By Erin Hassanzadeh

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A couple of years ago, Santa decided to switch the script. He got tired of asking the typical Santa questions like “have you been good?” and “What do you want me to bring you for Christmas?”

Just before his big night, Santa took a moment to sit down with our own Erin Hassanzadeh to remind us all about the true meaning of Christmas.

“Sometimes children would show up with a little book they had put together with cutouts of toys they wanted and they would spend the whole time going through and telling me all about each one they wanted,” said Santa.

So instead, he decided to ask the children a question they would not expect.

“I know you’ve been good or you wouldn’t be here to see me,  but what I’d really like to know is how have you helped other people this year?” said Santa.

The question stops most people in their tracks, but some have compelling answers.

“I’ve had kids tell me how somebody at their school was being bullied and they stepped in and told the bullies to stop,” said Santa.

He’s not the only one asking tough questions. He’s answered a fair few himself.

Children might ask him: “Will my dad or mom come home? They’re in the military or my mom is very sick . . . those are really hard ones,” he said.

Sometimes it’s not the children – it’s the adults who need to be reminded that this holiday is not about what’s in Santa’s big bag. “It’s too much running around, too much trying to shop for the right thing,” he said.

Instead, it’s about “what comes from the heart.”

Erin Hassanzadeh