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The Legend of Santa Claus

Prerna Salla Dec 17, 2018
Christmas: What started the legend of Santa Claus? Good Question, let's find out!

History of the Legend

Santa Claus started out in Turkey as a 4th-century bishop named Nicholas. Early legends said Nicholas helped poor noblemen provide dowries for their daughters by throwing gold coins down their chimneys. The coins landed magically in stockings hung by the fire to dry. Nicholas was later canonized as the patron saint of children, among others.

How did Saint Nicholas become Santa Claus?

Saint Nicholas's name changed as his fame spread through different language groups. The Dutch, who brought the legend to America, called him Sinter Klaas. From there, it was a short step to Santa Claus.
Even so, the European legends differ somewhat from the character Americans have come to know. In Germany and Holland Saint Nicholas is sometimes said to ride through the sky on a horse, is depicted wearing a bishop's robes, and is said to be accompanied at times by Black Peter, an elf whose job is to whip naughty children.

How did Santa get so fat?

When the legend of Santa Claus first arrived in the United States people envisioned him as thin and gangly. It wasn't until Clement Moore's 1823 poem "A Visit From Saint Nicholas" ("Twas the night before Christmas...") that Santa came to be seen as fat--like "a bowl full of jelly." (How rude!)
Moore's image of Santa was "fleshed out" by a political cartoonist named Thomas Nast, the same man who invented the donkey and the elephant as symbols for the Democratic and Republican parties. It was Nast who created the image of Santa we know today--the fat, jolly fellow with the white beard, red suit, and silly cap.
It is true, however, that Madison Avenue advertising executives played a role in shaping our image of Santa. In 1931 advertisements for Coca-Cola depicted Santa as a human-sized figure instead of an elf, and in 1939 an advertising writer for Montgomery Ward created Santa's red-nosed sidekick Rudolph.
Does Santa Claus really exist?
Can't answer that one. The secret of Santa Claus's existence has been entrusted to mothers and fathers.
Anybody asks does Santa Claus really exist?
"Of Course" he does.