BY NIKI JOHNSON | December 13, 2016

niki-baby-jesus…then it’s good enough for my kids.

Well before procreating, my husband and I had discussions about how to curb the consumer Christmas mentality within our family once children came along. In 2009 we had our first daughter. As the holidays approached, I wondered aloud to a friend how we’d handle the “Santa thing” and how we’d limit the materialism of the season. Sharon – an ever-thoughtful, amazing woman and mother of two young boys at the time – told me that she and her husband simply talked about Santa being as real as, say, Winnie-the-Pooh, and that their boys received three gifts – just like Baby Jesus.

So this Christmas – as has happened every year in our house since 2009 – our children will receive three gifts from Santa, with an ad nauseam reminder that the reason Santa brings three gifts is because Baby Jesus received three gifts. (For the reader who may be thinking that our children are the Most Deprived Kids Who Ever Lived, fear not: they receive a couple of gifts from Mommy and Daddy, and plenty from grandparents and extended family members.)

It may not be perfect, but so far, at least, it has kept Santa from overshadowing Baby Jesus too much on Christmas morning.

Niki Johnson

Nicole (Niki) Johnson is associate professor of religious studies and interdisciplinary studies at the University of Mount Union, where she also coordinates the Peacebuilding & Social Justice Program and serves as co-director of the Honors Program. Niki and her bff Glenn have three kids: two bio-daughters (Georgia, 7 and Cecilia, 5) and an adopted son (Noah, 2).

Current hobbies include trying to finish a sentence, fighting whine with wine, and trying not to become the Girl Scout Troop 60527 “Cookie Mom.”

Special skills involve translating 2yo-speak for a wider public and affording endless patience in explaining to a 5yo that no, those aren’t nuts in the lasagna, sweetie, just ground turkey.

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