Back before we had kids, we used to debate what we’d tell them about Santa. And as my first child approached an age where beliefs began to form, everyone asked us, “Are you doing the Santa thing?” And we’ve never said things like, “Santa’s watching” or “Santa will be coming next week.” But as a house that allows TV, it’s inescapable. Every single kids’ show is all about Santa this time of year, so my 4-year-old has latched onto it. I don’t mind–I still believe in Santa too;-)

But I did want to make sure she understood what Christmas really is. So last week as we played around the tree on morning I told Xoe the Christmas story, off the cuff. I’ve never tried to tell it before in preschooler terms (though we’ve read plenty of toddler books on it) and putting it in my own words so that she would understand was a lot of fun. Sure, some things had to change. Like Jesus was born in a barn instead of a stable–barn she knows. Stable, not so much. And we certainly didn’t get into the whole virgin thing, lol.

As always, when telling my preschooler anything, I’m never sure what will stick and what will float right out her ear. But I knew she’d gotten the point that night when we drove to my mom’s. Actually, it happened two nights in a row.

As we took the final turn onto their road, Xoe looked out the window and saw one of the first stars to show in the night. “Look, Mommy!” she said with the exuberance only a kid can muster. “It’s the star, just like in your story! It’s for baby Jesus!”

My husband and I just exchanged a look as we agreed. A look that said, “Yep–she took a good thing from the story this time.”

Obviously, she’s still excited about Santa. But we also told her the story of St. Nicholas, who gave gifts on Christmas to point the children back to Christ. And I’ve been really impressed by her Christmas spirit. Sure, she wants to open presents (a lot, lol). But she also wants to have a gift for everyone from her. You oughta see the adorable little car she made Rowyn out of paper and tape. =)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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