Our younger students are very excited about this time of year, and I’ve already heard several of them mention that “Santa Claus is coming”.  That always makes me smile.  I recognize this can be a sticky topic and each family has their own way of addressing it.  At some point most parents in this country are asked whether Santa Claus is real, and it can be tough to know what to say.

I don’t want to pretend that I have the answer, but if you are looking for ideas, I’m willing to share with you how I handled the question with my kids.

When I was asked so many years ago, if Santa Claus is real, I told my kids that he certainly is; of course, there can be a fine line between what is real and what is true.

Indeed, there is compelling evidence that who we now call (especially in this country), Santa Claus, was inspired by a real person known for his kind and generous spirit.  I think my kids struggled with the notion that a fat man with a beard in a red suit squeezed himself down our chimney to leave them gifts under an ornamented tree.  I know I did, and I think most kids are clever and sophisticated these days.  But it gave immense joy to see their excitement and pleasure every Christmas morning as they tore into those gifts left by this mystery man, as it did my parents when I was young.

Kids may not understand that Santa Claus is more than a man who lived a long time ago in place far away. Santa Claus has come to represent the idea of generosity without the need for credit or recognition. It’s all well and good to exchange gifts, but the spirit of Santa Claus is to give something without ever expecting something in return. That’s the magic! And it is real, so I hope you share something of it with your family this year. Have fun; enjoy.