't good enough and Santa doesn't love you...Really, maybe it's just me, but I remember a few times when I was a lot younger, and we didn't get very much for Christmas because we were kind of poor back then, and I didn't tell my parents this, but I thought that I got so little because I wasn't good enough and that Santa hated me.  On the other hand, it always was fun to put out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for his reindeer, and just the anticipation that Santa, who visits every house in the world, who we read about in books, is coming to OUR house TONIGHT! 
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2005, 03:04:45 PM »

I've been teaching my grandkids St. Nick...as I'm partial to the Beach Boys song...for you youngins google it.

james

"It's the little St. Nick...a run run reindeer...hmm
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2005, 03:40:09 PM »

I don't think there's anything heretical about Santa Claus (Really, if he was, wouldn't someone have anathematized him by now?) He is just a commercial redo of a great saint.

I think in a way he can see everything you do, because of the cloud of witnesses?
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2005, 05:43:02 PM »

Well, a lie is a lie. There is no reason to lie to one's children about the truth, nor is there anything "better" about having believed it as a child. I would personally like to see more people teaching about the real Saint Nicholas, and in doing so ignite a flame in the child for Christ, not a flame for "the holidays," presents, etc.
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« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2005, 05:48:19 PM »

But surely fairytales are also "lies" by that standard? Should they not be read to children therefore?
It gets even more confusing in the Greek tradition, because it's actually St. Basil who brings children their gifts, and on his Feast Day which is New Year's Day. So most Greek parents tend to tell their little children that St. Basil is Santa Claus, rather than confuse the issue with two gift-giving Saints and a mythical figure.
Santa Claus (the man in the red suit)was invented by the Coca-Cola company- so he can represent whomever parents want him to represent since he doesn't say anything other than "Ho, Ho, Ho!" which surely isn't doctrinely contraversial!
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« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2005, 05:56:17 PM »

But surely fairytales are also "lies" by that standard? Should they not be read to children therefore?

Fairy tales are fiction, and are presented as fiction. Santa Claus is fiction, yet is presented as truth. That is the difference.
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« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2005, 05:59:18 PM »

Fairy tales are fiction, and are presented as fiction. Santa Claus is fiction, yet is presented as truth. That is the difference.
I'm not so sure children can tell the difference.....and starting a fairy tale with "Once upon a time.." makes it "historical".
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« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2005, 06:02:10 PM »

I'm not so sure children can tell the difference.....and starting a fairy tale with "Once upon a time.." makes it "historical".

Some children may not be able to distinguish it as readily, sure. But that doesn't free parents from the obligation of teaching their children, as best as they can, what is real and what is not.
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« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2005, 06:23:57 PM »

Some children may not be able to distinguish it as readily, sure. But that doesn't free parents from the obligation of teaching their children, as best as they can, what is real and what is not.
Does the Icon of St. George slaying the dragon prove the existence of dragons? What should parents tell their children in this regard?
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« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2005, 06:33:03 PM »

Does the Icon of St. George slaying the dragon prove the existence of dragons? What should parents tell their children in this regard?

They should say that there was a creature called a dragon that was slain by Saint Goerge. (Whether it resembles what we think dragons are or not is not the question)
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« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2005, 06:43:59 PM »

They should say that there was a creature called a dragon that was slain by Saint Goerge. (Whether it resembles what we think dragons are or not is not the question)
Good luck on Parent-Teacher night when your child's teacher points out that your child insists in class that dragons once existed.
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« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2005, 07:07:46 PM »

Good luck on Parent-Teacher night when your child's teacher points out that your child insists in class that dragons once existed.

As I said, it may or may not resemble what we consider a dragon. But no one would contest it if it were said without the word "dragon," for example, "Saint George killed a creature that was killing sheep and frightening a town." It is quite sad, though, that we must sometimes use euphemisms or be ridiculed.
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« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2005, 08:23:28 PM »

Is it just me or does every thread these days seem to go way off topic within six or seven posts?
SHESH!!!!!!!!!
 All you non-parents behave !ÂÂ  Or else I`m going to call your Mom!
OK, back to the topic. I have a twelve year and a five year old . We are resent converts ( three years). My take on this is that Orthodoxy allows me to say that Saint Nick(Santa Claus)does exist.
Santa Claus is the Anglo-fied pronunciation of Saint Nicholas. Whether or not the west has turned him into someone that is not , to my family he is one in the same.
 Also Mary, as a convert I felt ( and my Priest agreed) that it was better to ease into Orthodox Traditions
 ( avoiding halloween, strict fasting for the kids...etc.) than to make a sudden changes. Hope this helps.

  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  +++ MOSES
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« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2005, 09:14:25 PM »

Good luck on Parent-Teacher night when your child's teacher points out that your child insists in class that dragons once existed.

Well they still do exist. They are called Komodo Dragons (unless they went extinct) they are very much alive. Maybe St. george slew a Komodo Dragon?  Wink
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« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2005, 04:32:26 PM »

Santa Claus is the germanic-nordic tradition surrounding St. Nicholas. Sinter Klaus, Santa, or St Nick, he has long been a part of many traditions and many stories have been maintained about him (the story of giving money to the poor maidens is where we get stockings/chimneys from) Little about St. Nicholas is recorded history. Much is tradition or myth. Whether you want to see tradition or myth as lies is something else, but it cannot be argued that much of what we teach about St. Nicholas is historical truth.

 Like many children across the world, we always set our shoes out on December 5th night so that St. Nick could fill them with candy and treats. (in Holland and other dutch-type places, you filled your shoes with hay for St. Nick's donkey and he in turn filled them with gifts). Giftgiving to children and a semi-mythological man have been linked together for centuries in many places. In the end, it speaks to what we do know of St. Nicholas (he was a wonderful bishop who was an almsgiver and was especially kind to children--and he socked Arius in the nose, which I personally love him for).

All who love Nicholas the saintly
All who serve Nicholas the saintly
Him will Nicholas receive
and give help in time of need
Holy Father Nicholas!

We are taught to love Saint Nicholas from when we are very small. He is a saint all children are taught to believe in and trust. I think we should love the stories about him too, whether or not they're founded in truth, or in generalities that speak of the generous, kind nature of this man treasured by God. Blessed Santa Claus, pray for us sinners!
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« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2005, 08:33:05 PM »

Thankyou to all those who replied to my thread, I do appreciate all the answers...also to repeat what Mo said, please everyone, lets stay on topic in threads and try to refrain from fighting or picking.  I never inteded to cause an argument with starting this thread, I just wanted to know how Orthodox Parents and Orthodox in general handle Santa Claus type things, and to the one who brought up dragons, they might have existed, but whether they did or not has nothing to do with this thread so please stay on topic so we don't start any arguments. Thankyou and I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, and Mo, thankyou as well if I didn't say it already.  I hope others will post their thoughts as well, as long as we can remain civil. Wink  Smiley

In Christ,
the sinner and struggler,
Mary
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« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2005, 08:50:59 PM »

Mary:
 Wishing you and your family the best during (and always) this holiday season. God Bless.
  CHRIST IS BORN!!!!   GLORIFY HIM!!!!!!!!!!

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« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2005, 09:06:31 PM »

An interesting thing happened to me yesterday evening.
Yesterday I decorated the Christmas tree.  I usually try to do this during the pre-festive days but with work all week and next Saturday being Christmas eve there would be no time to do it then, so I put it up a little early.  I finished after Vigil and just sat down with a cup of herbal tea and a book, The Birth of the Messiah by Raymond Brown, to relax.  I heard the whistles from the fire truck and went outside to see what was going on.  The town's volunteer fire department was going around town with Santa Claus on the back of the truck.  He was wishing everyone a Merry Christmas (I guess no one gave him the memo that this phrase was politically incorrect!).  The fireman were handing out candy canes to everyone.  Almost the whole neighborhood was outside, including the adults.  Afterwards several of us began talking and reminiscing about Christmases past.  We must have talked for about 20 minutes.  Then we all went back to our houses.  I know most of my neighbors but interaction between neighbors is usually limited to a friendly wave or a couple of words as we go about our hectic lives.  So, for a few minutes last evening, Santa Claus allowed neighbors to talk and be neighborly.  It also allowed us adults (all in our late 40's and early 50's) to relive past Christmases and for a few minutes be children again.
Thank God for Santa Claus!
Concerning those people who consider Santa Claus a heresy and a delusion, I wonder what kind of traumatic and sad childhood they had.
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« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2005, 09:32:04 AM »

When asked if he believed in Santa Claus, my brother at the age of 10 said, "Of course, he's my saint!" 

Russians (99% of the Russians I know, anyway) have a different take on things. For us in church we're taught about St. Nicholas, and we celebrate his day (today, as a matter of fact, OC style). All about the gift giving, helping the poor, etc...  At the same time, we were taught how his image was changed over the centuries to become Santa Claus.  We really didn't have any conflicts with it. 
It probably also helped that in Russian its not Santa who brings the gifts, its Dyed Maroz (Grandfather Frost).  He's never been portrayed to us as a religious figure, but as the personification of winter. 
Santa Claus is way too comericalized, and I think its a pity, but I don't think this one holliday symbol is evil. 
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« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2005, 11:17:06 AM »

Well, my kids know the truth: Tim Allen is Santa Clause  Wink
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« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2005, 03:39:11 PM »

I'm no parent.I'm an older bro to my younger 9 year old sister who never believed in S.C. She'd rather believe more in the Kallikantzaroi (little ugly Christmas vampire demons who are a menace to everyone during Christmas time) @ night time when her imagination gets the better of her.

We've always tried to make her believe in St. Nicholas and St. Basil. We also do some traditions like bless our house with holy water and a cross attached to a small branch. Also, singing some Kalanda (carols)...and we even made ornaments for the tree by taking little paper icons of St. Nicholas and St. Basil and the Nativity and gluing them on construction paper. Then we punched a hole at the tope and looped a string through the hole. Then we hung them up all over the Christmas tree. So the Christmas tree is really filled with small icons to remind us that Christmas is mostly about an aspect of our faith.

Sometimes we also exchange gifts on December 6  (St. Niich day) or January 6 (Epiphany/old calendar Nativity)
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« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2005, 03:55:21 PM »

Ok MAry, you have way too much time on your hands. You need to relax. Find your happy place and get a grip! (1) Santa Claus is part of popular American culture, whether you like it or not. You're belief or non-belief of him is not going to change a thing. (2) Your children will, in time, find out that he is a myth, but a myth based on a real person - St. Nicholas. (3) At the appropriate time you can use it to teach them a neat lesson about the real St. Nicholas.  You Evangelical converts are a piece of work !
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« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2005, 04:46:42 PM »

aserb, man, be nice.  As I'm fond of saying "theirrrr vays arrre strrrange and forrreeen to usss."  We might both perceive it at silly, but for someone who has not had any past experience with this type of thing, and might be concerned that that since Santa is a myth, and so is the Easter Bunny, kids might decide St Nick was too, or that because Santa is St. Nick then the Easter Bunny has some association with a saint?  I can see how they might think that kids might be confused. 
On the other hand, Mary, kids have a capacity of understanding that we really don't get.  They have a way of putting things simply, and I doubt your kids will have a problem dealing with Santa & St. Nick.
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« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2005, 04:57:59 PM »

I grew up in a Catholic & Orthodox Household and never thought Santa was a saint just a jolly old man who brought gifts. I think we do not give kids enough credit they are not as dumb as we think they are. I did not grow up confused or forever scarred because of this. My daughter knows who Santa is and she does not yet have the capacity to understand St. Nicholas, she thinks all icons are of Jesus if they are a man and Mary if they are a women. I am not worried about her little psyche. This question is for Oprah to ponder. There  are more important matters of faith than whether Santa will be confused with St. Nicholas.
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« Reply #26 on: December 20, 2005, 09:31:18 PM »

I, too, grew up in an Orthodox household at a time when we still celebrated Christmas on the Julian Calendar (Jan 7).  As children, on December 25 (Gregorian Calendar) Santa Claus would leave presents.  Since we really weren't celebrating Christmas that day, my father explained to my brother and me that Santa Claus came that day because he was Roman Catholic.  That worked out well, since it left Jan 7 as a totally religious celebration of Rozdestvo (as we called it to differentiate it from "American" Christmas).  It certainly has not left me scarred or confused.  I agree with aserb that we don't give kids enough credit.  I think that they can go from reality to fantasy to reality with no problem (watch them play) and understand the joys of both that we as adults can no longer do, or even remember how to do.
Growing up, we also celebrated St Nicholas Day.  When we returned home from Vigil, there was always gifts from St Nicholas (chocolate, fruits ,nuts, and silver dollars).   It is a tradition I have kept up to this day.  I have relatives and friends (both Orthodox and non-Orthodox) over my house for a festive lenten (is this an oxymoron?) dinner.  After dinner, we gather around St Nicholas' Icon and sing O kto, kto (I have the words and music printed out for my non-Orthodox friends) and lo and behold, every year while we're singing, St Nicholas comes in the back door bringing the usual gifts (you guessed it, chocolate, fruits, nuts, and silver dollars).  Even my non-Orthodox friends look forward to this day!
I'm sure that if my parents knew of the Greek tradition of St Basil bringing gifts on Jan 1, St Basil would have visited our house on that day.
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« Reply #27 on: December 20, 2005, 09:49:30 PM »

I grew up in a Catholic & Orthodox Household and never thought Santa was a saint just a jolly old man who brought gifts. I think we do not give kids enough credit they are not as dumb as we think they are. I did not grow up confused or forever scarred because of this. My daughter knows who Santa is and she does not yet have the capacity to understand St. Nicholas, she thinks all icons are of Jesus if they are a man and Mary if they are a women. I am not worried about her little psyche. This question is for Oprah to ponder. ThereÂÂ  are more important matters of faith than whether Santa will be confused with St. Nicholas.

Sensible!  Practical!  Excellent post.  (another one where an emoticon of applause would be apt.)

Remember that Santa Claus is from the Dutch for St. Nicholas.  Our children know about St. Nicholas of Myra too.

Ebor

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« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2005, 03:46:52 AM »

Thankyou for all your replies, maybe I was wrong in making this thread.  I'm sorry if I gave anyone the wrong idea from what I was asking (aserb).  I can't help being serious aserb, it's just me, I was always around people older than me, even growing up I didn't have many friends.  I was always considered the strange one and was left out of stuff.  I've always been shy and afraid of what others thought of me.  And before anyone thinks I'm trying to get pity, I'm not, I don't want anyone to feel bad for me.  Ania, thankyou for what you said.  I'm just trying to figure out how to be a Mom, to be honest, being a Mother really scares me and I just want to do what is right.  I think what is right is to let our daughter know that Santa Claus is a myth and to teach her about St Nicholas and the Saints instead, I've no problem with fantasy or imagination stuff, I just feel like I'd be lying to my daughter if I told her that Santa is real.  I guess in a way he kinda is because he can be anyone who gives gifts or is nice to others....but it just bugs me about the whole "he knows when you're awake...asleep, he knows if you've been bad or good" I've always been taught that God is all knowing and stuff, but how can Santa who isn't an actual person know everyone and everything as well? I'm sorry if I'm thinking legalistically, I'm not an Evangelical convert aserb, I'm a Roman Catholic convert who is struggling in the Orthodox faith. 

please forgive me.

In Christ,
Mary a sinner and struggler            Sad 
P.S. if the mods think it wise, you may lock this thread, I'm sorry if I've caused any problems here.  I never meant to cause arguments amongst us.
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« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2005, 08:46:51 AM »

MaryCecilia:

Sorry if I was a little gruff. Yuo and your family are going to be fine!  I too grew up around adults. To some extent we are probably too serious,, ut also smarter!!!!!!!!


Have a blessed Christmas

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« Reply #30 on: December 21, 2005, 08:58:47 AM »

But I still don't know what we Greeks are supposed to do, since it's St. Basil and not St. Nicholas who brings the presents Wink
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« Reply #31 on: December 21, 2005, 09:25:55 AM »

Then you get to explain about both saints and tell them that everyone else likes to remember St. Nicholas because of his generosity and kindness towards children, and then tell them whatever reasons there are behind St. Basil.
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« Reply #32 on: December 21, 2005, 10:19:07 AM »

I've been keeping my eye on this thread, and I thought it might be interesting to discuss the results of this in my own family.

Of my four kids, when they were younger all believed in Santa Claus. We never told them that 'Santa definately existed', but they picked it up through acculturation and eventually most of them grew to realize that there actually is not a jolly old elf who breaks into our home one night a year to leave presents behind.

The older two boys do not believe in Santa now, and they did not grow up to be embittered or cynical through this experience. The older girl 'sort of' believes in Santa, and the youngest absolutely believes in Santa.

What I thought was interesting is that all four kids have seperated the 'modern' Santa Claus from St. Nicholas, and know that Santa is something 'American' (and therefore somewhat 'suspect') while Saint Nicholas is actually on a radically different plane of existance. Partially this is because one of my children has St. Nicholas as his patron and his 'chapel' to the saint lets all who enter know that St. Nicholas is a great miracle worker, and also it's because they are growing up in the Church.

What is also interesting is that the two boys will not tell the youngest that there is no Santa Claus, as they are entertained by seeing how their baby sister (she's eight years old) really believes in him. Interestingly, they *did* tell her that Knecht Ruprecht does not exist as this bothered her, and all four of the kids keep the tradition of the pickle ornament on the tree.

MaryCecilia, on a private note---please keep posting, and I hope you are not bothered by anything in this thread. In doing my 'research' for this post I had a series of marvelous holiday discussions with my kids that helped set the tone for the holidays and their favorite memories of past Christmases. This is due to you, and if this happened for me I am sure it's happening for others as well, it's just that I am the one writing about it now.
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« Reply #33 on: December 21, 2005, 10:40:56 AM »

There is a comic strip in the paper called "Baldo".  A couple of days ago the little girl, Baldo's sister, is telling her father that she's come to realization that Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny all have something in common.  The father looks a bit concerned and starts to say something like "yes, I guess it's time you knew..' when the child finishes "They're all nocturnal!!"

 Grin

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« Reply #34 on: December 21, 2005, 01:42:07 PM »

Mary,
You'll be a great mom.  Just surround them with lots of love.  More than anything be the best example you can for them.  Just don't make religion a negative.  Too many times I have heard, "You can't eat that, it's lent!", "You can't do that, it's a holy day!".  Make Orthodoxy joyous for them.  Bring the church celebration home, celebrate the holy days around the dining room table-the home altar.  Buy an inexpensive set of holy day and saints icon prints.  On the eve of a feast, let the kids decorate them with what ever they want, flowers, branches, pretty rocks, seashells.  Let this be their little offering.  Talk to ethnic "cradle" Orthodox you know.  Find out about the ethnic traditions they have.  Ethnic Orthodox have centuries of traditions from societies where religion and life were closely bound.  Use them, change them, make them your own.  The examples are endless: St Nicholas day gifts, the Slavic Christmas Eve Holy Supper, St Basil Day bread on New Years Day, let them decorate a small jar for them to bring to church on Theophany to bring home the Holy Water (give them a sip of this when they are sick), the blessed candle from the feast of the Meeting of Our Lord-light it on holy days, birthdays, namesdays (the Carpatho Russian people light this candle during thunderstorms-it can be very comforting, especially if the power goes out!), celebrate names days with a special bread like the Serbian Slava, a special dinner with their favorite food and cake before Lent begins (the Russian Bliny), the Slavic style Easter basket, decorate the house with branches of trees for Pentecost, let them pick out the grapes and fruit at the supermarket for blessing at Transfiguration,  plant cutting flowers in the spring so they can pick flowers to be blessed on Dormition, don't eat off plates on the Beheading of St John the Baptist (remember his head was placed on a plate), and it goes on and on!
Say prayers with them before going to bed, keep it simple, the Lord's Prayer and the Virgin Mother of God, Rejoice (the Hail Mary).  Tuck them in at night,tell them you love them, give them a kiss, and sign them with the sign of the Cross.  They'll go to bed at night knowing that you and God love them and are watching over them.
May God guide you and your family through your life.
CR
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« Reply #35 on: December 21, 2005, 02:54:44 PM »

Well said, CR!
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« Reply #36 on: December 22, 2005, 11:17:04 AM »

Excellent post!
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« Reply #37 on: December 22, 2005, 11:56:24 AM »

Having been the worse half of the family Mary is a part of, I've been giving some thought to treating Santa as a fiictional character. On the one had, by treating Santa Claus as a fictional character who some people dress up like, some difficulties go away (like, "Dad, why is there two Santas on talking to each other down there?"). On the other hand, new problems emerge, like the constant question to kids "Are you ready for Santa?"  How can a kid answer that question properly, especially if around other (Santa-believing) children? I'm half-jokingly tempted to tell my daughter to say "We pray to St. Nicholas, but Mom and Dad buy the presents". The kids wouldn't understand that, and neither would most parents, but that could be a double-edged sword in itself I suppose.
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« Reply #38 on: December 22, 2005, 09:26:30 PM »

Just a few minutes ago my youngest was sitting in my lap, and I asked her what did she really want to receive this Christmas. She said she 'wanted an Abelia Bemelia book' more than anything else.

Then she turned to me and asked, "I wonder what Santa is going to put in Jesus' stocking?"

It made me think of this thread. I think her belief in Santa is helping her realize the importance of giving, and like her brothers and sister, we will teach her that Santa's ability to give is based on St. Nicholas' past of giving to others when the right time comes.
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« Reply #39 on: December 23, 2005, 11:59:17 AM »

Reading this thread with the firemen and the neighbors and the children and all, something occurred to me.  Seeing people dressed as Santa handing out presents to poor children.  The people doing it are not known to the children, they're not getting praise, they are doing good deeds while putting on the 'cover' as it were of generosity and charity and kindness and merriment.   It's the spirit of giving not greed, ideally.

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« Reply #40 on: December 23, 2005, 01:05:33 PM »

IN our home we celebrate this winter Pascha as follows:

December 6--- St Nicholas comes bringing the traditional gifts Apples (The Red peel symbolizes the blood that Jesus Shed, the white, the purity of the Virgin Mary), The Orange (Green until the frost it turns Orange and symbolizes the resurrection) Nuts ( remind us to be wise like the squirrels who are prepared to assist those in famine like St Nicholas), Gold Coins usually chocolate (represent the dowry money provided by St Nicholas) and Candy ( when sugar was costly, this was a treat indeed for children and came from St Nicholas). To this we provide religous gifts like the Stories of the saints, crosses, prayerbooks, etc.

December 25---The family exchanges gifts in honor of the gifts given by the Magi and the shepherds to the Christ Child.

(We tried to give gifts on Jan 1 but it never caught on with our family---my wife and I exchange a gift on that day.We do have the Vasilopita however)

January 6 (We live in the Southwest where the Theophany is observed as "Three Kings Day" the children get gold chocolate coins, incense and incense burners and sweet smelling stiff. After attending Theophany Services we serve a Three Kings Cake with our Theophany Feast).

In Christ,
Thomas
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« Reply #41 on: December 23, 2005, 03:14:15 PM »

Here's an interesting article relevant to our discussion:

http://www.ldnews.com/fastsearchresults/ci_3334327

Grinchy remark sends kids home in tears
By RORY SCHULER
Staff Writer
Lebanon Daily NewsÂÂ  

 
 
LICKDALE — Jamey Schaeffer stretched her mouth open wide, showing off a pair of twin gaps in her smile. With a mouthful of fingers, she said she has no interest in two front teeth for Christmas.
Instead, she’d like a Barbie doll from Santa Claus — and Santa Claus only.

But a substitute music teacher almost came between the 6-year-old and a Christmas Eve spent dancing cheek to cheek with sugar plums.

Theresa Farrisi stood in for Schaeffer’s regular music teacher one day last week. One of her assignments was to read Clement C. Moore’s famous poem, “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” to a first-grade class at Lickdale Elementary School.

“The poem has great literary value, but it goes against my conscience to teach something which I know to be false to children, who are impressionable,” said Farrisi, 43, of Myerstown. “It’s a story. I taught it as a story. There’s no real person called Santa Claus living at the North Pole.”

Farrisi doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, and she doesn’t think anyone else should, either. She made her feelings clear to the classroom full of 6- and 7-year-olds, some of whom went home crying.

Schaeffer got off the school bus later that day, dragging her backpack in the mud, tears in her angry little eyes.

“She yelled at me, ‘Why did you lie?’” recalled Jamey’s mother, Elizabeth. “‘Why didn’t you tell me Santa Claus died?’”

Elizabeth Schaeffer said she was appalled by Farrisi’s bluntness.

“I had to call the school,” said Schaeffer, a part-time custodial employee for the school district who is on temporary leave after complications from her last child’s birth. “I had to do something.”

Meanwhile, Farrisi, who is well versed on the history of “Santa Claus” — the traditional and literary figure — clarified her comments.

“I did not tell the students Santa Claus was dead,” she explained. “I said there was a man named Nickolas of Myrna who died in 343 A.D., upon whom the Santa Claus myth (is based).”

On Monday night, Jamey started to recite Moore’s famous poem while sitting on a couch next to a freshly cut tree, trimmed in tinsel and topped with a golden star: “’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house. No creatures stirred.”

She paused, looked up, and said that’s when the teacher interjected, just a few lines before the verse that announces the arrival of “a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.”

“The teacher stopped reading and told us no one comes down the chimney,” Jamey said, curling into a ball on the couch, bracing her chin on her knees, her voice shrinking away like melting ice cream. “She said our parents buy the presents, not Santa.”

Sharing in the belief of Santa Claus is a very special event in the Schaeffer home. Jamey’s the second youngest of five children. The three oldest have already grown up and left the family nest. Only Jamey and her 18-month-old sister, Amanda, remain.

Last year, Elizabeth Schaeffer recalled, Santa left a trail of boot prints in charred ashes from his feet-first landing in the fireplace. And this year, the family will continue their tradition of leaving him a plate of cookies, a tall glass of milk and a ripe, shaved carrot for Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.

The Schaeffer family wasn’t the only one taken aback by Farrisi’s approach to Santa.

Tim and Beth Rittle said they found their 7-year-old daughter, Holly, in tears in the back seat of their car after they picked her up from school that day.

“All of a sudden, Holly just started crying,” Beth Rittle said. “She said she had a substitute in music class, and she told the class there’s no such thing as Santa Claus.”

Schaeffer and Rittle both called Northern Lebanon School District Superintendent Don L. Bell....

******************
The article is a bit long, and it continues in much the same tone.

So, for families like mine where Santa Claus is not specifically stated as being mythical until a child asks us, we may need to prepare for moments like this. This is where it helps to know the hagiography of St. Nicholas, as why we should pay attention to the Synaxarion.

ÂÂ  
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« Reply #42 on: December 24, 2005, 04:43:59 PM »

Thankyou to everyone who replied to my post.  All of you gave some very helpful ideas and I do appreciate it.  I'm glad now that I did make this thread so we could discuss something.  I hope that all of you have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Years as well. Smiley 
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« Reply #43 on: December 28, 2005, 08:21:14 AM »

Well I'm only 17 so I lack experience on this matter. My parents always gave me the idea
of the American Santa Claus and tried to make me believe in him too. Of course now
I do realise that it comes from Agios Nikolaos but that is because I looked it up.
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« Reply #44 on: December 29, 2005, 04:14:15 AM »

Thanks for the question; I personally think it is a great one!

Well, my mother is the religious teacher of our family and since I remember, my mother has always taught me in St. Nick and not Santa Claus as in the movies. So as an adult I still believe in the true Santa Claus....St. Nick. I never lost the spirit of the True Christmas Story....(the Holy Family) The Birth of Our Lord, Jesus. So I see Santa Claus as Bishop, thin with a burgandy robe and I know his origins and story as well as passed on in my family(from one generation to another). How does this tie in with the birth of Our Lord, greatly, because he followed the True Meaning of Christianity by helping those in need especially children and young girls. St. Nick passed his love in Jesus at Christmas Time even more.

I will pass the story of St. Nick, God's Will, to my future children.... Wink (Not Married).

By the way, St. Nick is important in my family too, well, because, we are his great great great great great ....relatives  Grin

MERRY CHRISTMAS! And the Greatest NEW YEAR TOO!  Cheesy HO HO HO HO!  Wink

In Christ,
Hadel

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