Santa Claus

Santa Claus is a larger-than-life presence during the Christmas season. You can see Santa Claus walking in front of a store or sitting in his reindeer-sleigh in front of another. Cakes and cookies are baked in the shape of Santa, and there are Santa Claus greeting cards, Santa Claus Christmas songs, and now Santa Claus video games. Stores sell millions of Santa Claus costumes every year during Christmas. Children are told Santa Claus stories during the season and are encouraged to write letters to him. Myth, history, folklore, human imagination, and entertainment requirements have together fashioned Santa Claus.

There are different stories about the origin of Santa Claus. Though many people tell their children stories about Santa and the gifts he brings, there are many who do not like too much emphasis on imaginary characters. They prefer to avoid mixing up myth and reality. But the first group insists that though unreal, Santa is a welcome necessity. They feel that since Santa Claus personifies love, joy, and generosity, he is the right type of symbolization that children need.

There are many stories behind the origin of Santa Claus.

History of Santa Claus

Santa Claus is believed to have originated in the 14th century, modeled after St. Francis of Assisi, the Italian saint known for his kindness to all creatures, and his interest in helping the needy. He liked birds and animals so much that he is said to have preached to them. When he met a girl who had no money for her dowry, he is said to have filled her stockings with gold coins. The custom of hanging stockings outside, expecting Santa to fill it up, probably has its origin in this act of the saint.

Another story is that Santa Claus is modeled on St. Nicholas, a Greek saint who is also said to have been extremely kind to the poor and gave money to many girls for their dowries. He was the patron saint of an assortment or people like sailors, fishermen, pawnbrokers, thieves, children, and orphans. December 6 is celebrated as St. Nicholas day, when he is remembered for his acts of generosity. In many countries of Europe the day is celebrated also as children’s day. In Dutch, the word St. Nicholas is pronounced as Sinter Klass, and the word Santa Claus has evolved from this.

The Story of Santa Claus

Santa Claus is the eternal bringer of gifts for children. Known variously as Sinter Klass, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, and St. Nicholas, he is the magical father figure of Christmas. He is portrayed as a man with a white beard, wearing a red suit. North Pole is believed to be his home, where he lives with wife and a set of elves who are expert toymakers. The toys that the elves make are later distributed by Santa to the kids who deserve it. He is said to keep tab on the children of the world, to ensure whether they are deserving of his gifts.

During the Christmas season children write letters to Santa Claus, requesting him to get them the various things that they require. Santa then comes riding in his sleigh, loaded with toys for the children. The eight reindeers which draw his sleigh are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. After Robert May wrote the story of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, Rudolph is also portrayed as a ninth reindeer hitched to Santa’s carriage.

On Christmas night, Santa Claus gives gifts to all children, that is, to all good children. He gives only a piece of coal to bad children. The special character that he is, he does not come in through the door, but opts to climb down through the chimney with his bag of gifts. He keeps his gifts underneath the Christmas tree, or if they are small enough, puts them in the stockings that kids hang to collect the gifts. Some children leave return gifts in the form of chocolates and cookies for Santa, and carrots or lettuce for his reindeers.

Santa Claus Letter

During the Christmas season, letter writing to Santa is an important children’s activity. Imaginative children ask many interesting questions to Santa and request for special presents. Many children write detailed letters, telling Santa everything that happened in their family during the past year. Some of them admit their faults also and promise to be good from then onwards. Over the years Santa letter-writing has evolved into a very interesting activity with many websites accepting mails to Santa and even asking children to volunteer their services for helping Santa sort his mail. Websites also offer beautiful Santa letter templates.

Santa Claus Address

Since Santa travels in a reindeer-drawn sleigh, his abode has to be an ice-covered area, and it has been decided that he resides in the North Pole. He lives with his wife and manages a toy factory in the polar area, where expert elves make toys round the clock. Santa has got many addresses in which he receives children’s mail. During Christmas, many post offices volunteer to accept mails addressed to Santa and even make arrangements to reply to some of the letters and to give gifts to needy children. The most popular address of Santa is his Finland address given below:

Santa Claus,
Santa Claus Village,
FIN-96930 Arctic Circle,
Santa Claus Costume

Early models of Santa are shown as wearing a costume somewhat like that of a bishop. But in time his attire evolved a lot to finally become a red suit. Now in all representations he wears a red cap, red trousers and red coat, with white cuffs and collar and edging. He sports a snow-white beard, and wears a black belt over the coat. Overall, he is portrayed as a happy old man. Nowadays Santa Claus costumes of all sizes are available in stores during the Christmas season so that both the old and the young can get instantly transformed into a Santa.

Santa Claus Pictures

Small children’s coloring books often contain a Santa Claus outline for them to color. Some will be simple images that are just the outline of Santa. These are generally easy to do as all that the child has to do is fill up the coat and trousers and cap with his red crayon or sketch pen. But there are more complicated pictures like Santa filling his bag with toys, or Santa on his sleigh with eight flying reindeers. These will need more colors and more careful coloring. Children can use self-colored Santa images on the greeting cards to their friends. They can scan it into a computer and use it to send greetings to many friends. Or they can print multiple copies of the scanned image and use for decorating.

Santa Claus Screensavers

During the Christmas season, you can use a Santa Claus image as a screensaver. It will help you to get the feel of the festive season. There are many Santa Claus screensavers all over the internet. Some are elaborate, and portray Santa riding across mountains and fields and above rooftops, and finally getting down through a chimney and leaving his gifts under a Christmas tree. All the action is portrayed with fitting background songs and clinking of reindeer bells.

Santa Claus Movies

Animated cartoons, comedy movies, family movies, and even horror movies have been made using the concept of Santa Claus. There has been a 1985 fantasy movie by the name Santa Claus that explores the myth of Santa. There has also been a 1994 movie by the name and this one had two sequels released in 2002 and 2006 respectively.

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