The History of Santa Claus

by Dan Adler

You may know him as Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, or even Santy. What you might not know is how he came to be. According to, here is a brief history of how he came to be.

If you think back to when Christmas started, you may think of the many cartoons you’ve seen that illustrate the legend of Santa Claus and how he brought presents to the good little boys and girls.

As it turns out Santa was actually based off of a real person.

The roots of Santa are believed to have stemmed from the Christianization of Germanic Europe. In the ancient city of Myra, Turkey, there was a monk named Saint Nicholas who was famous for giving away his wealth and traveling around to help others. Nicholas became so famous with the people that he became known as the protector of children and sailors.

The first ideas of Santa arrived in the United States in December of 1773. At this time, New York had a large Dutch population and a few of the Dutch were reported to have feasted in the celebration of the life and death of a man named Sinterklaas. Sinterklaas is a rough English translation of Saint Nicholas.

In the early 19th century Americans started to join in the tradition of celebrating Saint Nicholas with the help of Washington Irving’s book, which popularized Sinterklaas stories and names Saint Nicholas as the patron saint of New York.

The early 20th century sparked a revival in Christmas traditions with the start of holiday advertising in newspapers. Twenty years after the first Christmas advertisements, newspapers were dedicating entire sections to holiday shopping.

A common example of Santa today can be seen in malls or on the street. The Salvation Army needed money to supply the needy with free meals. Their solution was to dress people up as Santa and have them collect money to help feed those people. This tradition has been going on for over 100 years. Starting in 1890 this tradition has helped many people have a safe and healthy Christmas.

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