When I was growing up, Christmas was all about Santa Claus. I still remember the year I discovered Santa wasn’t real. I was in 3rd grade, and I’d heard unbelievable rumors from bigger kids at school. Christmas morning before the crack of dawn, I raced with my brothers to the Christmas tree and saw the doll I’d found hidden in Mom’s closet the week before. The gift tag on the doll said: “From Santa.” I was horrified. The big kids at school were right.
When I had children of my own, I chose not to go the Santa route, but gifts remain a central focus of the Christmas season. Many of us expend more energy buying, wrapping, and giving gifts than we do on any other activity in December. [Read more…]