Talking to children about Santa Claus

Parents, is this the year you talk about Santa Claus?

If so, this book can help make the experience a faith-filled moment for your entire family.

The Secret of the Santa Box is an illustrated poem about Kristin, a curious girl who loves Christmas. Once she starts asking questions, her parents explain Santa in a way that reinforces their faith and the true meaning of Christmas.

My wife Linda and I talked to our children the same way as described in this book. We hope this method will create a lasting impression upon your family and fill your home with the joy of the season. Read more.


What Readers & Book Reviewers Say

“Fresh, funny, original and perfect for girls and boys everywhere. Christopher Fenoglio has created a holiday poem for children of all ages.” — Adriana Trigiani (Kiss Carlo, Brava Valentine, Big Stone Gap)

“Celebrates wonder, the thrill of hope, giving, and God’s goodness in beautifully crafted verse, that like a great song, can’t help getting stuck in your head.” — Humanities Tennessee

“Delightful book that every family should pick up when questions arise about Santa. I suggest having it ready when your child turns 7 to help answer those questions. It was brilliant decision to write this book in verse too! 5 Stars!” — Barb Gilman, Catholic school teacher, 2014 NCEA Distinguished Teacher

“Gently and beautifully answers a maturing child’s questions about the truthfulness of the story of Santa.” — Peanut Butter & Grace

The Secret of the Santa Box by Christopher Fenoglio, illustrated by Elena K. Makansi. Treehouse Publishing Group (St. Louis, 2017). 32 pp., $16.95. There comes a time in every parent’s life when a child anxiously asks them, “Is Santa real?” Many parents struggle with this answer, knowing that with the loss of belief in the jolly old man comes the loss of a part of childhood. But fear not, the Catholic faith shows us that the real joy of Christmas is Jesus’ birth itself and the joy of the mystery of Christmas comes not from Santa but from everyone but Jesus himself. The Secret of the Santa Box is a needed book for curious children ready to move past the secular stories of Christmas and into a deeper relationship with the true meaning of Christmas. It gently explains the sometimes sensitive topic in cheerful and thoughtful rhymes and illustrations. Ages 7-10. Catholic News Service

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The World Always Needs More Santas

Children around the world wearing Santa hats.The following article originally appeared in The Tennessee Register, the newspaper for the Diocese of Nashville, in December, 2003. The events described below were the inspiration for the creation of The Secret of the Santa Box.

Every December while our children were young, we took them to the mall to get a photograph taken with Santa Claus. On the way home, we often fielded a sleigh full of questions.

“Where does Santa live? How does he know where we live? If he’s so fat, how does he get down our chimney? What does he do at houses without chimneys?” The first few questions were answered cautiously. Soon we handled each one with a smooth, experienced tone.

Looking back on those days, we cherished “The Secret of Santa Claus,” that precious white lie parents tell their young children to keep an air of mystery and wonderment in the Christmas season. We guarded The Secret at every turn so that none of them would learn the truth. To us, The Secret was an important part of their childhood and vital to their (and our) enjoyment of the Christmas season. Read more.