Is Santa Claus really real? My oldest daughter started doubting the validity of a real Santa Claus when she was about nine years old. Then she found some of our wrapping paper from the previous year that was designated for Santa’s gifts and she put it all together. It was time to have the talk about Santa Claus.
I remembered an article I had read about explaining the Spirit of Santa Claus to your children and really loved the concept. According to NPR and many other accounts, St. Nicholas (Saint Nick, Santa Claus, Kris Kringle) was a real man. In fact, he was a bishop in the 3rd century in Turkey and is known for leaving surprise gifts for families in need. Then, later in the 12th century, nuns in France left gifts on children’s doorsteps with notes that said they were from St. Nicholas.
So, the Spirit of Santa Claus is real, I told my daughter. The act of giving — from a place of generosity — with no interest in receiving gifts back is what Santa is all about. It’s a secret because we don’t want younger children to miss out on the spirit of Christmas, and we get to experience the special mystery of gift-giving. My daughter loved this idea and enjoyed being responsible for keeping the mystery and magic of Santa Claus alive for the younger children. She even asked to help wrap presents or hide gifts so she could be part of the spirit of Santa Claus.
Sadly all children come to the age when they doubt Santa Claus’ existence, which takes away a lot of the fun of the Christmas season. But being part of the Christmas spirit is fun, and the story of St. Nicholas is a great story to share with your older children!