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  • 31 May 2021

The World’s Biggest Giver; Santa Claus

The story of Santa Claus runs far back to the 4th century when Nicholas of Bari was born in the town of Myra, which is now modern-day Turkey. After his parents passed away Nicholas was raised by his uncle, the bishop of Myra.

Nicholas was a well-behaved child. His uncle has stated that one day his nephew would bring joy to everyone. Making his prophecy a reality Nicholas grew up to be an extremely kind and generous human.

As an orphan himself, he had a soft corner for children and he would often make handmade toys with them. Even though he was from a wealthy family he always had sympathy for the poor. In Nicholas’ town, there was a poor father who had three daughters and he could not support his daughters with a dowry which will result in them being sold as slaves.

Knowing this, and having the courtesy to not hurt the fathers’ pride, Nicholas secretly threw a bag of gold over their chimney which fell into their hanging stockings. The father and the daughters burst into happiness.

 The eldest daughter got married and Nicholas was caught in the attempt of helping the younger daughters and was soon known for his generosity and was called Saint Nicholas, the patron of children and sailors, for his holiness. The custom of hanging stockings comes from this story of St. Nicholas who would always give the needy what they actually needed instead of mere gifts which made him remain in the hearts of the receivers.

The legend of the powers of St. Nicholas, about his appearance amidst a sea storm and saving some sailors came to be known as how Santa Claus was pictured traveling on a flying sleigh under any weather condition to distribute gifts for little children all around the world.

From the 4th to 16th centuries Nicholas became one of the most popular Catholic Saints. His generosity and magic began to spread in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland and children began to leave their shoes outside on St. Nicholas Day so that the jolly Sinterklaas could leave them presents, and indeed there were presents the next day!

The American writer, Washington Irving heard about this Dutch story of Sinterklaas and gave an American air with the name of ‘’Santa Claus’’ which is how the story of St. Nicholas officially became a part of the American Christmas tradition. As the generous acts of Santa Claus made millions of people happy for decades, giving became a part of everyone’s lives. Children believed that if they remained well behaved all year, they would get whatever they asked for. Children began to write letters for Santa Claus asking what they desire to have, making his way of gifting more meaningful. Being a miracle himself, people all around the world still follow this act of giving because the child in them still remembers how Christmas brought them joy, how Santa made their Christmas a better one.

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