© 2006 Publications International, Ltd.

Santa Claus is a beloved and influential figure in the lives of many children -- and their parents, who first explain who Santa is and then, in a few years' time, have to answer the question, "Is there really a Santa?" In the meantime, those same parents have played the role of Santa behind the scenes. It's quite a responsibility.

Here we've assembled five wonderful stories about Santa Claus, spanning more than a century. Together they capture the essence of the beloved Saint Nick, and, along the way, they suggest many insightful ways of viewing -- and explaining -- this important figure.

Here are snapshots of the Santa Claus stories we've included in this article:

  • "The True Story of Santa Claus"This is the fascinating story of how a kind and virtuous boy, Nicholas, came to be immortalized as Saint Nicholas, our Santa Claus. His story gives depth to the role Santa plays in history and culture, and in the hearts and imaginations of those who believe in him (or simply in his spirit).
  • "Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus"Perhaps one of the most difficult questions a parent can answer is whether there is indeed a Saint Nick. And parents have been answering it forever, as this column from The New York Sun, written more than 100 years ago, proves. Francis P. Church's approach is quaint by modern standards, but his points still resonate.
  • "Will Santa Claus Come for Christmas Dinner?"This moving story shows how deeply children wish for a Santa and how the spirit of Santa can exist in anyone who chooses to carry it. It's the story of a man who finds he can't play Santa after suffering a tragedy -- until he's drawn back into his jolly role by the request of a boy.
  • "Reindeer Hooves"Children don't just believe in Santa. They believe in everything Santa, including his reindeer and the noise they make on the rooftop as they go about their important Christmas Eve tasks. This is the story of a child who's sure he's heard reindeer on the roof -- whether anyone else believes him or not.
  • "The Truth About Santa"This is a more modern take on "Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus." We know that there comes a time when children have to learn that there is no Santa Claus. The parent in this story hits on a clever and very meaningful way of explaining things to her son. It has to do with keeping the spirit of Christmas alive in yourself.
  • "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"Remember, Santa Claus is always watching to find out who’s been naughty or nice. Read this Santa Claus story to find out how two little mischievous boys redeem themselves -- just in time for Christmas.
  • "The Tiny Elf"In the final story in our collection of Santa Claus Stories, find out how a tiny elf with something to prove finally reaches the top -- but not without a few bumps and bruises along the way. "The Tiny Elf" is proof that that you can do anything if you try hard enough.