If you accept me into your heart you shall never die". This I believe in. All else is suspect.
The Santa Claus we know in the shopping malls was not invented by the Coca Cola company (red and white? Hmmmm.....) but it was certainly perfected in Atlanta.
Santa Claus is a "secular" figure, no more religious than Jay Leno. Maybe its the idea of believing in something that is not real bothers people who think you should only believe in "real" things. Like Daniel, or Nebechadnezzer, or Paris Hilton. Heck, I once laughed at a mother who was ragging on me for crucifying a smurf outside my campsite. (long story...grin). Apparently I traumatized her precious kids who believed that small blue people lived in the woods. My response would be much the same nowadays...albeit a bit more diplomatic...and that was "quit lying to your kids."
My folks did their best to raise me as a God fearing kid, and they never lied to me. There is NO tooth fairy, there is NO Santa Claus, there is NO trustworthy Republican government, there is NO safety in going home in a strange adult's car, and there is NO way we can afford that new bike! Now they didn't say that in order to further some sort of fundamentalist master plan...nah, it was just that they didn't believe in lying to their kids. Playing dressup on Halloween was fun, but hardly the grave yawning events that spawned the practice.
Ragging on Santa Claus for not being a religious figure is stupid...OF COURSE he is not a religious figure...he sells Coca Cola! Me, I think those cute little elves he has helping him are kinda neat...little Kobolds rather than true elves though. (Elves are demigods in their own right...kobolds make toys and are not immortal.)
Besides, I seem to remember that the whole thing was a way to beat the Pagans at their own game by stealing their Winter Solistice ceremony. Beat the Pagans...thats the TRUE meaning of Christmas! Oh, here's a good excuse...the birth day of our founding prophet. Good, we'll use that! Doesn't matter that its really in July...And ever since, it has been a never ending fight to "beat the pagans". Always that Charlie Brown special about the true meaning of Christmas! Always the insidious creeping of Christianity into our political and social institutions in defiance of the principle of Separation of Church and State. Always this great outcry about the "commercialization" of Christmas. Well, you think it is just Pagans who are crowding the malls today?
What a great rant!
I feel much better now.