Linus vs. Santa

It’s the time of year to fight about Silent Night, Santa and — it’s 2015! — Allah.

In Johnson County, Kentucky, Linus won’t recite from the Gospel of Luke in the elementary school’s production of A Charlie Brown Christmas. Students will not sing Silent Night.

Meanwhile, San Jose parents are angry that a school canceled the kindergarten field trip to see Santa after a mother complained it “left out” kids whose families don’t celebrate Christmas.

The school had planned “a short walk to a nearby coffee shop . . . where the kids enjoy hot cocoa and sit on Santa’s lap,” reports the San Jose Mercury News. Children also were told to write a letter to Santa.

Not everyone in class celebrates Christmas, wrote “Talia,” who’s Jewish, in an e-mail.

Some parents have threatened a boycott and accused her of making “war on Christmas.” They say the majority should rule.

Charlie Brown Christmas is explicitly Christian. Charles Schultz wanted to rescue Christmas from Santa and stress its religious meaning. Therefore, it’s a poor choice for a public school play.

Parents can take their kids to visit Santa on the weekend.

At my elementary school — public and heavily Jewish — the first-grade teacher had us decorate ornaments. I put a Jewish star on mine. In the “winter sing,” we sang Silent Night in German and Spanish, but never in English. Maybe they could try that in Kentucky.

Santa’s transcript

He may be a slow learner, Santa Claus has earned mostly A’s and B’s over the centuries at North Pole University, according to a transcript released by National Student Clearinghouse.

Santa passed courses in Reindeer Behavior, Quantum Mechanics Time Travel, International Business Logistics and Behavioral Science: The Naughty vs Nice Debate to complete a bachelor’s degree in business administration and adolescent behavior.

His only C’s were in a beard-trimming elective and a course called Avoiding Grandmas and Other Pedestrians. He took a P.E. course on weight management pass/fail and managed to pass.

Have a merry Christmas — or enjoy the Chinese food.

When a classmate disses Santa

“Santa isn’t real,” a third-grader told his classmates — including Jessica Lahey’s son. What’s a mother to do?
“Well, that’s just crazy talk,” she said.

That night, he appeared in the living room in his pajamas. “Part of my brain tells me I believe in Santa, and part of my brain tells me it’s the parents,” he said.

“Santa is real because he lives in our hearts, and the magic of Christmas is still alive because Ben gets to help it live on in his little brother, Finn,” she said.

“I wish I didn’t know,” Ben said, as he went to bed. But he returned from school the next day with plans to help his little brother write a letter to Santa.

We all moved on. Well, Ben moved on. I wanted to tie his truth-telling classmate to a medieval torture device. Instead, I spoke to Peter’s mother and gave her some casual, friendly feedback that although I completely understood her family’s ideological stance on Santa Claus, for the sake of her younger children’s classmates, they might want to keep their family’s reality within their family, particularly around the holidays.

A week later, Ben walked into the kitchen with a very odd look on his face — knowledge mixed with some smugness — and declared, “Hold on. If you guys are Santa, then that means you are also the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.”

Now the little brother is 11 and putting “this ‘Tooth Fairy’ thing” in air quotes. The era of credulity is over.

My Jewish family celebrated a secular/pagan Christmas. I still use the felt-on-cardboard Santa tree-topper they got 60 years ago. (My father said a star was too religious, but Santa was OK.)

When my much younger brother was in second or third grade, our father asked: “So, David, what do you think of this Santa thing?”

“Well,” said David. “I like to go along with the gag.”

He’ll be visiting with his family — including a six-year-old daughter and almost four -year-old son — so we will be a Santa-believing household.

… the stump of a chick he held tight in his teeth …’

In a new version of Clement Clarke Moore’s 1823 Christmas poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” Santa has no pipe in his teeth or encircling wreath of smoke. Canadian independent publisher Pamela McColl disapproves of smoking.

Sanitizing children’s literature is a bad idea, writes Anita N. Voelker, an associate professor of education, in an Ed Week commentary.

. . . one of my student-teachers read The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo, to her 4th graders. As she shared the scene in which a father, cigarette in his clamped mouth, sells his daughter, she looked up to find 24 pairs of horrified eyes upon her. She paused, recognizing this was troubling. Wisely, she created time for conversation.

She assumed that the children were disturbed by the selling of a child. But, in whispered unison, the children warned their young student-teacher that the word “cigarette” is forbidden at their school. They insisted that she replace “cigarette” with “chicken.” Strikingly, a man with a chicken in his mouth made a strange substitution, but the children were surprisingly satisfied and seemingly unfazed that a child was being sold by her father … as long as he was not smoking!

Voelker asks: Why not teach children that people in the past didn’t realize the dangers of smoking?

Santa is a fake!

As an example of critical and deductive thinking, I present this 1988 video shot by my husband, John. (The mom is his first wife, Kate, who died in 2004.)  Gina is 10, Michael is 7 and Susie is 4 years old. Santa, who indeed is a fake, was hired from the Mountain View (CA) community services department.

Fat Santa

Santa Claus promotes obesity, complains Dr Nathan Grills, a professor at Monash University in Australia.  From The Telegraph:

(Grills) said the idea of a fat Father Christmas gorging on brandy and mince pies as he drove his sleigh around the world delivering presents was not the best way to promote a healthy and safe lifestyle among the young.

. . . Father Christmas could also potentially promote drunk-driving, argued Grills, referring to the tradition of leaving Santa Claus a brandy to wish him well on his travels.

At my husband’s family’s Christmas party, there was a move to draft the only new guest to play Santa for the little kids. But there weren’t enough pillows to make the costume fit 145-pound Seth, boyfriend of Susie the nutritionist. I wanted to tell the kids that Santa had acquired a personal nutritionist and taken off some weight, but this was vetoed.

Via The Corner’s Grinchwatch.