The History of Santa Claus

Interesting Santa Claus Facts

Christmas is approaching, and that means Santa will is getting ready for the busiest part of his year. While many of us just take Santa and his Christmas spirit for granted, there is actually a man behind the legend. However, the real St. Nick didn’t really look anything like the jolly old guy we see today. If you’re wondering why Santa looks the way he does and who is responsible for his present-day attire, read on…

A Man of Many Guises

Santa has existed in many forms throughout the centuries. The current image of Santa Clause being a rotund fellow donning red and white is actually only about 130 years old. Thomas Nast, a well-known painter during the 1800s, is given credit for creating the modern-day Santa that we have all come to know and love.

In 1870, Thomas Nast painted a portrait of Santa that resembles the modern-day Santa, more so than any drawings done previously. Prior to that, Santa took on many forms and names. Santa goes by many aliases depending on what part of the world he is visiting. Around the world Santa is known by Nicholas of Myra (Turkey), Hagios Nikolaos (Greek), Babbo Natale (Italy), Shengdan Laoren (China), Father Christmas , Pere Noel (France), Christindl (Germany), Kris Kringle (Germany), Kerstman (Netherlands), and Papa Noel (Brazil).

Twas The Night Before Christmas…

Clement Moore portrayed Santa Clause during the early 1800s in his poem, The Night Before Christmas. Today, the American version of Santa is similar, and the poem has formed the basis of many children’s books. Many families read a version of The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve. That is definitely a tradition you should consider starting if you haven’t done so already. This poem is believed to be the basis for the current legend that Santa enters homes through the chimney.

The Santa of the Future

It’s definitely hard to imagine Santa Clause wearing any other color than red, and it seems like that custom is here to stay. Who knows what Santa wears in mid-July, but since the North Pole is always cold, a cozy red outfit seems fitting.

The legend of Santa Clause has roots that span centuries, but the present day form has been most influenced and altered in the most recent two centuries. It’s interesting to speculate what Santa will be like two hundred years from now.