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This holiday season, approach Christmas in a whole new way

You’ve been wading through Christmas decorations in stores since Labor Day. By now, every jingle, flyer and advertisement you see is working to plant a single thought in your head – spend money mindlessly at Christmas to indulge the expectations of others, buying your way to a happy holiday.

You’ve said it for years: “This year I’m going to approach Christmas differently. This year I’m going to lift the birth of Jesus and smother the glitter.”

But because of the pressures of a commercialized tradition, you’ve never done it. Let’s do it this year!

Some Christian families wish to omit Santa Claus from Christmas because they fear they are not being truthful to their children (“Santa lives in the North Pole with eight reindeer”), are providing wrong motivation for expected behavior (“Santa only visits good children”), and encouraging greediness (“What is Santa going to bring you for Christmas?”).

Because there is no way to completely shield your child from Santa Claus, what is a parent to do?

First, don’t count down the days until Santa comes or mention Santa every time you discuss Christmas. Count the number of days until Jesus’s birthday instead. An inexpensive calendar can help you do this. Or make one as a family project.

Second, tell your children the true legend of Saint Nicholas instead of rehashing Santa’s reindeer and the North Pole. Saint Nicholas was a real person with admirable C