I’m German and I’m Catholic, like received my first communion and went to confirmation camp Catholic. Not that I practice Catholicism anymore, I’m not a big fan of any organized religion really, especially not one that preaches of a spiteful, vengeful God and encourages you to enter a small closet on a weekly basis and confess your sins to a man wearing a bathrobe behind a screen. No offense to those that are. Do what brings you joy I say. At least the Catholics are physically active in their worship; the kneeling, the standing, the sitting, the kneeling again. If you like doing squats dressed in your Sunday best then I say give Catholic mass a shot.
With that being said, we continue to embrace the Catholics fascination with Saints and our German heritage by still observing St. Nick’s Day. A holiday, where on December 5th you hang your stocking on the fireplace and wake up to find it filled with gifts and treats courtesy of Saint Nicholas. A miniature version of Christmas Day if you will. The other night I found myself excitedly stuffing Rinn’s stocking knowing of the joy he would experience in the morning. I think most parents would agree with me that being a child on Christmas morning is quite magical but to be the one behind that magic is something extraordinary. Obviously it’s our job as parents to prepare our children for the cruelties of the real world by guiding and coaching them through the challenges and difficulties that life often presents but it’s also our job to promote their imagination, encourage hope and maintain their sense of innocence for as long as humanly possible because we all know that paying bills and getting your oil changed is not all that it’s cracked up to be.
With that said, I also find the notion of being St. Nick, Santa Clause or even the Easter Bunny to be bittersweet but before you light your torches, grab your pitchforks and storm my cave while chanting “GRINCH! SCROOGE! Where’d you park your broom?” let me explain.
First, in all my selfish glory I find it rather difficult to indulge all of my son’s wants and wonderment by buying, wrapping and hiding all of the things on his wish list only to let some fat man in pajamas take all of the credit for my hard work and thoughtfulness. Parenting is hard damn it, and you want me to surrender a victory as major as finding a Captain America costume and shield months after Halloween? Fine. I can let that go and chalk one up in the spirit of giving column. After all, it’s important to find satisfaction in doing good for the sake of good itself not simply for the accolades we might receive in return. Moral high road, next exit.
More importantly however I struggle with allowing Santa to spoil Rinn because I know that not every child’s “Santa” is capable of doing so. How do you explain a situation where Santa gives your child a $300 ride on John Deere Tractor (guilty) while other children receive nothing at all? This seems much too big of a task for the naughty vs. nice list. Santa Claus is supposed to represent the spirit of giving, of believing, of joy and kindness for all children, not just those of a certain socioeconomic class. Moral high road, continue on route.
Santa still visits our home (I told you I’m not out to steal Christmas) but rather than cause my righteousness conscious unnecessary angst, he’s scaled back his budget in recent years and Rinn is encouraged to send him a wish list that reflects this. Not that he needs encouraging, his wants this year are an electric toothbrush, new pajamas and that Captain America costume I growled about earlier. A 5-year-old who understands that one must balance make believe with proper dental hygiene? I sometimes question whether he’s actually mine but then he will utter “what in the hell” from the backseat after someone cuts us off on our way to basketball practice and I no longer have to wonder.
So Santa can go ahead and take credit for my ability to shop on Amazon and find a baller black Friday deal on a kids electric toothbrush. I’ll take credit for encouraging Rinn’s imagination by letting him dress up as his favorite singer for our stellar Christmas card.
We hope you don't have a "Blue Christmas"
and best wishes in the New Year!
Love, Rebecca & Rinn