Monday, December 06, 2004

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

That song was stuck in our heads all day yesterday, for some reason. It didn't help that the pastor happened to mention it in his sermon, while criticizing the practice of letting Santa eclipse the celebration of Christ.

The line, "He sees you when you're sleeping/He knows when you're awake/He knows if you've been bad or good/So be good for goodness' sake!" tends to come under especially heavy criticism, since it appears to ascribe divine powers to Santa Claus. DOB pointed out, however, that it could just as well work on the Santa Claus is Daddy theory, since Daddy does come in and check on you when you're sleeping, he does know when you're awake, and he does know if you've been bad or good, all without the help of any supernatural powers (unless you count Mommy as having supernatural powers, which many children suspect).

Personally I never had a problem with Santa Claus one way or the other. He was always a very tertiary person in our Christmas celebrations; someone to joke and tease about, and someone whose name was on certain packages so that we wouldn't have to write thank you notes for them, even though their true origin was obvious from the wrapping paper. It probably helped that I had much older siblings and that I understood imaginary things. Santa Claus was like Alice in Wonderland; you knew, of course, that Alice didn't really fall down the rabbit hole. But you didn't have to go around proclaiming loudly that Alice was just pretend; that would spoil the fun. Whether literally-minded children would distinguish so easily I don't know. I hope none of my children are too literally minded, or we are going to have some real conflicts.

Anyway, we were discussing what kind of tree topper we want some day, since we have yet to find the perfect one.

QOC: "I want to find a star for it someday, of course."

DOB: "Naturally."

QOC: "I don't like angel tree toppers, and of course we don't want a Santa Claus."

DOB: "There's nothing wrong with Santa Claus."

QOC: "No, but he doesn't belong at the pinnacle of the tree."

DOB: "True. Perhaps we could get a little plastic Santa to float in the tree stand to indicate his proper place."


the Joneses said...

As a child, I viewed Christmas trees with only stars at the top as very unChristian. _Proper_ Christian Christmas trees all had angels at the top.

Which is probably why, in our house, we have stars hanging from doorways, but an angel will once again take his place at the top of our tree (when we set it up). --DJ

Anonymous said...

Funny, that's always been my impression too: Stars are the heathen alternative for people who don't believe in angels. But honestly, how is the Star of Bethlehem less godly or Christmassy than an angel?


Queen of Carrots said...

We always had a star on top of our tree. And I always thought it symbolized the star of Bethlehem and thus was quite a Christian symbol.

On the other hand, I've never seen an angel topper that I liked the looks of. I don't like sissy Victorian angels.

the Joneses said...

That's true. I'd love to get a good figure of a masculine, sword-bearing (St. Michael) or lily-bearing (St. Gabriel) angel for the top of the tree, but I've never found anything close. Protestants and Orthodox won't make them (due to Second Commandment issues), and the Catholic ones tend to be too mushy (in my opinion). --DJ

the Joneses said...

We never really had tree-toppers. When the tree is over twelve feet high every year (twenty feet one year), what's on top is rather immaterial. -- SJ

Queen of Carrots said...

Our tree is only seven and a half feet this year, but as it scrapes the ceiling, the topper is immaterial for us this year as well. Which is good because the tree is so big it uses up all the ribbon, so I have none left over to make the bow I have been using as a stand-in topper until we find a real one.

And I'm highly envious of your childhood Christmas trees. We only had nine-foot ceilings, or we certainly would have lobbied for greater monstrosities.

Kevin & Amy said...

Well, we JUST found a tree topper we like. It's a star, even though both Kevin and I grew up with angles. I think Kevin would still like to see an angel tree-topper on our tree but, until we can find one, we have a little silver star. :)

And, I think your perspective on Santa is good. He's not "real" - and definitely shouldn't be a focal point of Christmas - but it's fun to be playful with it. :)