Christmas can keep its meaning as we grow

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 24, 2011

For many parents, Christmas comes as the first real reminder that their children are growing up. As the innocence of childhood gives way to questions regarding whether or not Santa is a real person, parents come to the realization that their children will not remain small and innocent forever.

While it is impossible to stop the passage of time, one way parents can ensure their children will always maintain some of the Christmas spirit they had as children is to instill in them a sense of Christmas being about more than opening presents.

Perhaps the most famous piece ever written on the subject appeared in the Sun of New York in 1897. It reads in part:

“Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.”

While the passage of time and the growth that goes along with it are inevitable, teaching one’s children that the true spirit of Christmas resides in one’s actions and not under a Christmas tree is one way to ensure the spirit of Santa will always live in their hearts.

So this Christmas, as you and your family head to various Christmas gathering, take a little time out to do something special for those who have no parties to attend. The feelings of goodwill will make Christmas memories that might far outlast the excitement of unwrapping gifts Christmas morning.