I have so many Niko stories to tell you, but today something else has been on my mind.

I’m sure you’ve already read or seen the story about the man who dressed up as Santa to go see a dying boy.. If not – get a tissue and read this.

For a couple of days I had been composing in my head a witty piece about why I’m not taking my kids to see Santa Claus – because I don’t get it… Is it just for the picture? The kids should know that Santa’s magic is powerful enough that they don’t actually have to personally tell him what they want for Christmas – it’s supposed to magically appear in his big book (who still hasn’t seen Elf?). And I’m also working hard on trying to get my kids to appreciate other people’s time (like mine when I clean something up for the hundredth time that day), and if Santa is genuinely working hard on managing the elves and caring for the deer and overseeing that each child gets their present, and training for the big day – how could he possibly have the time to go sit at our local mall and take pictures with all the kids? Come on people!  That is what I was going to expand upon, and then yesterday a big pink firetruck drove down our street just to see Niko. And then a Santa Claus (with his misses!) got out of the pink police car that came right after – to give Niko and Luka presents!!! And I thought – well, I couldn’t possibly write what I’ve been thinking after this! And this story today… Reminded me of something else about Santas.

It’s not about the suit, and it’s not about the beard or the pictures… It’s about loving all children unconditionally. *Nerd alert* In case you didn’t know – many many years ago, when people used coal for heating, cooking, etc – there were people that sold this coal. And they would set up places where they burned wood to make the coal – multiple places out far from towns – to make sure there was no risk of setting the town on fire. And then they’d be gone most of the time – out there, by themselves, going from one fire to another – checking on everything. And while they were out there, by themselves, waiting for these fires, they would often make little toys for the children of the town – out of wood. So – when it was cold – the children got little magical present from the forest! And then you have St. Nicholas who would sometimes leave little coins for people in their shoes, if they left them out at night. The Dutch have a very interesting and … let’s be honest, rather racist by today’s standards, tradition of Sinterklaas which kind of blends these two together and also is the foundation for the American Santa Claus tradition (minus the servant).

Therefore, there can be and there are multiple Santas in this world – they’re the nice people that make our kids believe in magic. The eldely man at Starbucks that buys your kid a muffin, or the nurse that sneaks him extra stickers to try and cheer him up, or the man that works in hospital dining that, on his break, comes and brings your child a bag full of cookies and cheese sticks because that’s what he’s been interested in eating that day… There’s no reward bigger than a child’s joy, and you know these people don’t have any ulterior motives. They just genuinely care for all children, and their heart especially aches for the kids that need it most.

And you know what, there’s no reason you can’t be a Santa too! And it doesn’t have to stop around Christmas either!

I’m still not going to take my kids in to see the mall Santa though. You know why? Because to that man – those kids in line are all the same. But to a true Santa – each child is a unique and special gift that he or she appreciates because of the light the child brings into their life, if only for a brief moment. And so many of you have been this Santa for our Nicholas. I’ll never stop thanking you!

P.S. Awesome big brother took his little brother to his 24 month check up today. This is the first time they actually, legitimately, held hands! Or rather – the first time Luka let him hold his hand!

P.P.S. The story of the coal burners is from this book, in the chapter on Carbon. This was definitely one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read!

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