Questions About Christmas: Santa, Elf on a Shelf, and Jesus
An open letter with questions about Christmas–specifically, Santa, Elf on a Shelf, and Jesus:
Dear Current Generations,
I asked you earlier for some clarification about “Christmas music.” Thanks for reading that — really, my generation wants to know about what Christmas really means. I have many more questions about Christmas, though. I know this season is hectic (some things are obvious), and you probably are very busy, but do you mind taking a few more questions about Christmas so that I can understand it a little better? I’ll keep my questions brief since I have so many.
Questions About Christmas: Santa
Where was Santa born?
Is there just one Santa? Seems like a lot of imposters should be in jail. Are they in cahoots with one another?
If there is only one Santa, what happens when he dies? Does his son take over? What happens if one of them doesn’t have a son?
What is the lifespan of a reindeer? Seems like Santa’s are getting pretty old.
Why do adults suddenly start talking like three-year-olds when talking to kids about Santa?
I’ll stop there, though I could really keep going. I will say that there seems something awfully fishy about this whole Santa business.
Questions About Christmas: Elf on a Shelf
This one has me baffled. I’ll just fire away and see what you have to say.
I hear your generation lamenting the loss of your freedoms but you seem to welcome and celebrate the espionage of an elf? One who seems to have questionable ulterior motives? (Okay, I’ll admit those are more statements than questions, but I really need some help with this one.)
What is Elf on a Shelf teaching our generation?
Doesn’t Elf remind you of Chucky? I even saw a photo of Elf and Chucky in cahoots to dice up a snowman into what looked like tiny marshmallows….
If the purpose of keeping a watch on kids to report back to Santa is true, why is it that I have never heard of a single kid getting punished at Christmas? Not one. And my generation is more connected than any before it; we would know. And I know some of the things kids I know have done, even right before Christmas. Either these elves aren’t very good at that job or….
I have heard some of you adults (yes, we may be small but the functionality of our ears appears to be more advanced than yours) saying that Elf on the Shelf is just for fun. Well, you sure have fooled us with all the threats about being good. Geez! (Sorry, another statement. It’s the confusion talking.)
Again, I could keep going, but you get the point. From the stories you tell, you didn’t seem to have as many questions about Christmas when you were kids. Just saying.
Questions About Christmas: Jesus
I see bumper stickers and pins and even some Christmas lights (boy, there’s another category altogether) while we’re out Christmas shopping (boy, there’s another category altogether). They say “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Cue the questions:
- If Jesus was born so long ago, why do people still celebrate his birthday? Or is his birthday just how the whole Christmas thing got started, and now it’s about all these other things?
- A Charlie Brown Christmas says that Jesus was born as Savior, Christ, and Lord. What do those mean?
- If Jesus is timeless like Santa, do they know one another?
- A lot of you seem to go to church at Christmas. Don’t they have church the rest of the year, too? Why?
- Is Jesus just for fun? ‘Cause he doesn’t seem to do the fun things that Santa and Elf on a Shelf do. Just sayin’.
- If the rumors are true—and I haven’t really landed on a conclusion here—and Santa and Elf on a Shelf are just a magnificent ruse, what are we supposed to believe about Jesus?
There are certainly more questions we could ask about Jesus, probably more than in the other categories. If he’s real, he doesn’t seem to be getting the credit he deserves; after all, it’s his birthday, right? Sorry, that was another question; I said I would be brief. But can you see why we have so many questions about Christmas?
Questions About Christmas: A Summary
My generation has a whole lot more questions about Christmas for you, but—believe it or not—we don’t ask every single one of them. We don’t want to mess up the groove of getting out of school for two weeks and getting presents and all that stuff by going too far with you. (We might be little, but we’re not stupid!)
Some of our questions—well, we’re waiting and watching you. To be perfectly honest with you, you’re not doing such a good job with Christmas. Sure, it’s fun and even magical and all, but we sure are confused. What does Christmas really mean?
Maybe you’ll sit down with us this Christmas and explain to us what is real and what is just for fun, at least at an age-appropriate level. We might be a whole lot more ready to hear the truth than you can imagine.Respectfully yours, The Next Generation P.S.: Don’t forget, you have given us iPods and tablets and phones with access to the internet. It’s not like we couldn’t find the answers to our questions about Christmas. If we can’t, we have friends who could. But we would really like to hear from you. We trust you. We’re waiting…
About Al Ainsworth
Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell. Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales), Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and Coach Dave: Season One. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.