(Photo from the blog Attitude of Gratitude)
Lately you may have heard some adults or some of your friends saying that Santa Claus is not real, and I'm here to tell you that's bunk (that means "nonsense").
Saint Nicolas - as real a person as you and I - lived in what is now Turkey hundreds and hundreds of years ago (the Dutch people later called him SinterKlaas... sound familiar?). He was a good man - a great man - and he was known especially for giving presents and helping people (especially poor people). He lived such a good life that the Church declared him a "saint", which is just a way of saying that we know for sure that he still lives, now, in heaven.
So, Saint Nicolas - Santa Claus - is a real guy and he is really still alive in heaven.
Does he still give gifts? Well, yes, but not in exactly the way you might think. One gift that he gives is his prayers for all those who ask him, and being a saint his prayers mean a lot. Being in heaven, he sees and knows God in a special way that we can't on Earth. Day and night he is in God's company. You can talk to Saint Nicolas and he can hear you and he does care about you.
Also because of his legendary love of giving, he keeps inspiring people - even those who don't really believe in him - to think of one another and give gifts and surprises to one another. So at Christmas, when you get a nice present or some special treat, it really is like Saint Nicolas had a hand in it. If it weren't for him, people might not have ever started giving presents at Christmas, so every Christmas present - in a way - does come from him (between you and me, though, I'd much rather have the prayers than the presents. You may not feel that way right now, but you might when you're older).
Most important, because of Saint Nicolas, we especially remember the poor this time of year. St. Nicolas loved Jesus, and wanted to be like him. Jesus loved the poor, and so Saint Nicolas treated the poor with special care. We should always find a way to help the poor at Christmas. They could use our help the rest of the year, too.
Of course, Saint Nicolas would mostly want everyone to remember that Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, which was the biggest miracle ever. God - who created the universe - became a little baby, born in a cave among the farm animals... and that's no legend or myth.
Now, some of the Santa story - popping down chimneys and flying reindeer and that kind of thing - were just fun stories and tales that people made up about Saint Nicolas. Some of these stories were old myths and legends that got mixed up with the real Saint Nicolas later... but everyone knows - and always did know - that they're not real and are just for fun, so there is no harm in still telling these stories. People have always liked to pretend and tell stories, so there's nothing wrong with looking for Santa's boot print in the ashes around the fireplace, or sitting up in bed because you think you might have heard sleigh bells.