Once upon a time there was a man with a very big beard. He was a very jolly man. One day in his older years he thought it an idea to wear only red and white at Christmas time. And with it came a very big black belt.
As time had passed, his beard had grown and as he got older it turned white and fluffy. He thought it a good idea to grow his beard long and bushy, and as he did his moustache grew too.
Children in his village said ‘hello’ to him as he passed them by in town. Sometimes he would even stop and chat with them, especially during holidays. He brought a smile to their faces and good cheer to their homes and families.
The village was cold during the holiday period, and so he felt the need to wear a big, warm, woolly jacket, with matching trousers, of course, for fashion was important to him as warmth. He soon began to wear his woolly jacket everywhere he went. He even bought one for his wife. One Christmas she bought him big black boots, just to finish off his fashion ensemble.
‘Wear these when you go out,’ she said, giving him a big kiss on his cheek. ‘It makes perfect sense and will keep you from cold.’ ‘Thank you Mother,’ he said to his wife, for that is what he called her. He kissed her, and as he did his wife was tickled by his bushy, snowy beard. His new boots fitted perfectly, and as he walked through the village spreading Christmas cheer, he did so safe in the knowledge he would always be warm and cosy, inside and out.
The jolly old man kept a reindeer in his back yard. He lived at the North Pole and rode the reindeer through town. His back was mildly arthritic and his feet didn’t carry him as far as they used to.
Soon, the reindeer was as well-known as the jolly old man and people would cry out; ‘Hello, Rudolph,’ as he rode through Town Square.
Due to the cold weather, Rudolph developed a red nose and the villagers started referring to him as ‘Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer.’ It became a sign of affection in the village, and Rudolph seemed to like it, as he tilted his head to the left or right and accepted with warmth the strokes the young villagers would give him.
After more cold winters the jolly old man decided to share his good cheer with the villagers by climbing roof-tops on Christmas Eve. How he got up there nobody knew, as they never saw him climbing and they never saw him come back down, but word around town was that he climbed down the chimneys of the cottages in the village and left presents for the villagers to open on Christmas Day.
He gained a reputation throughout the village as a kind of Robin Hood with a difference, for he gave to all, whether rich or poor. Only those who had behaved poorly in the village would miss out on his kind-heartedness.
Some heard he gave only to children and that may well have been so to start, but as time went by it became clear he gave to their parents too, because he would leave them a note with the present he left – a card at Christmas, with an inscription wishing them a ‘Merry Christmas.’ Some of the well-behaved children’s parents would leave something for him in return, like eggnog or milk, with a whiff of something stronger, to say ‘thank you’ and give him the energy to keep going all through the night.
The jolly old man became a ‘father’ of sorts to the villagers and as his good cheer spread further, to neighbouring villages, the villagers from his home town started to give him a name – they would call him ‘Father Christmas.’
There was a great deal of love amongst the villagers for Mr. And Mrs. Claus, they were like the elder statesman (and woman) of the town. Yes, Father Christmas’ real name was Claus – Nicholas Claus in fact. The religious amongst the villagers thought he was a saint so they called him ‘Saint Nicholas.’
But for those who rarely went to church but still loved to take part in Christmas celebrations, they simply called him ‘Santa.’
And so began the story of Santa Claus, a story of a man whose kindness knows no bounds.