From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas children: Naughty, nice or not applicable?

Tiny Tim (Public Domain)
What modern-day Christian parent doesn't in some way equate Christmas with children?

Nevertheless, it wasn't always that way.  In fact, during many historical periods, Christmas would not have even merited a PG rating. tells us that during the Middle Ages, Christmas was "celebrated raucously in a drunken carnival-like atmosphere similar to today's Mardi Gras."  How then did it morph into a child-centered, family-friendly holiday?

In a word (or two):  literary invention…

Authors like Charles Dickens and Washington Irving had a profound effect upon the way that Christmas was perceived. 
During a time of great "class conflict and turmoil," Dickens "created the classic holiday tale, A Christmas Carol."  This
story popularized a message of "charity and good will towards all humankind" (emphasizing the Tiny Tims of the world).  Before that, Irving had written "a series of stories about the celebration of Christmas in an English manor house."  Within these stories, upper and lower classes "mingled effortlessly," which gave the impression that Christmas of yore had been one big happy family-type occasion.

Americans "began to embrace Christmas as the perfect family holiday" - with only one catch.  If children were nice, then plenty of goodies would come their way.  But if they were naughty - look out!  Santa would not be nearly as generous with those mini-meanies. 

Or would he?

Whereas warnings like these served as child-restraining techniques for decades, a recent Walmart survey (now that sounds objective) shows that adults are no longer as willing to collude with Santa as they once were.  Not surprisingly, this survey indicates that "nearly 80% of parents say their kids will get the same number of  toys [wonder where from] for Christmas, even if they get on Santa's 'naughty' list…"   


Copyright December 19, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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