The Real Story of Santa Claus and Coal

December 15, 2019-

Legend has it that Santa Claus sends his snarky sidekick, Black Piet, to put a lump of coal in the stockings of children who have been naughty,during the year.  I learned, this evening, that this is just not so.

The Big Guy and his Missus put in an early appearance this evening, at a Red Cross gathering.  He told a young man who complained of having received coal in his stocking, whilst he was a young street ruffian, in Chicago.  The young man did tell St. Nick that he had mended his ways, and Santa acknowledged that this was the case.

Santa went on to explain, about the coal.   “I don’t always give children what they want, but I do give them what they need.”, he offered, “When people needed coal to heat their homes, I made sure they got several lumps.”  Children living under hard circumstances, frequently act out, and Santa said he takes care of their home life, first.

That did my heart good, and shows that Santa Claus is not just a purveyor of belly laughs and trips down the chimney.  He really does look out for our best interests.  Black Piet? Why, he is a Red Cross volunteer, who goes down each chimney, to make sure it is firewise.

14 thoughts on “The Real Story of Santa Claus and Coal

  1. Hi Traveler,

    Many years ago, when I was a Catholic seminarian, in Miami, the rector of the seminary, asked that we put our shoes outside our dorm rooms, (we slept 2 to a room). I have to say that a handful of my classmates did indeed get lumps of coal in their shoes. I don’t know where he got the lumps of coal, or how we were to use them in a tropical setting, but your story tonight reminded me of that Christmas long ago.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow, I love this! I never knew, of course, but it warms my heart to hear that Santa cares enough to care for the needs of the needy poor, especially children, rather than simply “punishing” their naughtiness. Thank you for sharing this, and blessings to you during this sacred season. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I went for a Christmas party 2 days ago, and in that the discussion among our table was about how BAD children are given coal in their sticking. In fact the person who told this, is from Newfoundland, and he said, that his 2nd brother was always given coal for being BAD. And today, he is complete wreck, is an alcoholic, and has no contact with his family and children. His wife left with the 2 children, because they couldn’t deal with his alcoholism. It’s a pity. I told him, that his behaviour could be the result of getting coal in the stockings, thereby, making feel that he is no good.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In The Netherlands a tradition exists to celebrate St.Nicolas birthday on December 5 (although his birthday was the 6th). He rides on a white horse and his Black Piets climb down the chimney during the night, to bring presents to all the children. If you behaved bad during the year, you will find a little bag of salt in your shoe (set by the chimney) and if you were really bad, you can even get spanked with the ‘roe’ (scourge) or send back to Spain in Sint Nicolas’ big bag. Between the age of 4 and 8, children realize (or will be told) its a ‘story’ and no longer believe in the ‘Sint’.
    Since a few year this tradition has become a fight between ‘pro Black Piets’ and ‘against Black Piets’, due to the fact that people dress up as Black Piets and color their faces black. The association with slaves has been made.

    Santa Claus made his entrance in The Netherlands too (and more countries in Europe), decades ago, but is seen more as a commercial influence from the USA.
    I think many people embraced Santa Claus because he is, over here, not attached to any religion. And Europe also has 2 national holidays during Christmas; it was (and still is) an alternative to give each others gifts and spend quality time together. I also think that many over here no longer celebrate ‘Sint Nicolaas’ for him being a saint.

    Personally, I think, regardless what legend, myth, religion, etc. you believe in; spending quality time with beloved ones, is always beneficial to our humanity. Fooling children, even make them anxious/fearful…I question if that is healthy.

    Great thought-provoking post, dear Gary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is an interesting take on “Black Piet”. I know the Dutch held slaves, during the time of Triangular Trade and mercantilism, and that the practice was outlawed in the Netherlands, around the time of our country’s Emancipation Proclamation. The nicest thing about Christmas, to me, has always been that it was a time of family in-gathering. That has been more important than how many, or what kind of, gifts one gets.

      Liked by 1 person

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