The History of Santa Claus

Well, it was Dutch legend Sinter Klaas who was the inspiration for Santa Claus for the settlers of our colonies. Evidently, he showed up on the "Eve of St. Nicholas." Then this man, a wonderful man he, wrote a poem. You may have heard it..."The Night Before Christmas." Yep. And a new legend was born with reindeer, coming down the chimney, ho-ho-ho-ing and more! So when you're opening your gifts, pause a moment and thank Clement Clarke Moore.

There is still the question of the red suit, beard and Mrs. Claus, of course. According to, "The American image of Santa Claus was further elaborated by illustrator Thomas Nast, who depicted a rotund Santa for Christmas issues of Harper's magazine from the 1860s to the 1880s. Nast added such details as Santa's workshop at the North Pole and Santa's list of the good and bad children of the world. A human-sized version of Santa Claus, rather than the elf of Moore's poem, was depicted in a series of illustrations for Coca-Cola advertisements introduced in 1931."

Now how about this elf thing going on? Well, it wasn't until later that the elves started working in his toy shop at the North Pole. And "Rudolph, the ninth reindeer, with a red and shiny nose, was invented in 1939 by an advertising writer for the Montgomery Ward Company." That figures.

Santa Claus is made up of history, commercialism and religion. It was "Bishop Nicholas of Smyrna (Izmir), in what is now Turkey...who lived in the 4th century A.D. He was very rich, generous, and loving toward children. Often he gave joy to poor children by throwing gifts in through their windows...St. Nicholas became the patron saint of children and seafarers...St. Nicholas made his way to the United States with Dutch immigrants, and began to be referred to as Santa Claus."

But doom lay ahead. In 1925, newspapers revealed that reindeer cannot graze at the North Pole. I'd like the name of that reporter! Anyway, supposedly he now lives in Napapiiri, near Rovaniemi, where you can find his main post office.

I wonder what Mrs. Claus thinks about that?!