Christmas is just shy of two weeks away, and on Facebook and Pinterest friends are discussing whether they "do" Santa and voicing their opinions on those crazy Elves on the Shelves.

I don't begrudge anyone a right to their opinion, but I do have to admit that as a child....well, actually until I got married and no longer woke up on Christmas morning in my mom's house, Santa stuffed our stockings and left us presents (unwrapped and all assembled) under the tree. He always ate a few bites of the cookies and drank some of the milk. Even long after we knew the truth, we still giggled at night and waited anxiously for morning to come so we could run in to see what the fat man left.

My sister, my brothers and I all accepted Christ at young ages (between 6-8 for all of us). Maybe we're all extraordinarily gifted, but we never once misunderstood the gospel message or thought that our mother was lying to us just because she played up the idea of Santa Claus to us.

My parents and grandparents lied about plenty while raising us ("don't make that face; it'll get stuck that way", "kids who drink coffee don't grow" or "coffee will put hair on your chest" (obviously I had an issue with coffee even then)....and yet it didn't alter my perception of what real truth is. Sometimes it's really ok for a child to learn truth as they grow up on their own. I believed I'd catch a cold if I went outside with wet hair until I was in college microbiology. And that's ok.

When Paul and I started out our parenting career, we discussed the whole thing and I was feeling led to focus only on the birth of Jesus and not "do" Santa.

That lasted one year. Paul and I both missed the traditions we grew up with and didn't want our kids to miss out on the fun.

Don't get me kids know all about St. Nicholas and the origins of "Santa Claus". We totally celebrate the birth of Christ and we celebrate the Advent and read the Biblical account (we just read Mary's Magnificat last night)....and yet we somehow have successfully combined that with the tradition of Santa and reindeer and cookies & milk.

We even have an Elf on the Shelf. We've had him since 2006.

This is Little Dave:

Last night he pulled nursery duty.

The kids thought it was a hoot.

Lest you think my kids are a bunch of imbeciles, my 6th grader is finishing his first semester at Holy Crosswith all A's. Griffin is knocking out all A's in 3rd, and Annie is the only kindergartner in her school that is reading through the Little House on the Prairie series like other 6 year olds are reading Green Eggs and Ham.

What I'm saying is that my kids are smart kids who know the truth of Jesus and what His birth meant, and continues to mean, to all humankind. My kids actually have a much better grasp on what Christmas really means than either Paul or I did at their ages.

So amidst the lists pleading for new electronics and Legos and Barbies, my kids will bake a birthday cake and have a party on Christmas Eve for Jesus. We will write down our gifts to Him for the next year and place them in His stocking....and we will take out what we wrote last year and talk about how we did or didn't do and what we can do to help each other in the next year. We will read Luke's account of Jesus' birth and we will join hands and pray.

And then the kids will say goodbye to Dave for another year and we will dose them up with Melatonin persuade them to go to bed until morning. We'll stay up late getting everything together and ready and put them under the tree.

And when all is said and done, I have a feeling that my kids will have memories of our family traditions and be okay with it all.

Merry Christmas.

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