History of Santa Claus

Christmas can never be complete without Santa Claus. The jolly resident of the North Pole brings happiness into the lives of millions of children every year as he delivers gifts on Christmas Eve. One has to wonder how Santa got the best job in the world.

The history of Santa Claus is one that is both heartwarming and intriguing. Even though different parts of the world have different stories and folklore that shed light on Santa Claus’s journey over the years, there are several similarities between all these versions. In most cultures Santa Claus is portrayed as a rotund older man with a white beard and mustache. His clothes are usually red with white collars and cuffs. He also sports black leather boots and smile.

For more insights into the history of Santa Claus go through our step by step guide to the History of Santa Claus below:


  • 1

    Santa Claus Origins: The modern Santa is considered a mish mash of different figures and folklore. One of the main historical predecessors of Santa Claus is Saint Nicholas of Myra. The Christian Greek bishop was well known for his giving nature. He especially looked after the poor of the time by giving them excessive gifts. Saint Nicholas is also the inspiration between the Dutch Sinterklass. This Dutch tradition states that Sinterklass had helpers that carried a list of children that were good or naughty. The Good children received gifts of chocolate and spice nuts while the naughty risked run-ins with the helpers. Some links have also been made between paganism and Santa Claus. Most comparisons are made with Odin, a god in the Germanic tradition.

  • 2

    Santa Claus Home: Father Christmas is popularly believed to live on the North Pole along with his helpers. His house is usually attached to a workshop that is used to create all the presents for the children of the world. May countries located near the North Pole claim that Santa’s residence is within their borders. The Canadian government has given Santa official citizenship so that he can enter and leave Canada when he is delivering presents. Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland also have traditional homes for Santa within their country.

  • 3

    Transport: Kris Kringle, a common name for Santa, is also believed to have magical transport. In western folklore he is thought to use a sleigh that is pulled by nine flying reindeer. The team of reindeer include Dasher, Vixen, Prancer, Comet, Cupid, Dancer, Donder (or Donner), Blitzen and most recently Rudolf the Red Nose reindeer.

  • 4

    Chimney gift giving: Giving presents to children has been linked to Santa Claus for quite some time now. There are popular traditions that mention Santa sliding down chimneys to leave gifts for the good children. This custom is usually attributed to a story that tells about Saint Nicholas throwing gold coin throw windows. When he found the windows locked he would use the chimney of the house to deliver the goods.

  • 5

    Websites/email/snail mail: With Santa being a famous personality among kids, several websites are dedicated to him. There are also email and postal addresses available for Santa. Before the advent of the internet, most children wrote letters to Santa using regular post. Since 1940 the US postal service has run “Operation Santa”, which is a letter answering service.

    There also website that track Santa’s course during his gift giving.

    Website: Norad Tracks Santa

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