Santa has stolen from me!

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Story File
9.5

Values

Learning to be unselfish

Main Lesson

You get more, and more genuine, satisfaction from giving something to others than from receiving it.

Setting

Somewhere in the North Pole

Characters

A martian, Santa Claus and some children.

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Santa has stolen from me!

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Un simpático cuento para aprender a regalar

Martianoto flew in on his spaceship. He was excited because he was finally allowed to visit Earth again. He had already been before, but last time he made a huge mistake: he had transformed into a guy called Albert Einstein and revealed many secrets about extraterrestrials. He was punished and did not return for years.

This time he was much more careful. He didn’t transform into anyone he knew and decided to land on the farthest side of the planet. It was a cold and white place that had just one house, and inside he could see an old and lonely man.

“I will turn myself into this old man. He can’t possibly be famous. Besides, I like his red suit, his white beard, and the enormous sack that he carries by his side. It will help me keep my things safe.”

However, as soon as arrived in the city a large group of children rushed towards him.

“I want my car!”

“Give me my doll!”

“I want my computer game!”

Martianoto was surrounded and scared. He didn’t know what was happening, it only occurred to him to take out the things he had in the sack and give them to the children, who left happy. But the line of children was so long that he quickly ran out of things to give them, so he had to run away and hide.

He couldn’t leave until it got dark. He was terrified. He didn’t know how, but it was clear that he had once again made a bad choice of who to turn himself into. Not again!

“No wonder that old man lives alone and hides himself way. He must be a really famous scoundrel! He owes everybody something!”

So Martianoto went back to the old man’s house. He spied through the window and noticed an enormous pile of toys.

“Ah, so that’s where the evil old man keeps the things that he steals from the children!” he thought.

Martianoto waited until it was dark and the old man had gone to bed before sneaking inside and taking the toys. Phew! The old man had attached name tags, and even a list of names and addresses.

“Finally, I can do something nice on this Earth. I will take each of these toys to its owner.”

Even though there were lots of children, it didn’t matter because his spaceship was super fast. Martianoto managed to return all the presents before daylight. When he finished and was getting ready to sleep in his ship, he was happy he had done the right thing…

“What a surprise the old thief is going to get...”

But the real surprise was when Martianoto woke up and the pile of toys was back in the old man's house again.

“Ah, so the thief is clever, evil and very fast. I don’t know how he has taken back all these toys in one day, but it doesn’t matter: tonight I will try and take the toys to their owners again.”

He spent the night re-delivering the gifts. But the same thing happened the next day, and the next, and many days after that. Martianoto was astonished; how could that fat old man steal so quickly?

“I know” he thought. “He must have people in the city who help him. I will go there in disguise to find out what’s going on. I’ll look for those who look suspicious, they must be his evil accomplices.”

But back in the city, everyone was happy. All those nights, Martianoto had been playing Santa Claus giving out presents from his spaceship. Every morning, children were waking up to a new toy.

“So, nobody was stealing your toys?” he asked some children.

“Of course not! Santa Claus brings them to us.”

“Santa Claus? Who’s that?”

“You don’t know who Santa Claus is? What are you, an alien? Ha, ha, ha!” they replied.

They then explained to him that Santa Claus is an old man with a big white beard and a red suit who delivers presents for children to open on Christmas Day.

Martianoto was mortified. Not only had he mistaken Santa Claus for an evil criminal, he had even been stealing the toys! He raced home to apologise to the old man but found him very ill. Santa Claus had been using his magic to make the toys again and after doing this so many days in a row he had become so weak he could no longer move.

That very night was Christmas Eve and Santa Claus wasn’t going to be delivering presents! What could he do? Martianoto thought quickly: he made a video of the sick Santa Claus and used his spaceship antenna to send it out with a message to all the televisions in the world: ‘all the presents from the past few days have to be returned so that Santa Claus can get better and regain his magic’.

We always think something will happen that will fix everything, and that’s exactly what poor Martianoto had hoped. But this time nobody could do anything to fix it: nobody believed the message that Santa Claus couldn’t deliver the presents.

Martianoto spent the day looking after Santa Claus. Night was falling when there was a knock at the door. It was a little girl returning all her presents.

“I don’t care about the presents” she said with a tear in her eye, “I just want Santa to get better.”

“Me too” said another child who was leading a group.

“Me too… And me…”

Little by little, more and more children appeared, willing to return every last one of their presents. The line was never-ending. They came from far and wide and as they walked through the door their presents vanished and Santa Claus got a little better. When the last toys were returned, Santa Claus was able to get up and everyone cheered with joy. It was as if they’d never been happier.

But Martianoto still felt awful.

“I’m so, so sorry” he said “Nobody in the whole world has any presents and it’s all my fault…”

It went completely silent and everybody looked at the alien.

Finally, the little girl said “Nonsense! I’ve never been happier at Christmas. I helped Santa Claus to get better and I brought him presents. Now I know it’s much better to give presents than to receive them.”

Amid all the laughter and applause, everybody agreed that this lesson was the best present they could have asked for this year.

Translated by Amy Jackson and Lorna Sebag-Montefiore, Manchester Metropolitan University

Let's work on this story, now that is fresh on our minds!

A minute for thinking

In the end, the children discovered that they felt better having done something for Santa rather than receiving gifts. Have you tried giving something you liked to someone else? What things do you have that could make others happy? You’ll probably find it hard but try giving one of them away to see what it’s like to make someone happy with a gift

Let's talk!

We have all experienced at some point that giving away what we like the most (including time) costs, but it makes us feel good. Share with your child a time where you had trouble letting go of something, what you did to help you decide and how you felt afterwards. Discuss with your child if you have ever intended to do something very generous but did not complete it.

Why don't you try this?

To make you a particularly unselfish family, I propose to create the “day Santa was robbed”: two nights before Christmas each of you will leave a secret gift (something that you own and really appreciate). The better the gift, the more you should celebrate with a big party. During the night, make these gifts “disappear” so that they can be given to others who will appreciate them, and in this way prepare for Christmas with a generous and unselfish spirit.

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