22 December 2013

Old MacDonald's Stable

I'm at a bit of a loss when it comes to explaining Christmas to The Bairn.  We started out the season by reading Christmas in the Barn, a lovely nativity story by Margaret Wise Brown that The Bairn and I both really like.  But then Santa showed up and I didn't know what to say about him.  I'm not anti-Santa, but we haven't made any decisions about our stance on Santa--whether he's just a fun Christmas figure or if we play the Santa Claus is Coming and Bringing Gifts! game.  We took The Bairn to see Santa at the local market and we took him to the Santa Claus parade and we have a stuffed Santa Claus.  The other day I heard The Bairn giving stuffed Santa Claus the sacrament.  It's one of his favorite games.  He sings a song and says a prayer and begs some bread that he can eat on the couch and, on this particular day, he involved Santa in the religious rites going down in our living room and I was a tiny bit distressed by the unholy mashup of sacred and Santa at Christmas.

My parents have a nativity set they bought in Germany 45 years ago that is perfect for children because the pieces are made of molded rubber.  I really wanted one for The Bairn, because I have such fond memories of my parents' set and because I thought it would at least give Jesus an equal presence in our home during Christmas, so I was thrilled when I found this similar set (it even has one leg broken off the manger like Mom and Dad's!) on eBay a couple of weeks ago.  It arrived yesterday and The Bairn is very taken with it.  He plays with it just the way my siblings and I played with ours.  I thought to myself, "Good.  Now we can talk about the meaning of Christmas and there will be something concrete The Bairn can associate with the story."  I showed him all the pieces and as he played I heard him murmuring about Joseph and Mary and then humming a little song and then singing right out loud, "Old MacDonald had a wiseman . . ."


Anonymous said...

Did you check to see if your mother still has nativity set? Maybe she put it on EBay. :)

Nemesis said...

Yep. I'm trying, but the only thing TDL has taken from the Nativity story is that there was a barn. With sheep and cows and camels.

Jen Powell said...

I struggled with that a bit as well, the whole santa vs. Christ business.
I'm a bad liar, especially when I don't care about the lie. So it was better for all of us for me to just tell him the truth. But I didn't want to 'ruin' the fun aspect of Santa. What ultimately worked for The Boy (and for me) is to think of Santa as the animated representation of a spirit many people feel at this time of year. Anyone can be Santa! It's fun to give and be generous! And it's fun that many people and companies and the mall and, and, and want to get in on the spirit of Santa!

Anonymous said...

I never worried to much about the Santa Claus vs the truth issue. We just let our children enjoy the giving and getting of gifts. We always taught the kids the reason for Christmas and what we were celebrating by having a special birthday cake. Steve can give you the details on that.


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