I know Halloween hasn't arrived yet, but there are lots of people already thinking about Christmas. (I've been designing our holiday card at work.) But while doing random other things, I ran across the "Advent" calendar shown here. It's quite lovely, but really knocked me for a loop when I saw advertised as an Advent calendar. My very first thought was "what the heck does Santa have to do with Advent?" I've been pondering this for some time now, long enough that I totally forgot where I got this picture. (Sorry, whomever's it is!) So I went searching. And discovered that the concept of an Advent calendar has been been obliterated by Santa.
When I was a kid, my mom was quite adamant about not lying to us about Santa. And let's face. That's exactly what you're doing - lying. There is no Santa, so why tell your kids that there is? Next, they might wonder if you're telling the truth about God being real too. After all, they seem to share a lot of the traits.
But I get the connection between Santa and Christmas, at least how it started. I understand why Santa is a key holiday figure for most people and that not everyone shares 1) my conviction that you shouldn't lie to your kids or 2) a desire to keep Christmas solely about Christ's birth. That's fine, to each his own. (And for the record, I really wanted to believe in Santa when I was a kid.)
Still, I think there's a line we can all agree should be drawn between Santa and Advent. Advent is about counting down the days until we celebrate Christ's birth, complete with special devotions and remembrances. It's not about counting how many days until Santa arrives and I can load up on presents I don't need. That would be a regular Christmas countdown calendar.
Please, if you're counting down to Christmas as just another fun holiday, don't call it an Advent calendar. And if you're celebrating Advent, leave Santa out of it.