Happy St. Nicholas Day!
Some may not agree, but even before I had kids I knew I wasn't going to tell my kids that Santa Claus was a real person. I love magic as much as anyone else, maybe more! but there is something strange that happens with Santa in our commercialized culture where it goes from being a fun and magical thing to a frenzied obsession with presents and inevitable set up for disappointment that makes it all unnecessarily stressful. Sloane knows about Santa and she thinks of him like she does all the different characters in storybooks or tv shows - she thinks it's wonderful and fun. We love stories with Santa but my main objective is to avoid making Christmas all about Santa and his presents. It's a fun part of Christmas, just like putting up the tree, making gingerbread houses and cookies; but I don't want her thinking it's Santa that gives her all the things. She knows what it is to pretend and imagine and she loves doing so, without expectation and with a child like wonder. There is plenty of magic that we embrace everywhere else, all throughout the year, I don't think my kids are missing out.
Along with Santa, I also told her about St. Nicholas. Last year, I found that in my attempt to explain Santa Claus, it made most sense to start with St. Nicholas, and that evolved into getting together with friends and their kids to learn about him and include this in the celebration of the season. St. Nicholas was a 4th century Christian saint who is known for his legendary habit of secret gift-giving (he's the original Santa!), and now for the second year in a row, we celebrated his day by gathering with friends to exchange books, eat cookies, and then discover clementines and peppermints in our shoes when we leave.
Sloane remembered this event from last year and was very excited about it all. She said afterwards that her favorite part was the reading of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". It was so sweet watching her uncover peppermints and clementines in her boots!
The attire for this event was pajamas and we enthusiastically embraced the dress code. Sloane and I have matching winter pajamas from last year and when we both put them on and looked at each other, we were overcome by a giddiness that we expressed by prancing around the room and shouting with glee. Sloane insisted we match our coat and boots as well and I was happy to oblige. You can see our outfits here, and Ken and Logan's attire here.
I forgot the big camera so these are from my phone and mostly grainy, but you get the idea.