Santa Claus…the jolly, fat fellow that has become the most recognizable figure of Christmas. HO-HO-HO!! Hearing this just sparks a smile among the populace; young and old alike. Yes, the origins of Santa Claus originates from the first time St. Nicholas gave away gifts to unfortunate children. Santa has become the symbol of generosity and great cheer. He is known as Kris Kringle, Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Father Frost (in Russia) and even the “claus” or just plain "Santa". So just who is this phenom that has become a lasting symbol of the holidays.
The origins of Santa Claus originate from early Christian, Germanic and Dutch lore and even some pre-Christian traditions. Whatever his origins, he is identified as a bearded large man who embodies happiness for the kids. Santa Claus nowadays has become a significant figure of the holidays. Many Movies have been made to bring his character to life, tales of his kindness have become examples of generosity. He commands an army of elves who make toys all year long and he keeps a list to determine just who is naughty or nice. How can a large man fit through a chimney? Well, that, my friends is pure magic. The origins of the chimney legend originate from St. Nicholas throwing coins through it when a house’s window is closed. The practice of letter writing was practiced as kids from all over the world would send him their ‘wish’ list. The Christmas eve ritual of leaving cookies for him is still being practiced by some people all over the world. The man is one enchanted figure who can travel around the world to bring gifts to kids around the world...rich or poor, naughty or nice...
Today, Santa Claus is seen during the holidays on TV, movies, newspapers, advertising, stores and Christmas decorations. In this internet age, you see him on the web in most retailers’ websites. He has inspired several other characters that represent the Holiday spirit, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, elves, Mrs. Claus, and even “The Grinch”. Santa Claus is a phenomenon that will forever be etched in our childhood memories, and even large companies use him to represent their business. Some may say that he is a symbol of commercialism. Heck, there are even sexy female Santa Claus' for the young adult male. Cartoons have their own representations of Santa.
So enough, about his history and facts that surround this character. Santa Claus is a symbol that whether we like it or not, still stands as one of the most powerful symbols for the Christmas holidays. Being an Asian kid, who grew up under Asian upbringing, I wasn’t really into Santa Claus…I knew Santa Claus were my parents. I wasn’t encouraged to be ‘good” all year so that I could receive gifts, I was taught to be good because it was the right thing to do. My dad was the real “Santa” in our family because he (with my mom) brought our family together…not for gifts but because we wanted to be together for Christmas eve. In our household, I always saw “mommy kissing Santa Claus” every day. They were the glue that held us together.
So just what is this Santa Claus phenomenon? Well, it all depends what we as the people of different cultures decide what to do with him. He may well be another representation of our society and can be used to encourage GOOD WILL; which is exactly what Christmas is all about.
For me, Santa Claus’ origins is irrelevant…as with most characters and personas that can be utilized to entice, encourage, and spread a message, I think Santa Claus is mostly about children. They need something to relate to, since kids have imaginative minds and curiosity reigns supreme in their brains; Santa Claus is something magical that they can hope for, while subtly becoming aware of the message of CHEER, Peace and Good WILL. All of these things may be a little overwhelming to be understood by their young, developing brains, but Santa Claus makes it possible in a way. Everyone needs a device to understand something a little better…
Santa Claus is all about the CHILDREN.
Like him or not, Santa Claus is a part of the magic of Christmas. As with any other medium, he is how we use his persona…he is just a malleable form of Holiday cheer.
He still manages to put a smile on my face. Happy Holidays Everyone!
Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle or simply "Santa", is a legendary figure who, in many Western cultures, brings gifts to the homes of the good children during the late evening and overnight hours of Christmas Eve, December 24 or on his Feast Day, December 6 (Saint Nicholas Day). The legend may have part of its basis in hagiographical tales concerning the historical figure of gift giver Saint Nicholas. A nearly identical story is attributed by Greek and Byzantine folklore to Basil of Caesarea. Basil's feast day on January 1 is considered the time of exchanging gifts in Greece.
While Saint Nicholas was originally portrayed wearing bishop's robes, today Santa Claus is generally depicted as a plump, jolly, white-bearded man wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots. This image became popular in the United States and Canada in the 19th century due to the significant influence of caricaturist and political cartoonist Thomas Nast. This image has been maintained and reinforced through song, radio, television, and films. In the United Kingdom and Europe, his depiction is often identical to the American Santa, but he is commonly called Father Christmas.
One legend associated with Santa says that he lives in the far north, in a land of perpetual snow. The American version of Santa Claus says that he lives at his house on the North Pole, while Father Christmas is often ...