Santa Claus: The Almost 100% True Story
The origin story for Santa Claus, and how he came to spread kindness throughout the land.
A long time ago, in a place not a million miles from here, there lived a man. There was something very, very special about this man.
This man was very rich. But that’s not what made him special. Since the world began – well, almost – there have been lots of very rich men.
But the man that we’re talking about was also very, very kind. And that is what is special.
Very, very, very special.
The very rich and very, very kind man loved nothing more than to give presents, in secret, to the people around him. It made him happy. Very, very happy. But, one day, he heard a story that made him sad.
Very, very sad.
A long time ago, in a place not a million miles from here, there weren’t the same opportunities for girls that there were for boys. Some might say that not much has changed. But that’s a story for another day. And, anyway, it wasn’t this that made the very rich and very, very kind man sad. Not just that, anyway. It was this.
One of his neighbours – a very old and very poor man – had three daughters. A long time ago, in a place not a million miles from here, no matter how poor a family might be, they were expected to pay for their daughters’ weddings. But this man couldn’t afford to pay for one daughter’s wedding, never mind three. And he was proud. Very, very proud. So, although his three daughters had all found husbands-to-be who loved them and wanted them to follow their dreams and didn’t care a jot about money, the entire family was stuck.
And it was that that made the very rich and very, very kind man sad. Because life is far too precious to waste a single day of it being stuck. And so the very rich and very, very kind man came up with a plan.
On the first night, the very rich and very, very kind…
Do you know what? Let’s call him Nicholas.
On the first night, Nicholas dropped a bag of gold down the chimney of the very, very old and very poor…
Do you know what? Let’s call him Ned.
On the first night, Nicholas dropped a bag of gold down Ned’s chimney. The bag of gold fell into a stocking that Ned’s eldest daughter had hung beside the fire to dry. In the bag was just enough gold to pay for her wedding. And so, she got married that very day. A long time ago, in a place not a million miles from here, people weren’t really into lengthy engagements.
On the second night, Nicholas dropped another bag of gold down Ned’s chimney. This time, the bag of gold fell into a stocking that Ned’s middle daughter had hung beside the fire to dry. In the bag was just enough gold to pay for her wedding. And so, she got married that very day.
On the third night, Ned wondered if the family’s secret benefactor would return. He thought the very least he could do was say, “Thank you!” So, he sat in a chair beside the fire and waited. But after two days of wedding celebrations, Ned was feeling tired. Very, very tired. And his eyes were beginning to close when he heard a noise on the roof. Ned dashed outside and spotted Nicholas dropping a third bag of gold down his chimney. No prizes for guessing that, this time, the bag contained just enough gold to pay for a wedding for Ned’s youngest daughter.
“You’ve brought such happiness to my family!” Ned shouted up, “How can I ever repay you? Bearing in mind that I’m very, very old and very p…”
“Yep, I get it,” replied Nicholas. “But there are lots of things that you can share with other people. Presents are lovely. But a kind word is, too. A loving hug, a genuine smile, a helping hand. And it’s sharing gifts like these that make our world a better – and happier – place.”
Nicholas spent the rest of his life being very, very kind. So much so that, when his life was over, he was made a Saint. Saint Nicholas. Or Santa Claus as he is now more commonly known.
Of course, all of this happened a long time ago. A very, very long time ago. But you never know. Christmas is a magical time of year. And maybe, just maybe, if you hang up a stocking on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus will find a way to leave a special little something, just for you!
But remember: you don’t need to wait until Christmastime to be very, very kind yourself!
© Isla McGuckin 2021
Illustrations by Rawpixel, with thanks.
1. Why do you think being kind feels so good for the person who is being kind?
2. Do you think it also feels good to receive kindness? Why?
3. What are some ways you can think of, to spread joy and kindness amongst people at Christmas?