The History and Value of Christmas

Christmas is considered the favorite time of year for almost all children, and with good reason. The joy of seeing family and friends over the holidays, the giving of gifts, the parties and events and a visit from Santa Claus are reasons to celebrate; the combination is nothing short of incredible. Surprisingly, many of the stories surrounding Santa Claus are either misinterpreted or unknown. Where did Santa Claus originate? What caused him to give gifts and who were the original recipients? The staff at Lake Forrest Preparatory School would like to give you a quick history on everyone’s favorite jolly old elf.

Saint Nicholas was a generous man who secretly gifted poor citizens in his area. As the legend is told, a poor man with three daughters needed money for his daughters’ dowries, so they would marry happily. His distress was known throughout the town, and one gentleman decided to take action. One night he silently climbed to the roof of the poor man’s cottage and dropped a small sack of gold coins down the chimney. The girls had hung their stockings on the fireplace after washing them, and one of the drying socks happened to catch the coin bag as it descended from the chimney. The father was overwhelmed, and the daughter was quickly married to her delight. In succession, Nicholas dropped money down the chimney for the remaining two daughters. His third attempt was his downfall; the man caught Nicholas and thanked him profusely. Nicholas begged the man not to give away his identity as he enjoyed the surprise of bestowing gifts on the sick, poor and needy townspeople. Good news travels fast, though, and soon the townspeople claimed surreptitious acts of kindness on Nicholas.
The overwhelming compassion Nicholas showered upon his neighbors led to his being selected for sainthood. His selection was not due to strictly religious acts, instead his renowned acts of generosity and kindness led to his sainthood. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “It’s in giving that we receive,” Nicholas trained his life around this thought. St. Nicholas’ deeds mirror many of the values taught at Lake Forrest Preparatory School: caring, respect for others, fairness in all deeds and community responsibility. Society remembers St. Nicholas – whose name has been Anglicized to Santa Claus – with generous gifts and laughter. How does your family emulate St. Nicholas as you give during the holiday season? Share your responses with our followers and read how others celebrate, and browse our blogs for more information on child care and education.

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