Re: Santa dilema
I bought my kids a book about the story of St. Nicolas and explained that Santa Claus is based off of him. I'm trying to find ways that our family can "be Santa" for other people in need and giving service. My kids still get surprised by their gifts, they but they know that mom and dad bring them. We also don't do the elf of the shelf. I just feel really funny telling my kids they are supposed to be good because Santa is watching and if they aren't, they won't get presents. I mean, there are legitimate reasons for making good choices that I'd rather emphasize.
Also, while Santa is fun and we sing the songs and watch the movies, I feel like the more attention we give Santa, the less we focus on the birth of Christ. Santa is good and fun and all, but I'd rather focus on something better.