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The History of Santa Claus - Carers UK Forum

The History of Santa Claus

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If Christmas is a celebration of Jesus' birth, what is the history of Santa Claus, and why does he play such a big role in Christmas today?
Ancient Roots
Like many Christian holidays, Christmas has its ties with pagan religions. The Catholic Church often set Christian holidays to coordinate with the celebrations of pagan religions, and Santa Claus, along with Christmas, is no different. Several of Santa's characteristics and habits stem from the Norse god, Odin. The Germanic people celebrated Yule, and, during that celebration, Odin was sent to fly around on his horse, Sleipnir. The children would leave gifts for the horse such as carrots and hay. Odin would exchange these gifts for small treats.
During this time, the children's shoes were placed by the fireplace. This tradition is said to have been the basis for our modern tradition of hanging stockings on the fireplace.
Saint Nicholas
The benevolence and generosity of Santa Claus today can be traced to a real man. Bishop Nicholas of Myra (Smyrna) was a rich man known for his generous spirit and love of children. Legend tells us he was so generous he provided dowries necessary for the three poor daughters of a Christian man, allowing them to marry. The Catholic Church turned him into a legend and a miracle worker and made him the patron saint of children. St. Nicholas is said to have thrown gifts to poor children from the window of his home.
Santa Comes to America
Santa Claus was unheard of in the United States until the 17th century, when the Dutch brought Saint Nicholas, or Sinter Klaas, to New York. Washington Irving wrote the first detailed description of Sinter Klaas in his History of New York in 1773. This description, along with the elf-like description of the dwarf Belsnickle, laid the foundation for the jolly old Santa Claus we know. The term Santa Claus came into being simply as a distortion and mispronunciation of Sinter Klaas, and history was made.
Not a Creature Was Stirring
In 1823, Clement Clarke Moore, a minister, built upon Irving's description of Sinter Klaas in the poem he wrote for his daughters, An Account of a Visit From Saint Nicholas. Every child today knows that story by its title T'was the Night Before Christmas. What would Christmas today be without the reading of the beloved story? It not only immortalized Santa Claus for children everywhere but also described his appearance, his method of delivering gifts and the magical flying reindeer.
Making a List, Checking It Twice
During the time frame from the 1860s through the 1880s, we were allowed to peek into the magical wonderland of Santa's workshop through the artwork of Thomas Nast. Nast provided Christmas artwork for Harper's Magazine Christmas after Christmas. Through his drawings, we knew that Santa had a workshop where he made the toys, that he made a list of good and bad little boys and girls and that his workshop was located at the North Pole. Santa Claus was well on his way to becoming a worldwide representation of Christmas.
Santa As a Marketing Tool
Up until this time, Santa Claus had been an elf-like figure. But, in 1841, he became life-sized when a store keeper hired someone to represent Kris Kringle and climb up his chimney. Santa Claus has appeared in many colors of clothing so far, including blue, red and even black, but always in long, flowing robes and with a beard.
In 1931, Coca-Cola decided to use Santa Claus to help market its product, and his red-and-white, fur-lined outfit made its mark in the public's mind.
Coca-Cola was not the only company to take advantage of Santa Claus and the magic of the Christmas season. In 1929, Montgomery Ward invented another Christmas legend, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Rudolph might have forever remained a figure of the Montgomery Ward stores were it not for the tune of the same name sung by the legendary singing cowboy, Gene Autry.
Thanks that is very interesting, I just love stuff like that Image
So, do I.

The Coca Cola people were responsible for turning Santa Claus from green and white to Red and white. The power of marketing?
Personally, I hate Xmas. Whatever power it once had has been robbed since. We are now 'encouraged' to buy for a festival that makes no sense, way in advance of it too. It's now become a 'duty' not a pleasure.

If I win a load of dosh on the Health Lottery (stuff the Lotto) I'm going to spend Xmas in some country that doesn't celebrate Xmas, or so-called New Year.
But does such a county exist?
God save me from Slade's Merry Xmas. I do however love Xmas hymns... 'We Three Kings of Orient Are', and 'In the Bleak Mid-Winter' being my faves.

Even more... Save me from 'Mistletoe and wine' by who ever.
The red and white imagery of "Santa Claus" is nothing to do with Coca-Cola: that image had long existed. The artist who did the work for Coca-Cola, a commercial illustrator by the name of Haddon Sundblom, used pre-existing imagery as the basis of his work: otherwise, people wouldn't have known who the guy in the red suit was! The whole point was the company wanted people to identify Coke with Christmas - so using Santa's existing red and white livery to seal the image was the obvious way forward. But the image was certainly reinforced by the mass marketing of Coke.

On the "Mistletoe and Wine" front, it has a special place for us.

When Mike was two, we had the worst Christmas: he spent most of the day hooting and hiding under a box. The following year, we decided to risk moving to a bigger house, which stretched us financially. The idea was that Mike felt too restricted in our old home.

He certainly took to the new house and he started the long road to independence: Christmas Day was a fun-filled frolic for him, for the first time. The abiding memory of that day was watching this child who could barely speak, sitting atop his slide, a glass of grape juice in one hand, rocking in time, and singing along with Cliff Richard to "Mistletoe and Wine." That was the Christmas that I became "Adda" (Dad).
just for you sajehar
chrismas morning in the david and malcolm c household goes something like this
me ,it's xmas
mal ,so
later when i bring out his presents
mal ,oh god not more dvd;s how much did these cost ? ,where are we going to put them ?
we have got too many dvd.s.
roll on easter.
Charles, you're story about Mike gave me goosebumps, what lovely memory x
Me too. I'll never again walk into store to be subjected to 'Mistletoe and Wine' by wanting, but never actually having, a Terrible Twos tantrum. Image
Hi Dave c,
Get your partner A CD/DVD rack for Xmas. No one can have too many CDs/DVDs at any time of the year... Music be the something of something, according to Shakespere; and he should know!
hi ,sajehar mal is my twin brother not my partner Image Image ,and he has shelves full of dvd's i shall have to put s few more up after xmas.

by the way have you heard the supermarkets xmas hymn

it is called


what a friend we have in jesus Image Image
ps ,by the way, it is books you can not have too many of.