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Happy Saint Nicholas Day

I think that everyone here knows about Santa Claus. He is the big man wearing a red jacket. He has a big white beard, a red hat, and he says, “Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas!”. Maybe you have seen him somewhere, like on television or in a shopping center.

But before there was Santa Claus there was a different kind of Santa Claus. The original Santa was not Santa Claus, but it was Sinterklaas, and he is the real Santa.

Santa Claus is big and fat. Sinterklaas is tall and not fat. Santa Claus says, “Ho ho ho”. Sinterklaas does not do that. Santa is always smiling and laughing, but Sinterklaas is more serious.

Santa comes to your house and leaves a present and then goes to the next house. Sinterklaas comes to your house too. And if you are nice you get some small cookies, or a chocolate letter for your name. So, if your name is Manami, you can get a big chocolate M. That is really nice.

But if you are not good, you will have trouble with Sinterklaas. If you did something bad this year Sinterklaas will know. He has a big red book and in that book he has the names of all the children in the world. If your name is on the bad side of the book, Sinterklaas may hit you with some tree branch. If you are very bad he will take you to Spain and make you work there.

Both Santa and Sinterklaas are important cultural characters in Europe and in North America. They are symbols for kindness and generosity. This season is a season to eat and drink and enjoy your home and your family. But it is also a time to remember other people, to share with the poor, and to help other people in our society.

Christmas time is coming soon and it is an important time for many people in the world. In Canada and in Europe, Christmas is a time for family to meet and to share a good time together. Christmas is like the Japanese Oshogatsu, when people can enjoy and celebrate a family time. But Christmas, like Oshogatsu can be a hard time for people who do not have money, or who have trouble in the family. It’s important for us to think about this too.

What can we do for people who are alone at this time of year? Do you know someone, or have a friend who might be lonely at this time? What can we do to be good for them, to help them, and support them?

Santa Claus and Sinterklaas are not real people, but they both come from an original character in history, and that is Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was a real person, and he lived from the year 270 to 343 in the Greek city of Myra. There are many stories about Saint Nicholas. The stories are that he saved young girls from trouble, and saving three children who were attacked by a dangerous man. The most important thing about Saint Nicholas is that he always gave everything he could to poor people. He was known as the helper of people, and they loved him for that.

Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas, and Santa Claus are seasonal reminders for us to be kind to other humans, to be good, and to share our time and money with people who need it. These are all good things. Some things about these three men may be true, and some may be just a story. But it is a beautiful story, and a story we should keep and tell again and again.