Who is Santa Claus? The History of Father Christmas, Santa, Kris Kringle.
It’s a very common question, and it’s got a very interesting answer. If you’re interested in learning more about Santa Claus, where he came from and the history of Santa Claus, you have reached the right place. You’ll find the answers to all of these questions, and more with our comprehensive Guide to Santa Claus. From his ancient history as St. Nicholas, his modern Coca-Cola themed makeover, and more! We have Santa Claus information you’d ever want right here! Your one-stop shop for All Things Santa!
Who is Santa?
There are Many Names for Santa, Father Christmas, Sinterklaas, Christkindl, Papa Noel and so many more! While each culture has a few variants on the details – generally speaking Santa Claus is the Bringer of Gifts on Christmas. Commonly known to have a big white beard, jolly face, and red suit. We’ve got lots of information about the many traditions and legends surrounding Santa Claus, including:
- Lives at the North Pole (or Lapland)
- He Keeps a List of Naughty & Nice Children
- He Rides a Sleigh Pulled by Magical Flying Reindeer
- Married to Mrs. Claus
- Visits Homes on Christmas Eve to Deliver Presents
- Presents are Traditionally left under a Christmas Tree and in Stockings.
Origin of Santa Claus
How did Saint Nicholas become the sleigh-riding bringer of Christmas gifts known as Santa Claus? The original saint was a Greek born 280 years after Christ who became bishop of Myra, a small Roman town in modern Turkey. Nicholas’s fame lived long after his death (on December 6, which became the day of his celebration) because he was associated with many miracles, and reverence for him continues to this day independent of his Santa Claus connection. As time went on, Staint Nicholas evolved in different forms, and in the Netherlands and Belgium was known by many as Sinterklaus.
Later, in the English and later British colonies of North America, and later in the United States, British and Dutch versions of the gift-giver merged merged with the English character Father Christmas which brought around different names for Santa in regions of America, Pennsylvania he was usually referred to as ‘Krishkinkle’ but in New York he was ‘St. Nicholas’ or ‘Santa Claus’.
Read more about Santa Claus’ History on All Things Christmas
Victorian Santa Claus
Santa Claus has changed a lot from his first arrival as Saint Nicholas. The modern iconic depiction of Santa Claus in North America can be stemmed from the combination of cultures. By the 19th century we started to get our own unique and emblematic depictions of Santa Claus distinct from the histories behind Sinterklaus and Father Christmas. Our first literary description of Santa Claus comes from the sensationally popular ‘A Visit from Saint Nicholas‘ by Clement Clarke Moore in 1823.
Traditions such as Santa’s Reindeer and Sleigh were introduced, and Santa’s home being ‘Near the North Pole’ is mentioned in a poem alongside artistic interpretations emerging in the late 1800s. On both sides of the pond we started to get the familiar image of Santa Claus and Father Christmas becoming more and more alike. Christmas Trees become more popular (thanks in part to Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert) and the two traditions become intertwined – having him leave our gifts underneath.
More about Christmas in the Victorian Era on All Things Christmas
Modern Santa Claus
The Santa we have come to know and love wasn’t allowed dressed in his red-and-white suit with big black boots and belt. In fact, Father Christmas was often depicted in a Green suit, and Father Frost (Ded Moroz – the Russian version of Santa Claus) is almost always depicted in Blue. So why is it that he is almost always now seen wearing red and white?
Did Coca-Cola invent Santa Claus?
The legend of Coca-Cola inventing Santa Claus’ Red and White suit has become so ingrained in our culture, that you’d be hard pressed not to find someone who knows about it. But the simple fact is that Santa had been wearing these colors long before Coke used him in their ad campaign in tge 1930s. In fact, a jolly, fat red-and-white Santa was already adorning Christmas Cards.
What Coke did do for Santa is provide him with excellent PR. Suddenly the entire nation was seeing the same vision of the Santa, year after year, at Christmas Time – and as the kids of the 30s grew up to be the adults of the 50s – suddenly we burst with some of the most everlasting and enduring images of Christmases for the rest of the 20th Century!
As our fascination with Santa Claus continues, we start to see him in more and more mainstream Media. Some of the most important and Best Christmas Movies in recent years are specifically about Santa Claus, his travels, perhaps some hardships – but always have a heartwarming message in the Magic of believing in Santa.
Here are a few of the BEST Santa Claus Movies:
As we evolve and grow in the digital era, so too must Santa – so there’s no wonder that over the last few years we’ve seen so many new ways to keep in touch with Kris Kringle himself. From Emails, to Videos, even Tracking Santa Claus live has become one of the newest traditions for younger generations.
As the magic goes on and on, Santa Claus continues to be a wonderful reminder of the magic of Christmas, so it’s no wonder that whenever someone asks “Is Santa Real?” I always answer: Yes!