01 December 2007

Book Review: Saint Nicholas

One of my proudest parenting moments occurred about two years ago when our oldest was almost 3. We were paging through a magazine together and she noticed a picture of Santa Claus. She pointed to it and said, "There's Christmas Guy."

The influence of preschool since then has, I'm afraid, precluded any comparable experiences of triumphant cultural ignorance for our other children, but we're still not a Santa Claus family. So we're really glad that we happened upon Saint Nicholas by Julie Stiegemeyer to soften the blow of this cruel deprivation. It tells the real story, the illustrations are very nice, and the catholic theological setting is just what you'd want. It gets a little wordy toward the end for really young kids, but ours usually hang with it through the story itself. There's also a board book version that I haven't seen, but I would guess that like most board books it trims down the text for younger readers. Add this one to your kids' list if you'd like them to get Santa Claus in perspective, and don't forget to have them put their shoes out on Wednesday night!

(Incidentally, I also grew up in a Santa-free house and was completely shocked to learn sometime in early grade school that other kids actually "believed" in Santa Claus.)


William Weedon said...

Ours was a Santa free zone too - as was my sister-in-law's. My brother-in-law taught his children to refer to him as "the bum." As in, "O look, mommy! The bum is back!" We didn't quite go THAT far.

Kelly said...

I was also raised Santa-less and will do the same in my household if the time comes. Aside from the fact that the focus on Santa takes away from Jesus, my parents later explained to me that they did not want to lie to me. As a grade schooler I was also amazed that some of my classmates took the whole thing seriously,

elephantschild said...

About the beginning of Advent last year, my Dd, then age 4, asked me point blank if Santa was real. Up to that point we simply hadn't discussed Santa at all. Not yes, not no, not really anything. Since we're a homeschooling family without cable TV, I can only figure she picked up clues about S.C. at ... Sunday School.

I told her no, he's not real. Nothing more was said or asked & she went on with her day.

Until Christmas with my sister-in-law and her family.
(cue ominous music)
The reindeer pies hit the oscillating ceiling device. I got in HUGE trouble for not adequately "catechizing" (for lack of better term) my kid. I was apparently supposed to threaten her w/ corporal punishment if she "ruined" it for other kids.

Sigh. Now, she's decided on her own that she wants to believe in Santa, and I can't be too hard-line in disabusing her of the notion, since we're going to be w/ the in-laws again this Christmas. I've tried telling her that it's a fun game that some families play, but she says, "NO! He's REAL!" I've stopped saying anything at all when she brings it up. Total silence & a change of topic.

It's not surprising that you can rearrange "Santa" to spell something else. -ahem-

Rebekah said...

The bum! :D Nice. And good luck to you, Elephant's Child--I've wondered if we're going to tick off some other parents somewhere down the line with our unbelieving children . . . .