Christimas comes early to the village

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Malika, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    (Subtitle: Thinking on Your Feet or A Sacrilegious Story)

    Well, we are kind of new to this Christmas Malarkey... Four out of Jacob's five Christmases have been spent in Morocco where Christmas is, of course, noteable by its absence (much to the astonishment of many people who don't quite get that Muslim countries haven't gone in for the Great Shopping Fest er.... sorry, Birth of Jesus). So this is the first year he has been old enough to understand or get into the Father Christmas thing. He has taken to it quite enthusiastically and has been chattering about Santa coming down the chimney, writing letters to Santa and asking lots of questions about where Santa lives, how he travels around, etc. We had kind of established, along with the help of school stories, that Father Christmas comes down the chimney at Christmas and leaves presents.
    Anyway, imagine J's confusion and consternation when today he saw not just one but two Father Christmases... one at the activity centre and the other at his tennis class. After collecting him from tennis, he had much to say about this conundrum and had reached his own conclusions. One was false, he declared, the other real. How could he tell, I asked? Because (of course), one was wearing shoes (false) and the other boots (real). So far so good... however, back at home, he began to ask the unanswerable question, his sense of logic clearly outraged: today was not Christmas day so how could Santa have come today?
    Thinking on my feet (and thinking of the awkwardness of being in Morocco with Moroccans who have none of all this and doing the whole Christmas present thing with J there), I decided to conduct a search for presents, to see whether Santa had indeed come today. In due course, and much to J's delight and astonishment, we found under my bed the two (unwrapped) presents that he had asked Santa for - a toy gun and a police car. How extraordinary! J kept shouting "Thank you Santa!" and wanted to write him a thank you letter, so I believe a tiny scrap of Christmas wonder was preserved.
    I realise this tale will shock the die hard Santa-ists among you. But... you know... We are having to perform a delicate inter-religious, inter-cultural feat here :)
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Not bad. lol

    When the subject of seeing santa before xmas comes up the kids in our family are told that those are santa's helpers, sort of like special elves. Although one has to be careful around them because you never know, one just might be the real santa popping in to check on how things are going. This covers the mult santas a child will see during the season and some of them being better and some just awful. lol

    Too cute though, sounds like he's really enjoying the whole thing. :)
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Well, lol, the answer that most of us have given to the multiple Santa's is this. "You are right. Santa himself can not possibly everywhere in the world where he is expected so he has lots of helpers who have permission to dress up like him and visit people before the holiday. What a smart boy you are." That usually does it.

    The Santa part of the holidays is different than the religious celebration that Christians honor. In the States many families who are not Christian include the Santa traditions for fun and the spirit of receiving and giving. DDD
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    DDD's explanation is exactly what we have always told our boys.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I wanted to respond but DDD said it best. You winged it quite well, by the way!!
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Damn - I should have thought even faster on my feet!!
    And after all that... before going to bed, J suddenly shouted, in fits of giggles: "FATHER CHRISTMAS DOESN'T ESSIST!" (= exist). The child is going to be an evil genius.
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I like D3's explaination of how Santa Claus and his elves get around. It took me a minute to figure the Father Christmas thought of J's because I believe in parts of the world Santa Claus is refered to AS Father Christmas. In trying to be respectful of everyones beliefs however if you aren't into celebrating Christmas, but would want to give presents to your child? I think that would be fine. Santa in some houses is just as non-existant as people want him to be. For us in a Christian belief that person can also merely represent the SPIRIT of giving.

    It is true that Christmas has gotten to be for some, very commercialized and the true meaning of Christmas is forgotton often over the absolute importance of the day. For me - in name only as I'm not sure when Christ was born (suspect sometime in September after bible study). Christmas to me means the most important day of the year. Much as Ramadan (Muslim holy day) starts on Hilal (crescent moon) and has it's Lay lat al-Qadr I'm not sure I would refer to a faiths holiest day as melarkey - lol. (still chuckling) We certainly have lots to continue to learn about each other across the pond. But I think it's very cool that you and J are giving Christmas a whirl! Glad to have you! There's probably a ton of books on Amazon that explain all the different Santas throughout the centuries. I don't even know them all - and in different countries. Like Pair Noel.

    Hugs & Love
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello Star. You are adding more confusion to poor J's already confused state... you mean that Santa Claus and Father Christmas are TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE? No, no, stop... enough already.
    Seriously... best scholarly research has it that Jesus was probably born in March and the Christmas feast day was of course hijacked from the pagans' celebration of the winter solstice. I was not in any way mocking or maligning the Christian festival. One would be hard put to detect it among the homage to the God of Shopping, however. :)
  9. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Malika, many in Borg American celebrate a Christmas type holiday, separate from religious beliefs. For some with non Christian beliefs and even some atheists often celebrate during this season by having traditional meals, family gatherings, exchanging gifts and donating to charitable causes in the spirit of give without taking. Santa often is then a fun whimsical and magical wondrous thing for children and the shopping (admittedly over commercialized) is a by-product of the tradition in north America of a Santa.

    For Christians those traditions are usually fairly similar for a party type angle but the religious aspect is both simultaneous and yet a separate reason for celebrating the spirit of the Christian holiday. For active Christians other activities also tend to occur. Special masses and ceremonies. Special prayer masses. Traditional midnight mass. Special hymns and prayers and tha holiday for many is also a way to reflect on the past year, reknew their commitment to God and pray for themselves and with gratitude but also pray for others and reach out to others who are struggling and could use help.

    For those celebrating as a Christian event, having Santa and gifts does not rule out a very serious approach to the Christian meaning to the season. Much as in jewish faith a huge event with major signfigance is a bat mitzvah yet can also for some mean a costly lavish large party for the young person. The significance is not always lost simply due to a costly celebration.

    I'm glad you and J are enjoying trying something new. I giggled with the update that he doesn't exist. Our kids can sure crack us up.

    Back to the religious base vs commercial holiday traditions and gifts etc... I think it is sadly common for people to see the over the top commercial ads and shopping and believe there is no longer a important Christian celebration with meaning also happening. When I hear people who can no longer see themselves how many take this season very seriously and spiritually, I feel compelled to just insert a reminder that the fun trappings can and do often collide and doesn't need to finish the meaning of this time for faithful Christians. I hear this jaded view so much about Christians and the gift thing and never hear it about Jewish coming of age traditions nor would I want to as it would to me feel offensive to say. For those with strong faith I imagine many feel quite sad to have their important period of this season minimized in its importance.

    In another fun note, I remember in shool Lear if if the various santa like world traditions such as Pere Noel. Google would make fun reading for your J. Its interesting and fun even for very young kids.
  10. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Mattsmom, I was speaking purely (and inevitably) from a European context, particularly a British one. In which Christmas is just MANIC, hugely important, as a festival of shopping and merrymaking. The Christian angle has definitely become a marginal and minority element. America (some elements of) is doubtless more religious in the Christian sense. However, I have taken it upon myself as my noble and difficult duty to remind you all that there is a WORLD OUTSIDE AMERICA :)
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    This brings up a good conversation. I remember visiting Soviet Russia shortly before the fall of the union. They could not celebraate Christmas or any religious holiday publicly during that time. They did, however, have a tree decorated and lit on New Year's and also had an "older" man with white hair and beard dressed in bright clothing and called Grandfather Time, or something along those lines, who handed gifts out to children and tried to spread the message of goodwill and sharing and kindness and hope and joy and the renewal that a new year can bring as we put the past behind us.

    While Santa might have started as a pagan tradition, whatever 'he' is called these days, the tradition still seems to have the same magic and lessons for children- no harm done, in my humble opinion.

    I, personally, would try to tread lightly while teaching my child traditions that don't reflect my personal beliefs, however. Mainly because I wouldn't want the child to interpret anything as me making fun of another's traditions or beliefs. If I choose to do something celebrating Hannakuh, for instance, as a teaching experience to my child, I'd try to be careful that I didn't end up making a comment or acting in such a way that left the child thinking this was stupid or unimportant. I don't think you meant that M, I'm just pointing out that it sounds like he could have ended up interpreting some of it that way. And for those who do 'believe in Santa', it's not looked well upon for a young child to go to school or wherever and tell all the other young children that it's a joke or not 'real', at least in this country.

    Many, many parents who celebrated Christmas with a Santa in their young child's life explained this to the child, when he/she got old enough to 'get it', that while Santa is not one paricular 'real' person, the spirit is real and that is what is important. So the child then becomes 'Santa' to someone else.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  12. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I'm Canadian ;)

    Borders or oceans aside, I just lean towards being cautious to always honor religious special days of all faiths.

    As for the Santa thing and gifts and shopping, it sure is over the top nowadays. I find it fun but I've never understood some of the major overdoing it that occurs. I do however have far more whimsical decorations for the season than I do religious. My crèche has a spot of honor in our home but for sure my house is decorated for the holiday with Santas and snowmen and whatnot. I do enjoy sharing gifts etc.
  13. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, you guys, but I'm afraid I do not see all the Santa/Father Xmas stuff as having anything to do with the Christian meaning of Christmas... I don't feel that I am in any way disrespecting Christmas (I have a lot of time and respect for people of all faiths and their faiths) by being tongue in cheek and irreverent about the Father Christmas myth. I can guarantee you that there are many children in the west who don't even know that Christmas involves anything other than that. I tell J about Jesus and we talk about it with a lot of respect and interest. Nothing to do with a fictional man who comes to give lots of presents....
  14. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Malika your posts about J made me smile. I completely separate the religious component from christmas....the 2 in my mind are not even linked because of the commercialism that surrounds the holiday. I love that j is having fun with this...and letting his imagination run wild. That is what this holiday is supposed to be all about:)
  15. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I loved Christmas as a child - not the presents and all that (which I don't even remember) but a certain atmosphere of watching and waiting, crisp footprints in the snow, mass at midnight, lighted candles, wreaths of holly, groups of carol singers... that doesn't really seem to be present any more. Christmas has become, largely, a banal, commercialised stunt. So I have kind of turned away from it, I guess... And we are all free to make the kind of Christmas we want and respect, of course.
  16. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Thought I might add that Santa has remained part of the holiday spirit in our household. Each of the children made the transition well from wide-eyed little toddlers to accepting of the Santa spirit as they aged out of the fantasy...and they kept their mouths shut, lol, around the "little" children quite well.

    So anybody who lives in our house (including husband who is almost 80) gets a gift from Santa each year and...ta da...the various reindeer give gifts too. We have never spent big bucks on presents so it's not unusual for Rudolph to give a package of underwear. It's folly. Each of us looks forward to the fun of saying silly things like "how did Donner know that I wear size 38 BVD's?" Solemnly we usually answer "Santa told him!" LOL DDD
  17. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Bah, humbug!
  18. Star*

    Star* call 911

    My bad - I thought at somepoint somehwere you had said you were muslim. So I was trying to help splain different viewpoints. That's why I brought up the Pere Noel (for the outside American thing) ahem.

    Tis true however a lot of people all over the world have their own meaning of Christmas. In our house? There is the breakdown of the words Christ/mas - Christ's birthday, and Mass (celebration of religious sorts) as I understood it. So for us Christmas was a celebration of the birth of Christ. The gift giving in our house was a part of the three wisemen from the Christian Bible giving presents to the Christ child. But you're right. The tree, the lights and all the other ceremonial things did come from pagan beginnings. Winter Solstice, the Yule log - all have their beginnings in Paganism. Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas was a real person. He did give out toys as I understand and someone kept up the tradition to this day. BLend it all together and ask people from different walks of life and you'll surely get different answers. Technically there are no cariboo at the North Pole - but they pull a red sleigh - right? lol. And fly? I love the magical parts. BUT if you google North Pole - there is a real one. Santa's workshop - There is one....Father Christmas and Santa Clause are supposedly one person - not two. Again different thoughts.

    I really try to at least be respectful of all faiths - I may not understand them -but I'll ask questions because I feel that ignorance and fear breed contempt and more ignorance. Oh and Scrooge????? If you keep it up - you will be visited by MORE spirits of Christmas - Past Present and Future...hahahah. Chains and all forged in life - I learned something I had no clue from you too - Morocco is largely muslim. Go figure. I mean I guess I never really thought about it at all, but after you said something since you live over there? I checked it out. VERY interesting. Does a person good to get out of their own box once in a while. I mean I didn't picture Morocco draped with lights, snowmen and tinsel......but if you'd come here and see a live version at Christmas time of a nativity for the first time done by kids and parents in freezing snow - with an uber mean camel? Who spits? It does leave a lasting impression.

    Now I have to figure out why reindeer don't bring ME underpants. (and did you know that all of those deer are FEMALE?) yeah - I found that out too. Forget how I know that - something to do with antlers....but it was on the discovery chanel.
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    In our world, Santa makes several stops. He is a busy man...what can I say? (And knowledgeable about where kids are!) Im glad we live in a place has room for everything from Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus to palm trees covered in garish lights in Miami. In December, people just smile and say Happy Holiday!
  20. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I think I have heard HAPPY HOLIDAYS this year more so than any other - but I've continued to say Merry CHristmas as I have for over forty years. Now the one that I really like to hear is Happy Christmas. I belive I heard it in the Harry Potter movies when Hermoine says it to Ron and Harry. I had never heard that before and after I heard it there? I heard it in a few other BRitish movies. But it sounds wonderful either way - I do say Happy Holidays if I'm talking to people before THanksgiving......after that? I'm full-on MERRY CHRISTMAS. Unless I'm like outside a synagog, or temple. Then I'm Happy Hanukkah. But then again - I wonder - If you are not Jewish is it okay to say Happy Hanukkah? Or Should you say Happy HOlidays? See there's another one I'd like answered.