10 Facts about the History of Santa Claus
There comes a time in almost every child’s life when they realize Santa isn’t real. Maybe they hear their parents wrapping dozens of presents at once on Christmas Eve. Maybe some know-it-all at school broke the news. Or maybe logic just caught up to them. Whatever the reason, before you tell your kid the “truth” about Santa, read these 10 facts about the history of Santa Claus. He’s more real than you might think!
10 Interesting Things About Santa
- His name was St. Nicholas. He was born around 270 AD and later became the Bishop of Myra (located in what is now known as Turkey). Legend says St. Nicholas anonymously left money and treats in children’s shoes and even paid the dowries for three impoverished girls who would have been sold by their father for money. After he died, St. Nicholas became known as the patron saint of children. If you think of this as the real Santa Claus, then Santa is almost 2,000 years old.
- St. Nicholas’ bones still leak “magic juice.” After St. Nicholas died, his bones and other relics leaked a watery liquid (which they called “manna”) that legend claimed held healing powers. Even today, clergymen still collect vials of this manna on December 6th each year. A popular theory is that the liquid is simply seawater that has been transferred gradually to the tomb since it is below sea level.
- The person we know as Santa Claus has had many names over the centuries and became known as Santa Claus in 1773, only 200 years ago. A story telling of “Santa Claus” was printed in a newspaper in New York City. Before that, he was known as Sinterklaas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, and many other names.
- St. Nicholas’ Day used to be celebrated on December 6th (and it still is in some European countries). Martin Luther proposed that gift giving and St. Nicholas’ Day be postponed to December 25th in order to focus the spirit of the holiday on Jesus Christ. He also tried to replace St. Nicholas entirely, but as you can see, Santa is more popular than ever.
- Coca-Cola gave Santa his red coat. In the first illustrations of Santa Claus, he wore green, blue, brown, purple, and many other colors of robes. Although Santa’s red suit did become popular in the late 1800s, the iconic figure as we know him today got his official fashion in a 1931 Coca-Cola campaign (the image was inspired by a drawing made by Thomas Nast).
- Mrs. Claus was not mentioned until 1849. In A Christmas Legend by James Rees, Santa’s spouse was first introduced, and this prompted other literary publications to start adopting the idea that Santa was married. Mrs. Claus became much more popular as a result of Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride, a poem written by Katherine Lee Bates in 1889.
- Santa did not have a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer until the publication of the poem “Twas the Night before Christmas.” This poem was written by Clement Moore in 1822 and was originally titled A Visit from Saint Nicholas. Many of Santa’s iconic characteristics were adopted from this poem, including his sleigh and reindeer.
- Santa has been visiting department stores for about 126 years. James Edgar decided to dress up in a Santa costume in order to get more customers coming to his small store in Massachusetts. Since 1890, this has become a popular tradition in department stores across the nation.
- Are Santa’s reindeer female? Male reindeer lose their antlers in the winter while females keep theirs, so it’s odd that all of Santa’s reindeer have male names.
- Not everyone thinks Santa lives on the North Pole. In Finland, people believe Santa lives in Lapland, which is located in the northern part of Finland. In Norway, they believe Santa actually lives in Drobak, a Norwegian town.
Did you know all of these facts about Santa Claus? No matter what you celebrate, we at Low VA Rates want to wish everyone Happy Holidays!