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Santa Defamed 

Editor:

“Damn Santa” was a poor choice for a title for your thoughtful, perceptive, and warm-hearted article (“Savage Money,” Oct. 22).

My legal name is Santa Claus, and I’m a full-time volunteer advocate for the two million children in the U.S. annually who are abused, neglected, exploited, abandoned, homeless and institutionalized through no fault of their own. That’s one out of 37 children in our great nation.

Primarily due to the economy, as you noted, many of these vulnerable children in dire straits will not have adequate food or shelter this winter. If I were a child, I think I would understand if my parent(s) decided, in my name and in lieu of a gift to me, to make a donation to a local charity to help nourish or shelter a child less fortunate than myself.

When children approach me with a memorized list of presents they’d like to receive, I usually ask them to keep their list to themselves and ask them what they plan to give to someone else. Those who say they don’t have any money to get anything for anyone else appear to be relieved when I remind them that the greatest gift they can give is love — even a big hug or a little hand-drawn card to let someone know they are loved.

As a Christian Monk (as St. Nicholas was many centuries ago), having taken a vow of poverty, I believe that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, not the crass, commercial, secular spectacle it has become in many places, and that the greatest gift one can give is love, not presents (or photos with Santa).

Thank you again for your thoughtful, perceptive and warm-hearted article.

Santa Claus, Incline Village, Nev.

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