December 6, 2010

My open letter to Santa Claus

First published January 13, 2009.

Dear Santa,

First, may I call you St. Nicholas? I'm much more comfortable with that name.

So St. Nicholas, now that the holidays are over I'm writing to tell you that I'm very concerned. I mean, what happened? For hundreds of years you were this beloved saint, a bishop who loved children and saved three sisters from a life of prostitution. You supposedly punched out a heretic at the Council of Nicea and then proclaimed the Truth. You were cool before cool was a word.

But now you're seen as just being a fat guy in some silly red suit. Sure, people think of you as jolly and an all around good guy, but you've been stripped of all your coolness and left as little more than a large elf who gives overindulged kids whatever they want for Christmas.

I've been thinking about it all and I guess it all began to shift with Clement Clarke Moore's 1822 poem Twas the Night Before Christmas. It's a sweet poem; I'm sure you remember how I had it memorized as a small child. Yet, it removes all of history and Christianity, pretty much changing the very essence of who you are.

Then Coca-Cola got hold of you and there was nothing left of the man you once were.

So I want you to know, St. Nicholas, that things are going to be different in my home. Of course my kids will "believe" in you! You're a real person! A saint in Heaven! But, with all due respect, I don't want you coming to my house on Christmas Eve. And I don't want you giving my kids an overabundance of presents. I would quite prefer if you came the night before December 6th and filled their stockings. That way, on your feast day (the 6th) we can talk about you and celebrate your life as a holy man who lived for Christ. Christmas morning my husband and I will give our children a few presents, and we'll even give them another gift come Epiphany, as we discuss how Christ is the True Gift of Christmas, and how the Wise Men gave what they had to Christ to honor Him. Maybe the Epiphany presents will consist of sacramentals? I do need to think about that one some more. Any ideas?

Also, I don't think we'll be making any more trips to see you at shopping centers. Instead, I would like to invite you, Bishop of Myra, to come to our house for a St. Nick party. I'll invite all the kids I know and when you come, dressed with your miter and crosier instead of a hat with a pompom, you can ask the kiddos what they're doing to prepare for the birth of Christ, instead of asking them what they want for Christmas. My hope is that this will help my family keep Advent, as we prepare ourselves for the Incarnation, and also shift the focus of Christmas away from you and back to the Infant Jesus.

I think this is a win-win situation. My kids will (hopefully) learn more about you as a saint, will see Christmas being less about presents and more about Christ, and will grow up rooted in the traditions of their beautiful faith. And you will regain some dignity in the way you're represented and I'm quite confident you'll rejoice in the way the glorious feast of Christmas is refocused on our Lord and Savior.

If you have any ideas or suggestions I am definitely open to hearing from you.

I am, most respectfully, yours sincerely.
Bonnie E.

P.S. Please pray for me and my family and give Peter a big hug.

1 comment:

  1. I love this. How do you deal with the culture, the friends, the strangers, preschool, asking your child what they want from Santa? have you been a good girl for Santa? is Santa coming to your house?
    When they are in school are you going to tell them that there is not a Santa from the North Pole? Is it okay that they tell their friends that? I have not told my 3 year old anything about Santa, but she knows from others. We talk about Jesus' birthday, but it almost confuses me how to fit it the birth of Christ, St. Nicholas, and Santa?? How am I suppose to explain it all to a 3 year old.
    I hate the idea of making a big deal of Santa, but I also feel like I can't escape it??
    What are your recommendations... You are awesome!