The modern interpretation of Santa has come a long way from Holland's SinterKlaas of the 15th and 16th Century.
A celebration of wonder, enchantment and delight, Santa Claus is one of the most beloved figures in the history of mankind. Though old and enduring in his religious roots, Santa is equally an emblem of a secular spirit and the instant ideal of generosity, kindness and good will towards man. Adored by children of all lands, Santa indeed keeps the child alive in all of us and does so with humour and warmth, but not without an eye on the realities of a changing world. In fact, it is a testament to the importance of this symbol, that throughout the ages, Santa has remained intact - he is a citizen of the world.
Santa Claus continues to create instantant mirth and joy. He brings out our best selves and has given that gift repeatedly to generations of children throughout time. So, it is not only the "being naughty or nice" that's important, it is also the idea of giving that makes Santa so special.
Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle and simply "Santa", is a figure with legendary, mythical, historical and folkloric origins who, in many western cultures, is said to bring gifts to the homes of the good children on the night before Christmas, December 24. However in some European countries children receive their presents on St. Nicholas' Day, December 6. The modern figure of Santa Claus was derived from the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas, which, in turn, was part of its basis in tales concerning the historical figure of a Christian bishop and gift giver Saint Nicholas. This figure may have absorbed elements of the god Odin, who was associated with the Germanic pagan midwinter event of Yule and led the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the sky.
Santa Claus is generally depicted as a portly, joyous, white-bearded man—sometimes with spectacles—wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots and carries a bag full of gifts for children. Images of him rarely have a beard with no moustache. This image became popular in the United States and Canada in the 19th century due to the significant influence of Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" and of caricaturist and political cartoonist Thomas Nast.This image has been maintained and reinforced through song, radio, television, children's books and films.
According to a tradition which can be traced to the 1820s, Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, with a large number of magical elves, and nine (originally eight) flying reindeer. Since the 20th century, in an idea popularized by the 1934 song "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town", Santa Claus has been believed to make a list of children throughout the world, categorizing them according to their behavior ("naughty" or "nice") and to deliver presents, including toys, and candy to all of the well-behaved children in the world, and sometimes coal to the naughty children, on the single night of Christmas Eve. He accomplishes this feat with the aid of the elves who make the toys in the workshop and the reindeer who pull his sleigh.
There are many versions of the story of this congenial man who has just as many guises. See a few of them below:
check out our special songlist, SONGS ABOUT SANTA CLAUS on our navigation menu under "MUSIC! MUSIC! MUSIC!" or click this link.