St. Nicholas was born in the third century in a part of Greece that’s now Turkey. His life was devoted to helping the sick and the needy, especially children, and he became the bishop of the city of Myra, which no longer exists. His ongoing work as Santa Claus, the jolly man in red who delivers gifts to all the beloved children of the world in just one night, is assisted by Cedric Speyer who is a Clinical Supervisor of E-Counselling for a major Employee & Family Assistance Program and a consultant for therapeutic letters. Speyer lives in Toronto.
To all those who have emailed, texted, and tweeted me, thank you for writing to me and believing in me. Children of all ages still believe in me, and I think I know why. It’s because, when they think of me, they think of someone who loves children and wants them to be happy.
When people say they believe in me, I think they are also saying that they believe there’s goodness in the world, and the smallest good deed can be the biggest gift. So thank you for all your messages. Some of them are very sad, but even then I can still hear your hidden hopes for happiness, and how bringing a smile to your face can be worth more than anything. At this time of year, I hear from many children around the world with many, many wishes. But there’s really only one wish — for people to be happy, beginning with yourself.
That brings us to how to be happy. As I read through your letters, I feel my own heart gets bigger. I already have a pretty big heart but when I see your “wish lists,” I want to reach out and give each of you a big Santa hug. You have been through so much this year. I’ll tell you a secret. You may hear me saying “Ho, ho, ho” all the time, but I know that people have lots of problems. I also know a lot about children. It makes me happy to see the sparkling eyes of children who know love and safety in their homes, but, sadly, not every child comes from a happy home.
Some of you would give anything just to have a parent look at you and smile; to be proud of you and not act sad, mad or mean, calling you bad names as if it’s all your fault. Others have parents who aren’t there, or who are sick in some way. It can be really hard to watch someone we love not getting better. I also hear from kids who want to be so skinny that they disappear; kids who plead with me to make our schools and streets safer, and protect them from bullies; kids who come from other parts of the world and are trying so hard to be accepted here, in their new country. Many kids write to me who want to know what’s wrong with the world and what’s the point of living when people are so mean and cruel to each other.
I hear about a lot of things that hurt my heart. So I want to remind you of the most important Christmas gift there is — you! You don’t have to wait for Christmas day to open this gift and when you do, remember what Santa is saying. The magic in our hearts is too big to be held back. I can’t be everywhere at once and that’s why I need you. Maybe we can try something together. Every day we can remember to tell at least one person something we like about them. And don’t forget yourself! Stand in front of the nearest mirror and say to yourself out loud: “I love you (say your first name), I really do, and no matter what happens I am here for you!” Don’t think about how weird it sounds or looks. As you get older, those words will come to mean more and more to you. Santa knows what he’s talking about when it comes to Love.
I will keep working hard up here in my North Pole studio to make our world a safe and loving home for all of us and I know you will too. At the same time, I won’t forget to have fun because when it comes to that, children are our best teachers! Thank you for your good wishes on behalf of my staff. It helps my elves to know you care about the stress they are going through at this time of year. I admit that come December I get all wrapped up in preparing gifts for everyone and dealing with the restless reindeer. I can even forget to tell Mrs. Claus how great she is (she’s so patient with me). Yet there’s one gift that matters most, more than all the presents you could ever receive. You are that special gift for those around you.
Please remember that. Whenever you open your heart to others, I’ll know you’ll be helping me deliver the gift only you can bring!