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Longing for St. Nick?

German and Austrian groups have been protesting the commercialization of Christmas. DW-WORLD readers offered their opinions on Santa pushing out St. Nicholas and spirituality vs. shopping during the holiday season.

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Still Germany's traditional gift-giver but losing ground to Santa

The following comments reflect a cross-section of the views of our readers. If you would like to have your say on this or another issue, please click on our feedback button below. Not all reader comments will be automatically published. DW-WORLD reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

I am a first grade teacher. One of the children asked in front of his friends if Santa was real. I said that Santa is a helper for the real St. Nicholas, who lived his life helping the poor. I believe we must promote the real person who lived and did good deeds. -- Denis

December 25 was a pagan holiday which the Catholic church took over and renamed Christmas. St. Nicholas has nothing to do with Christmas except by adoption. To be consistent, Christians need to also throw out Christmas trees, wreaths, mistletoe, holly, yule logs, caroling, wassailing (singing for ale) and other "pagan" customs and move Christmas to June/July which was more likely when Christ was born. -- Joseph Leonard

Trust me there are just as many Americans tired of Christmas in September as Germans. We have a national holiday (Thanksgiving) on the fourth Thursday of November and boy does the gun go off for the frenzy then! Like I said, the shops start with a little bit in September and it builds from there. What I have learned to do is ignore it as much as I can and keep my Christmas small and warm I hope. Separate the frenzy from my family and life. Whoever gets the most doesn't win. All that stuff doesn't fill the spot that going to church and giving to who needs it the most will. Like most of humanity I think we need a season to remind us of greater things than ourselves and Christmas seems as good a reason to give as we have. And I guess we should remember that people need a winter fun time too after all those long dark days are coming. So maybe we can look at some of it with a light heart but remember to separate the winter holiday from CHRISTmas...and its' promise of peace. -- Bette, USA

I believe some of our German brothers and sisters have got it right. We must focus ourselves more on Christ and the less fortunate and do something about it. It's time that parents stop teaching kids about Santa. They should be taught more about Christ and how they should be trying to do and be good everyday for Christ's sake, not during Christmas only. P.S. Christmas is not just for Christians it's for all mankind. It's all about love. -- Sorel Noden, Ontario, Canada

I don't equate any difference between Santa and St. Nicholas. To me they're one in the same. I must admit St. Nicholas has put on a little weight though, from when he first started out. Let's just be thankful he is not 800 lbs or bigger with chunks of chocolate and cake in his beard, you know, he could really let himself go to the dogs. Imagine coming into all that power and freedom that is associated with being the gift bearer on Christmas Eve! The ability to have at your finger tips whatever you want whenever you want, unlimited funds to make or buy what ever you need for Christmas! It's now wonder St. Nicholas put on a little weight, heck, he even has elves working for him, doing his every whim. -- Nicholas Neighbors, USA

I hope this is the beginning of a worldwide trend. Christmas is ruined by the pressure to spend. Santa means well but children are hurt when they receive a doll or truck for Christmas and their friend gets a week at Disneyworld for the entire family! I have come to dread the whole season. Let's take back Christmas! -- Chris

I believe that the world has taken out or forgotten the real reason for celebrating Christmas. I know in Canada we have changed "Christmas Concerts" in school to "Winter Concerts." I think it is really sad. I think this anti-Santa campaign is awesome. Less shopping and commercialization of Christmas is a great plan, probably very hard though. -- Becky Gurr, British Columbia, Canada

Please bring St. Nicholas back into Christmas and put the commercialized Santa back where he belongs on the scrap heap. With St. Nicholas dolls dressed as a bishop, people will see and understand the importance religion plays, not only the Christmas story of our savior but understand that the gift giving we celebrate was started by the good saint himself. -- June Dennis

Please, please keep St. Nicholas. Santa entices people to spend more and more money (which some do not have and therefore use their credit cards and spent a lot more then planned.) -- Ursula


Actually, both Santa AND St. Nick have pushed the birth of Jesus out of the picture. Jesus is the real "reason for the season." Christmas is a holy day. Celebrations of Santa and St. Nick (for the most part) are secular and much lesser celebrations, or holidays. It is good to see my fellow German Catholics bringing this to the forefront. The secular world has hijacked the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas has become for a lot of us a time of high physical and financial stress, as well as rampant greed. This year, as in past years, my husband and I bought less for ourselves, our children, and our relatives, and instead, adopted two children from poor families and bought several gifts for them. We also donated to several other charities, as well as food for our local church's food pantry. Just like here in the US, Germany should not aim for less shopping. People who claim to be Christians should lean on their Christian beliefs and search their hearts for the true meaning of Christmas and redirect their shopping habits to buy more for those who are less fortunate.
So the answer to your question is: more "redirected" shopping AND more spirituality. This is the only way to experience the true meaning of Christmas which has nothing to do with either Santa or St. Nick, but rather the birth of Jesus. -- Phyllis Blanton, Kansas, USA









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