Whether or not you celebrate Santa in your house, once your children are old enough to wonder, they will probably have questions about him.
My children asked plenty. “Was he a real person? How did he get to be Santa Claus? Why does everyone talk about him?”
If you’re not sure of the answers, The Real Santa Claus by Marianna Mayer is a great book to read with your children.
Mayer includes the famous poem A Visit From St. Nicholas, more popularly known as The Night Before Christmas, at the beginning of the book, helping readers understand that this poem is really the basis of the popular modern image of Father Christmas.
The rest of the book is a biography of the real St. Nicholas, who lived in Asia Minor about 300 A.D. She tells of the legends about him which grew over the centuries he lived, and about how he used his wealth to bless others during his lifetime.
Mayer also tells of “wondrous miracles” which occurred in Nicholas’ name after his death, about his place in church history and his symbols. She gives her personal journey to discover the real Santa Claus in a short afterward.
This book is full of information, beautifully illustrated, and contains a lot of words on each page. I highly recommend it – and suggest reading it over the course of several days instead of trying to read the whole book in one sitting, especially for younger listeners.