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Do You Believe in Santa?


Do you believe in Santa? 

Growing up, we always visited Santa's workshop at the local Pepsi Plant. It was located right down the road from us, just a couple of blocks. It was so much fun to visit Santa, to get great pictures, to see the Elves, and even have a cookie or too! Of course, Santa always appeared in parades, at the Mall, and other holiday excursions as well. 

I don't really remember when I stopped "believing" that Santa was real. My mom tried to keep the Santa gift-giving game going for many many years. For years, presents would show up under the tree from "Santa" but it was clearly mom's hand-writing. She tried to keep the magic going as long as she could- probably until we moved out of the house. 

As an adult, I learned that the myth of Santa is actually centered around a real man: Saint Nicholas of Myra. He lived sometime between 270 and 373 AD. He was a Greek Christian Bishop that lived and worked what is now modern day Turkey. St. Nicholas is known for feeding the poor, giving gifts to children, and even probably denied some of the heresies about Jesus at the time. He is well-known for generosity and kindness, not something that many folks had at the time- especially to the poor and down-trodden. 

The lore and tradition of Santa Claus actually comes from St. Nick! The most popular story attributed to him relays that he helped the 3 daughters of a poor man. Destined to be sold into slavery, because they had no dowries for anyone to marry them,  gold coins came in through the window and were left in the stockings/ shoes left by the fire to dry. Over the years, the tradition has morphed to gold chocolate coins, stockings, and other gifts under the tree!

In many countries, December 06 is the day that St. Nicholas visits- schools, homes, and communities. Gift-giving is popular on this day and is typically different than the gifts received at Christmas!

Maybe this year, you can morph tradition with reality and introduce the real St. Nicholas to your house. Perhaps purchase gifts for an Angel tree or family in need. Purchase a bag of food together and donate it to your local pantry. There are so many ways to be like St. Nicholas and show kindness to others. 

Maybe along the way, you will begin to believe in Santa again! 

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