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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Musings

It's hard to find good Christmas picture books. There is a glut of Santa books. A few are okay, but Santa makes up about 5% of our Christmas activities but takes up about 95% of the media exposure kids receive for Christmas. I'm not going to deprive my child of classics like Rudolf and Santa Claus is Coming to Town but I still want to try and find some facets of the holiday that aren't wearing a big red suit.

To me Christmas is three fold and you can't really divorce/amputate anyone part of it. There's the spiritual side, the Nativity story, the least flashy but most essential part of Christmas. Then there is tradition; if I had to pick a symbol for this it would be the tree. Why? Well the tree does have religious symbolism built in if you dig back far enough (so do the eggs at Easter and the clovers at St Patrick's day) but they are more about tradition and beauty in practice. Tradition is about family coming together. It's about making memories that kids will cherish. Santa seeps in here and religion is pervasive if you take the time to make it be. You only have to scratch the surface on most holiday traditions (from candy canes to the songs to gift giving) to find something that circles back to the nativity. Traditions are the best part, in my opinion, because after all, Jesus is with us year round. He's not (or shouldn't be) boxed into Christmas and Easter. We can have Jesus whenever we want Him. How often do we have an excuse to over decorate our homes, over indulge or sweet tooth, and over (if possible) expose ourselves to family?

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