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I love Christmas.  Trimming the tree with ornaments collected over a lifetime of memory-making, each one telling a story.  Mom always made homemade fudge to eat while hanging ornaments.  Stockings hung over the fireplace, bubble lights boiling happily in their little plastic tubes, and a chill in the air.

Growing up in Northeastern Ohio, we had snow, so much glorious snow that made our cheeks glow red and our noses sting.  Here in Georgia, we ride around on golf carts to look at the decorated houses, but sometimes we feel slightly chilly.  Slightly.

I blare the Rat Pack and try to ignore the creepy undertone of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”  Dude, no means no.  Let the girl go home.

As my kids have gotten a little bit older, there’s one aspect of Christmas that is starting to drive me a wee bit crazy.  Santa.  I think I hate that guy.  

I work hard, HARD, all November to select the perfect gifts that are both socially conscious and destined to blow my kids’ freaking brains out with how cool they are.  I labor to find the perfect balance of “something to wear, something to read, something you want, something you need” (I first heard this from Tom Davis.  I’m not sure if he made this up, but it’s awesome.).

As you know, gift giving is not easy.  It’s a labor of love, and love my people I do, I do so much.

Call it the diva in me, but on Christmas morning when my kids rush downstairs to see what happened and attribute all my efforts to the red-suited chimney diver, I feel resentful.  I feel like killing Santa.

I mean, I know he’s great, and I love Imagination and Wonder and Make Believe.  I’m all for it.  Sheesh, I’m a theatre major writer girl.  I love making stuff up.  Big fan of the fiction.  But how dare Santa juke my gift-giving cred?!?  Not.  Cool.

Last year, I don’t really know what happened, but I just kind of, um, phased him out.  My kids never really brought him up, and I never really brought him up, and I just sort of left everything unlabeled.

As Elliott was opening his Big Gift, he turned to me and asked, “Who is this from?”  I asked him, “Who do you think it’s from?”  He hesitated, looked at the gift, looked at us, and said, “Daddy?”  I said, “Yep.  You got it.  Merry Christmas.”

I don’t know what’s going to go down here this Christmas, but until they bring it up, I’m keeping Santa on the down-low.  I want the credit.

I started wondering about all these Christmas traditions that we celebrate, and why we celebrate them.  Why do we hang socks over the fireplace mantel?  Why do we call the faux gift giver Santa Claus?  What’s with bringing a tree inside?  I grew up never questioning any of it, and all of a sudden I questioned all of it.  I know Christmas is about Jesus, but how does all this other stuff point to Him?

And then Phil Vischer (the Veggie Tales creator) spoke at Allume last year.  He caught my attention because he started out by doing all the voices.  I love Veggie Tales.  I mean, I love Veggie Tales so much that for my lingerie shower before my wedding, I received a whole ton of satin and lace, a waffle iron, and Veggie Tales tapes.  (Yes, VCR tapes.  I’m old.)

So when I heard Larry the Cucumber, I perked up.  Phil Vischer has a new company, Jelly Telly, and they gave all of us a free copy of Why Do We Call It Christmas?  He’s created a whole new set of delightfully goofy characters, and I couldn’t wait to watch it with my kids when I got home.

We popped it in immediately, and loved it.  I mean, how could you not love a thespian popsicle stick and Sunday School Lady, with her magic flannelgraph?  And the puppet stage manager, with her headset, always looking flustered.

The kids and I loved it, and it also answered a lot of my questions about Christmas.  I still phased out Santa cuz he was cramping my style, but at least I understood where he came from and resolved most of my resentment, and we also learned about stockings, trees, and all the other “why do we do that?” holiday traditions.

We own the whole Old Testament DVD set from Jelly Telly, and we’ve started collecting the New Testament.  These DVDs use quirky, hilarious songs and vignettes to explain how the whole Bible fits together.

Sometimes when I’m cooking and the kids are watching, I do a double take when I hear them say things like “pentateuch” and “cycle of apostasy.”  Using puppets.  It’s only a matter of time before my kids are smarter than I am.

So, for Black Friday, What’s in the Bible is offering 20% off on orders over $30, plus free shipping.  Clearly, I need a little more Bible, since I’ve contemplated killing Santa and I’m pretty sure that would break a commandment.

I’d love to hear what you guys do with Santa.  Do you go all out and really play him up?  Do you ever feel resentment over him getting all the credit (or is that just me?!?!)?  Do you skip Santa and stick with Jesus?  All opinions are welcome and appreciated.  I just want us to hear from each other.


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