I have been very confused lately. It is my first year, despite being a life long church goer and Christian, to celebrate Advent, have Advent candles and wreath, birth of Jesus, to learn about Saints, to have a Nativity, to do Waldorf.... and try to make sense of it all with limited time and money! I have been googling of course and immersing myself in some very wonderfully creative and informative websites. Here are some of them as well as my loosely made plan for the coming week with Eliana concerning the St. Nicholas, Santa, Jesus dillema.
Most useful to me, because it has put it all in clearer perspective is this blog post at Bending Birches. From the first she gave me encouragement as she is also inspired to do so much and is having to choose a few. I am not alone! She also provided a link to a most amazing resource: The St. Nicholas Center.
I am really liking the online book titled: And Now We Call Him Santa Claus It is cute. It leaves out the part of him becoming an orphan. We like that as we feel that death is to much for such a tiny person to think on. It is a short and sweet tale that talks about giving and Faith. A great starting point for this year.
I am going to read the story of St. Nicholas and The Shining Orange, letting E hold an orange during the story and then asking if she want to place it on the nature table. There are also other stories listed there that I am exploring and the page is geared towards Waldorf.
I am also considering making other props out of some of the symbols on this page (and also this one)and spending brief moments telling a tale about them and their meaning to us. Like a Santa doll, a sock and stocking, and possibly even a sack of gold coins (chocolates).
So, the stories of real life St. Nicholas I feel become the answer to not letting the truth of Jesus become shadowed by the great mythical toy giving elf. Aha! Suddenly I am thinking with more clarity.
I am thinking of a little gift from St Nicholas on the 6th and talking about giving like he did and why. Then a small gift from Santa and the rest we gift as an example of what God gave us in Jesus, on the 25th. So that the focus is not on a toy store at bottom of tree. I am even thinking I have gone overboard already and should save some items for her birthday in February...
I am also looking for a giving activity that will have meaning for Eliana, not just to the people less fortunate we are gifting to.
I am also wondering what you, my readers, do you do about this? Do your kids think he is real or do they always know he is pretend? Do you set out a small Santa gift and the other items are from you? Or is it all from Santa? How do you tie in Jesus' birth? Do you limit gifts to a set number or monetary amount?
Any suggestions for a meaningful giving activity for a 2.10 year old?