This was on Drudge and Ace. Some teachers in Britain decided to break the news to a class about Santa, which I’ve got to agree was a pretty lousy thing to do.
Not that I can relate. My dad hates Santa. He’s the Madeleine Murray O’Hare of Santa Claus. Sure, we had the tree and stockings and all the trimmings but not a single Santa or reindeer was to be found in our home. It was his assertion that Christmas was to be about Jesus and nothing else. We still got presents, though, and had family about and I can’t remember a bad Christmas. But we had no Santa.
ReligiousTolerance.org has a cool couple pages about the Big Guy. The Theology of Santa is the best read of the bunch, but there’s also a fun little look at the Logisitics of Santa Claus. There’s more at Innocent Bystanders about the Physics of St. Nick.
I’m pretty agnostic on the topic of teaching kids about Santa. On the one hand, it’s probably fun for everyone involved. On the other hand, if some are to be believed then you’re teaching your kids a proto-theology which they will later learn is fictitious and their feelings towards that may spill over to any other theology you’re teaching them. Truly I don’t know. Maybe it depends on the kid and what they can handle.
I don’t know that I go along with Santa being an introduction to Christian theology, though. Simply because, well, if you’ve known many Christians then you know they tend to disagree on the details. But we don’t see this in the Santa legends. For instance,
Lutheran kids don’t nail their wish lists to Catholic church doors.
Episcopalian kids don’t believe in Santa and his Life Partner.
I’m guessing Calvinist kids don’t believe that All kids are naughty and deserve lumps of coal, but Santa has chosen to give some of them presents and so has the elves build the toys for (only) those kids, who will receive them on Xmas morning-Santa’s entry into their house being efficacious and irresistible – and who, as a result will reject naughtiness thereafter and persevere as nice. Brewfan might know.
Baptist kids don’t leave KFC and cole slaw out for the Big Guy.
Mormon kids don’t posit that “as Santa is, so we may become” believing that one day they could have their own north pole and a bunch of spirit-elves.
and so on…
So I don’t really see it as a theology teaching tool. It might be a fun game to play with the kids though. Don’t really have to worry about it for at least another year.
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