We all know who Santa is. An old man who leaves presents at the Christmas tree at night. Of course, Santa Claus isn’t real (Or is he?).How can he get into my house if I don’t have a chimney? But how did we come up with Santa Claus and why did we describe him as some fat jolly guy in a red suit who sneaks into your house at night, takes your cookies, and leaves gifts?
St.Nicholas was born around 280 A.D in Patara, near Myra in modern-day turkey. Admired by his kindness and generosity, he became the subject of many stories. He gave away all his inherited wealth to the poor and needy anonymously. One story states that three poor sisters and their father were poor. He wanted to help these people, but he wanted to do it anonymously. He didn’t want to be thanked, for he helped to get the joy of giving.
He left three bags of gold at the sisters’ window and left. The sisters now had a dowry so they could be married and were not poor anymore. The father soon learned who had left the money and soon, all anonymous gifts of charity were attributed to St. Nicholas.
So St.Nicholas gave gifts of charity to the poor. If St. Nicholas gave the gifts, why do we call him Santa Claus or Sinter Klass?
The name Santa Claus came from Nicholas’ dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas, a shortened form of Sint Nikolaas (Dutch for St.Nicholas). In 1804, John Pintard, a member of the New York historical society, distributed woodcuts of St. Nicholas. The background of the picture had familiar images of Santa with a fireplace that had stockings filled with toys. A man named Washington Irving helped popularize the Sinter Klass stories by calling him the patron saint of New York.
Soon, he decided to draw Sinter Klass as a man with a pointy red hat with a big red and white coat with black boots and yellow stockings. They later named him Santa Claus.
Santa and the media
Soon, advertising companies decided to take advantage of this new Christmas gift giver. Newspaper ads mostly featured Christmas ads with Santa Claus as the star. As expected, children began to love Santa Claus. They liked a guy who gifts gifts to the children of the world. A store in Philadelphia created a life-size model of Santa Claus. Soon, stores began to hire people who dressed up as Santa and claimed that this would be a chance to see a real live Santa. Now, we see “Mall Santas” everywhere.
‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
In 1822 a man named Clement Clarke Moore wrote a long poem for his three daughters called “An account of a visit from St.Nicholas”. This poem was greatly responsible for our idea of the jolly old elf who deliver presents on a sleigh. This greatly popularized Santa by giving the idea of Santa flying from house to house with a sled and flying reindeer. In 1881, Thomas Nast drew Santa’s picture for the poem.
He drew Santa as a man with a big white beard with red clothes and a sack full of toys. It is Thomas who gave the idea of the North Pole workshop, Mrs.Claus, and the elves.
My name is Santa, but call me Kris Kringle
The name Santa Claus is known to all except for very young babies. However, similar figures started to appear all over the world. Two examples are Christkind and Kris Kringle who deliver presents to well behaved Swiss or German children. Christkind is an angel like figure who delivers presents by flying from house to house. In Scandinavia, a jolly elf named Jultomten deliver gifts in a sleigh drawn by flying goats.
Father Christmas puts presents in children’s stockings. Pere Noel does this too, but puts presents in French children’s shoes. In Russia, it is believed that an elderly woman named Baboushka visits children’s houses and leaves presents by their bed. In Italy, a woman named La Befana rides a broomstick and leaves presents at houses.
The red-nosed reindeer
Rudolph, the most famous reindeer ever, came a hundred years after the other eight were invented. He was the creation of Robert.L.May who wrote a Christmas poem to draw people to his store. Robert told the story of Rudolph, a reindeer teased by the the others due to his red nose. The story became very popular and was published into a book that sold three million copies.
Several years later, one of Robert’s friends, Johnny Marks wrote a song about the reindeer called Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. Since then, it has been translated into 25 languages and was turned into an animated movie in 1964.
So Santa was a guy called St.Nicholas, was called Sinter Klaas, later named Santa Claus, and delivers presents to the children of the world. Well, we now know where this jolly elf comes from and why we decided to give him flying reindeer and the ability to squeeze down a chimney. The media also took a part in making him popular. That’s were Santa comes from and I hope you enjoyed this blog.
Thanks for reading! Have a Merry early Christmas!
(Apparently, Santa is 1000 years old. Christmas magic keeps him alive and well)