Santa Was Real and It Wasn't Christmas Time
Did you know Santa Claus was a real person? Ignore the images that come to mind of the red suit and reindeers, and instead imagine a man called Nicolas in the village of Demre (in modern day Turkey).
He had grown up in an orphanage, and now later in life in the 3rd Century he had become a rich man. When he heard of a family that was struggling so badly that they were considering selling their daughter (into marriage lol), he was shook remembering what it felt like to be that desperate, and how important family is (which he never had).
The story goes that Nic snuck in to the family house while they were sleeping, and snuck some gold in to one of the families socks that was drying over the fire place on the mantel. The family awoke the next morning to find this random act of kindness, so did not need their daughter’s dowry.
He continued giving and would sneak on to some roofs and drop coins down the chimneys. The whole village had been talking about who was this anonymous giver that was being so generous? One day Nic was finally caught on a roof mid-act, and it made Nicolas a legend, and later gave him a wee sainthood as Saint Nicholas (which later became “Sinter Klass” in Dutch, which English speakers changed to “Santa”).
The story of these impressive anonymous donations sparked a new movement of anonymous giving, as that community and those centuries later kept privately giving to one another to those in need.
Remember, none of this giving by him or those inspired by it was because of “Christmas” (rather the Christmas tradition has later adopted gift giving in inspiration of this story).
Every year at about this time, Crushes pops our head up to challenge the traditional idea of gift giving and to consider an intentional way of approaching this season (like giving up the novelty gift, or ideas on being zero waste with gift wrapping, or to spend time and not money, etc). But this story about the real Santa makes us look at gift giving a little differently. That after such a hard year that really has negatively effected so many in our greater community throughout Aotearoa, being generous and thoughtful (to both those we love and those we know who need it) is a really lovely practise that we can choose to meaningfully engage in.
So we’re asking this December, please bring a can of un-perishable food in to Crushes for us to donate on your behalf to Auckland City Mission. We want to generate as much giving as possible, so we will give some spot prizes to those who give! And if you can’t make it in to bring a can, why not use this as an opportunity to think about who you know/what organisations that might need some support, and what you’re capable of giving.
Meri kirihimete to you all. May it always be mindful and intentional!