Bill Kennedy believes in Santa Claus.

He’s written several children’s books to keep Santa’s spirit alive, provide kids with hope and inspire them to give during the holiday season.

“I want kids to believe in Santa Claus because Santa Claus is hope,” Kennedy said.

Five of Kennedy’s books are available at Wrap It Up, Manhattan Arts Center’s annual sale. Wrap It Up is open now and continues until Dec. 24.

Kennedy’s series came about when he read a piece in The Mercury that implied Santa isn’t real. This troubled Kennedy, and he got to writing. The first story, which he wrote in about an hour, explores what would happen if Santa took a year off.

“Santa got tired and dejected and everybody else picked up the work for him,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy has five Santa books available at Wrap It Up and has finished a sixth. Those for sale at the MAC are “The Year Santa Claus Got Tired,” “The Year Santa Claus Got Married,” “The Man Who Became Santa Claus,” “Hope, Santa and the Thin Blue Line” and “The Year Santa Claus Explored Wonder.”

Kennedy said he takes viola lessons at the MAC and heard they were looking for creators for Wrap It Up.

“Every writer wants to be discovered, so I brought a book in about where Santa Claus really comes from,” he said.

He said during his time as the Riley County Attorney, he was exposed to the pain children can experience and realized how important it is to spread happiness to them.

Bob Holcombe, who illustrated the books for sale at Wrap It Up, said Kennedy’s stories are very personal and one even uses Kennedy’s grandchildren as elves. He said Kennedy uses his faith in his stories and writes about Santa as a saint.

“He looks for the reasons why Santa does things and how the world reacts to this saint,” Holcombe said.

Kennedy wants to share stories about Santa Claus because they can teach children to be generous and helpful.

“I just think it’s such a wonderful time of year and as I age I’m learning to give,” he said. “I believe in Santa Claus as an ideal.”

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