Category Archives: Holiday

A Nanny Who Doesn’t Believe in Santa Claus

Yes, I am that Nanny who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus.

I assure you, I am not anti-Santa.

I just don’t believe in a Santa Claus whose only concern is to find out if you are naughty or nice. I don’t believe in a Santa Claus that sees you and knows you whenever, wherever you are.

Yes, we want children to be good, and well-behaved. It is not wrong having such an expectation of them. But, have we ever thought about the message we are portraying?

Saint Nicholas of Myra is the primary inspiration for the Christian figure of Sinterklaas. … Nicholas was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes.” (From Wikipedia)

The original story of Saint Nicholas, A.K.A. “Santa Claus”, was one of loving, selfless giving, mercy, compassionate, and accepting. However, we, culturally as a whole, have given Santa a bad name. He has become a judgmental, conditional, and manipulative jolly old man, burdened with materialism, and domination by the media. Here, Santa carries more in his baggage than toys alone!

I am not anti-miracle either.

I just don’t believe in fairy tales, or say, fantasies. Fairy tales and fantasies are made-up stories to illuminate moral values, and sometimes, to manipulate certain points of view.

Telling children there IS a Santa Claus like a “truth” discourages healthy skepticism in children. This is how my father delivered who Santa Claus is:

“Santa Claus, and everything you heard about him are fairy tales people made up. Though, there WAS once a person named Saint Nicolas, who was generous and loving. He gave his fortune to those in need. After he died, people continue to do what he did–an active love and generosity.”

Did my father’s straight-fact-Santa-Claus make me less of a believer in miracles and magic? No. I hear magic in children’s giggles. I am present to magic every time when a plane is in the sky. I experience miracles in relationship with others. I encounter miracles when I am moved to tears by community goodness. Magic and miracles exist in real life, not in fairy tales.

As you go on with preparing the holidays, I invite you to explore and ponder:

Who is Santa for you?

Who are you for Santa?

What is Santa for?

What single (new) practice could you take on for the holidays that would transform them for you and those around you?

Have a magically vibrant holiday season!!


Family Holiday Traditions

(Taken from “Connected e-newsletter, By FamilyBy Design)

We have noticed that when we think of the holiday season we think of traditions and traditional activities. And it is not because we have holiday traditions. It is because holidays are traditions. No tradition, no holiday. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, et al, are traditions, as are all the activities associated with them.

During this time of year, we celebrate Christmas. And we cannot think of Christmas without thinking of traditions, mostly family traditions. Even if we tried, we cannot help but think of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, Christmas Eve church service, carols and other Christmas music, decorating our home with a lighted fir tree and garlands, dolls and other keepsakes, and having our family, neighbors and friends to our home for holiday food and drink. As Ray Charland said during one of our Families and the Holidays teleconversations, “It wouldn’t be Christmas without those things.”

Family holiday traditions seem to be a source of warmth and joy and also stress and upset, both of which seem to increase during the holidays. How can that be?

Well, the family part of family holiday traditions is relationship … warm and joyful.

The holi part calls for the day(s) to be sacred, pure and perfect – uh oh!

The traditions part is “long-established customs and practices that have the effect of unwritten law” (dictionary definition). And law is agreements/promises transmuted into expectations. And since our expectations are rooted in fantasies (i.e. purity and perfection), stress, upset and disappointment are unavoidable – built into the notion of The Holiday Season.

You may ask, ‘how did this tradition get started?’ I’ll tell you. I don’t know. But because of our traditions, every one of us knows who he is and what God expects him to do. Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof

While traditions may tell us who we are and what is expected of us, they cannot be counted on to deliver happiness and joy.

So when you and/or members of your family find yourselves upset during the holidays, there’s nothing wrong with you. It comes with the package. It’s normal and ordinary.

What may be extraordinary is being aware that traditions and traditional activities do not guarantee joy and fulfillment in your holidays. However, you can use traditions as a reminder that you can bring warmth and joy to life in your relationships and families. You can bring your unabashed expression of love and appreciation to the people you hold so dear.

We wish you a wonderful Holiday Season and a happy entry into 2011.