The True Story of Santa: Keep the Magic Aliveby Elizabeth MacDonald
I believe in honesty. I believe in childhood magic. I also believe in Santa. Our home is full of children, but years ago, when there was only one small blonde head toddling around, we were unsure of how to approach the whole ‘Santa Lie.’ It is so magical to believe, but it is so heartbreaking to learn that you have been lied to for years…
That was when I started doing what I do best: researching. By putting pieces of old stories, legends, and beliefs together, we not only changed the way we would talk about Santa Claus in our home, but we became true believers.
Intrigued? I thought you might be. We talk about Santa in our home in an open and honest way.
We allow our children to then believe what they want, and we fully support their decision – even if it changes each year! Last year, my children chose to believe in a tangible, cookie-eating, sled-driving man in a red suit, so we rolled with it (and had a blast), but never lied about anything. The most important thing to remember here is that there is more to this than what you want as a parent; your child has the ability to decide what she believes. Your greatest joy will come with supporting her and living her excitement.
The (True) Story We Tell
Santa Claus is a man known by many names around the world: Kris Kringle, Sinterklaas, Noel Baba, Popo Gigio, and St. Nicholas. Many children have heard different things about this magical person, but we want you to know just how special Santa Claus is…
There once was a boy name Nicholas, and his family had lots and lots of money. He was raised to understand how important it is to give to others. When his parents died, he inherited quite a bit of money. He used this money to do for others (the sick, the needy, and the poor) and became known as St. Nicholas. He dedicated his life to fulfilling these charities. Some families celebrate St. Nicholas on December 6th every year.
(You can elaborate on this if you would like - http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/)
Hundreds of years later, there was a man named Kris Kringle. He led a simple, humble life, and had no children or family of his own. He always watched in awe of the families who lived around him. The town would always gather together to celebrate the birth of a very important man – one who played the role in giving us all life here. It was bitterly cold, and a hard time to provide much more than food for the children of the town.
Inspired by the stories of St. Nicholas, Kris Kringle took it upon himself to bring happiness and joy to the season celebrating love. He left small wrapped packages on the doorsteps of homes where children slept. When the sun rose on the 25th of December, families stepped outside to find their souls awakened, their beliefs enlightened, and a spirit of Christmas born. Not one person in town knew who delivered these blessings, but over the years, it was understood that Kris Kringle, who never admitted his involvement, was behind the magic. This task granted him life, long passed many others, but when he died, his charitable acts continued on.
Parents, who could afford, took over surprising children with Christmas gifts. They also recognized when a neighbor could not afford to do so, and they took it upon themselves to provide for others. Some gifts were handed out on the eve of Christmas, but most were placed under a live tree and discovered in the house on Christmas morning.
Over the centuries, this celebration has lived on, and you will someday pass it down to your children! When we believe in this story, it gives us hope for the good in the world. We want to help others and become better than we already are. You can believe that a bearded, red suited Santa hand delivers your gifts if you choose, and I will believe right along with you. But the truth is that as long as you believe in the Christmas magic, Santa’s spirit will continue on. So let your imagination go wild, but don’t be afraid to ask questions. I will never lie to you, and I will always believe with you.
Common Questions My Children Have Asked
Is the mall Santa real?
He is not the actual Santa. He believes in keeping the spirit alive, just like we do! He helps relay the wishes of children to those who can grant those wishes. You may think of him as a real life elf of Santa’s – or just a helper. He is a very important part of the season and allows us the chance create memories and spread holiday cheer!
Does the elf really tell if I’m doing something wrong?
NO. Everyone makes mistakes, and the important thing is that you learn from them to become better. I don’t want you trying to be good just so get gifts. Our elf is a Kindness Elf who reminds us to spread love and cheer as we help others. You can touch her and move her throughout the house as long as it is all in the spirit of Christmas. (My children know that we move the elf, and she plays hide and seek. Each day the kids look for her and then decide on an act of kindness for the day.)
If Santa doesn’t really fly around the world, then why are there reindeer in the backyard?
(Of course, at this moment, there are three huge male deer with full antler racks standing in our yard.)
For this, I have only one answer: You are right. If you want to believe, then I will believe right along with you.