A Santa Shift
Alternatives has had a long reputation of being anti-Santa, for a variety of reasons, but mostly because Santa’s become a commercial hawker that distracts from the real meaning of Christmas as Jesus’ birth.
A college professor came on the board about 10 years ago who felt we should lay off Santa. Just let him be. Don’t be against. Be pro-active. People want to be part of something positive, not negative.
If you were to look at Alternatives’ resources across our 40 years, you would see a movement from a clearly anti-Santa attitude to one of ignoring him. Instead, we confronted consumerism as a concept and offered alternatives.
Explaining Santa to My Granddaughter
The other day I was talking to my exceptionally bright three-year-old granddaughter about celebrating. The conversation moved from Halloween to Christmas. I asked her what she thought of Christmas. She said, “Santa and presents!” She’s a regular church goer. She’s heard of Jesus.
I thought, “Teachable moment!” And continued, “Remember your birthday party? How much fun it was? The people who were there?”
“Yes,” she answered.
“Well, Christmas is Jesus’ birthday party. And you get to go. So does mom and dad, and grandma.”
“And GeeGee too,” she added, thinking of her great grandmother.
“Santa gets to come to Jesus’ birthday party, too,” I continued. “And he’s one guest, just like you and me. Daddy and mommy are just as important as Santa.
“And Jesus is the guest of honor, like you were at your party. He’s the most important one, much more important than Santa.”
“OK, grandpa. Can I go play now?”
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An Alternatives’ Legacy Resource
Ideal for personal or small group use.
Let Jesus Come, Let Santa Go – Celebrating an Alternate Christmas
Audio workshop presented by Milo Thornberry and Harriette Grissom
Resource LINKS appear below each of the six half-hour session.
1. Guidelines for Gift Giving (33:17) – Milo Thornberry
2. Santa & Saint Nicholas (28:20) – Milo Thornberry
3. What Can You Do in Your Parish? (25:10) – Milo Thornberry
- Christmas Packs (1-15)
- Unplug the Christmas Machine Workshop Leader’s Guide (also AUDIO)
- VIDEO: Celebration Revolution of Alexander Scrooge | Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
4. Let Advent be Advent (27:30) – Milo Thornberry
5. What Else You Can Do with Your Family (26:55) – Harriette Grissom
6. Alternate Christmas Activities for the Wider Community (30:06) – Harriette Grissom
- Reaching Out to Others: A Christmas Packet for Parishes
- How to Organize an Alternative Community Christmas Festival
- Planning an Alternative Christmas Workshop
- Christmas Alternatives Giving Card – PDF GivingCards
- Reaching Out Through the Media
- Many More Alternative Christmas Articles – Investigate a few that might meet your personal, family or congregational/group needs. They’re all FREE.
Sing Justice! Do Justice! – Advent & Christmas selections
Other TEXT & ART Resources (no accompanying audio/visual)
Advent/Christmas Calendars | Christmas Anthologies to read alone or aloud | Christmas Campaign Kit | Spirit of Simplicity: Quotes & Art: Celebrating Advent/Christmas | Worship Alternatives: Advent/Christmas | Seasonal/Thematic Index: Advent/Christmas/Epiphany
You can access all SLW! podcast audio and the show notes either at SimpleLiving.startlogic.com/SLW-PODCAST or at SimpleLivingWorks.org (then click window #3). LISTEN through your computer, iPod, iPad, iPhone (or equivalent). SUBSCRIBE through iTunes, Stitcher.com or your favorite podcast service.
Access individual episodes: #1-3: Getting Acquainted | #4-5: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle | #6-11: Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? (Many of Alternatives’ audio shorts are part of this series.)
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Peace, Gerald “Jerry” Iversen, Chief SLW! Activist