Does Santa Claus exist?

Saint Nicholas. Father Christmas. Most commonly known as Santa Claus, this legendary figure has entranced society with his jolly tunes, plump belly and overflowing sack of gifts for nearly two centuries. Countless movies and songs have been devoted to him. Millions of children prepare a plate of cookies with a glass of milk for him on Christmas Eve. But does the man who defines the holiday festivities truly exist? In a way, people take on the role of Santa themselves during the holiday season. Through gift exchanges, volunteering and activities through the annual Winter Madness, students at Ames High know that it doesn’t just take a Santa hat to spread the happiness. One of the gift exchanges taking place this year is between the saxophone players in the Ames High Symphonic Band. Titled “S.S.S.S.” for Sexy Saxophone Secret Santa, each player must get a gift for another member, whose identity remains a secret. “I’m really excited for it, because we’re all friends and I found a good gift,” senior Hannah Bonestroo said. “But Leigh Ann keeps telling people who they have so I don’t know how ‘secret’ it will be.” Other students use the holiday season as a time to give back to those less fortunate. Senior Casey Inman volunteered at Food At First as a part of her AP Government Service Learning Project, and noted the high spirits she observed. “It was cool to see how positive people were, despite everything they were going through,” said Inman. “That’s something that the holidays seem to do; they just put everybody in a better mood!” This year during Winter Madness, all of the proceeds will be going to help the needy in local areas. While the man with the bushy white beard may be fictional, his image has become increasingly associated with charity and philanthropy. Everybody has the opportunity to become Santa in a way; whether it’s caroling or shoveling the snow for your elderly neighbor, spreading the joy and purpose of the season is what truly brings Santa Claus to life.