Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Stuff I Love: Veggie Tales: St. Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving
Christmas time is a season of great excitement in our household (if you can't tell by the expression on my boys in their Christmas sweaters). But at this particular stage in their lives, Christmas is also a season of confusion. We are struggling hard this year with finding a balance between the spiritual and the cultural sides of Christmas. We want the kids to be able to revel in a little of the material side of the holiday (Santa, presents, treats) while still teaching them plenty about the true meaning of the season (baby Jesus, generosity and togetherness).
Our kids have never believed in Santa, perse. We've always said such things as "he's a fun character, why don't we read more books about him?" or "there's another man in a Santa costume, would you like to talk to him?" Meanwhile we try to pepper their days with scripture (during our Advent reading each night) and talk about Jesus (while we put up the nativity). But somehow, we've never been able to make a smooth transition between the two concepts.
Then one night, while we were visiting Grandma, we happened upon the Veggie Tales video St. Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving. My kids are big Veggie Tales fans and they were glued to this film. It's a little bit history and a little bit silliness, but they (and we) seemed to take away from it a new understanding of how one family can celebrate both Santa and the love of Christ without an ounce of hypocrisy.
As you'll see from the numerous reviews, this Veggie Tales version isn't terribly accurate from a historical perspective. But it's a great tool for opening the door to further research into and discussions about the real person of St. Nicholas. And, by blending some culturally relevant Christmas symbols with the religiously significant story of giving both of wealth and compassion, this film allows children to see typical holiday themes in a whole new light. Suddenly stockings and presents and even the Jolly 'Ol Elf himself become a representation of generosity instead of greed.
Now, when our kids ask questions about the origin of Santa we no longer feel that we have to choose between lying or crushing their imaginations. We can tell them "well, let's think about what we learned in that Veggie Tales film - can you tell us what's significant about St. Nick?" And they do!
So if you've been struggling with a similar household dilema, or even if you're just big fans of Bob and Larry and those great silly songs, you should definitely check out St. Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving.