In this five-part podcast, family life counselor Diane Moore shares helpful tips for families to survive the holidays.


Thanksgiving is past and Christmas is just a few weeks away. How do you feel about all the work that goes into preparing the food for that special Christmas dinner? Diane Moore has some insights about food and Christmas on today’s Parent Talk tips.

Diane Moore: One of the things that I hear from parents a lot is this: What do I do with Santa Claus?

Moore has come to appreciate the real story of Santa Claus.

And you know, it’s personal, people do different things. I’ve never harshly rebuked people. But I’ll tell you what I’ve come to appreciate about the topic of Santa Claus is the real story, the true story of Saint Nicholas. There’s a lot to be found in that little story.

We as Christians can say, “Well, he is bad, we don’t like him because he’s stolen the stage from what’s most important.” But I think there is great value in taking something that is a cultural icon and using it to teach your kids. I think there is a lot to be taught to children with the story of Santa Claus, since they are going to see him anyway. Might as well, every time they see him, use that as a teaching lesson.

St. Nicholas was a young boy in Turkey, probably. And he was an orphan. He had lost both his mom and his dad, and they were very wealthy. So he was left with a lot of money, but he didn’t have parents, and he was raised by priests. And he grew up and wanted to be a priest. That meant that he would have to take the vow of poverty.

So, he had all this money, but, he took the vow of proverty. So what did he do with this money?

He decided he would be a gift giver, that he would help rescue people who needed money, like a father whose daughters could never marry, or that they become slaves because of how the cultural structure was set up. So he could give this family money and rescue those daughters from slavery.

Well, that was complicated, because you just give people money and it affects their dignity. So the legend goes, that he would put money through a window, and it would fall into the stocks that they hung to dry or maybe down a chimney. That’s where we get the oranges in our stockings that represent the gold that St. Nicolas put down the chimney.

I don’t know what all is true but you tell your kids this is part of a legend. There’s some truth to it – we don’t know how much, but think about all that’s entailed in that story. It’s gift giving, it’s how we give gifts. We have to be careful – the things you can teach from the stories are powerful.

I say use it.


Diane Moore is a certified family life counselor and parent mentor with a private practice in Vancouver. Her radio talk show Parent Talk is heard in Portland, Vancouver and Boise.

Audio captured and edited by Ed Stortro