When people think of Christmas they think of Santa Claus. Santa Claus goes by many different names such as Saint Nicolas, Saint Nick, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, or just plain Santa. Santa Claus is thought to be a gift giving figure that gives presents to children usually on Christmas Day in many cultures. The popular American version of Santa Claus originated from a wrong pronunciation of the Dutch word Sinterklaas which is contracted version of Sint Nicolas which translates as Saint Nicholas in English. No only is Santa Claus a great symbol of Christmas but he has also achieved and received a great honor. In October of this year USA Today listed Santa Claus as number four on their list of imaginary luminaries: the 101 most influential people that ever lived.
Santa Claus is a character based on a variation of a Dutch folk tale that was based on the historical figure Saint Nicholas who was a bishop in Turkey who gave presents to poor children. His charity became the stuff of legends when a man lost all of his money and could not support his daughters who couldn’t find husbands to marry them. Just as the man was going to sell his daughters into prostitution, Saint Nicholas gave them gold which allowed them to retain their virginal status and virtues and to marry rich husbands. Santa Claus forms an essential and an important portion of the Christmas tradition throughout the Western world, Japan, and other areas of East Asia. In addition, in many Eastern Orthodox traditions Santa Claus visits children on New Year’s Day and is celebrated on the same level as Saint Basil whose memory is also celebrated on New Year’s Day. Despite this interesting tidbit, Santa Claus is usually though of as a Christmas symbol.
Drawings of Santa Claus also have a close resemblance to the Russian fictional character named Grandfather Frost. Grandfather Frost like Santa Claus delivers presents to children and he has a red coat, fur boots, and a long white beard. Some modern drawings of Santa Claus, mostly in advertising will illustrate the elves and Santa’s workshop as a processing and distributing center which toys to children all over the world. Santa Claus supposedly lives in the North Pole which could be North of Canada, in Finland or in Sweden.
There are also many features that are associated with Santa Claus such as his jolly belly laugh that comes out as HO, Ho, HO and the fact that Santa Claus had eight reindeer and a ninth reindeer named Rudolph who saved Christmas due to his bright and shiny red nose. It is also rumored that there is a Santa Claus office that is located at the North Pole where he receives all his Christmas correspondence.