The Lore of Santa Claus

The Lore of Santa Claus

People often describe Santa Claus as a jolly, chubby, old man in a red suit and a matching hat who gives out presents to those who deserve them. But the real Santa that isn’t talked about as much is very different. The “real Santa” I’m talking about is known as St. Nicholas, and he is the man who inspired people to create the image of Santa Claus to be the man he is described as today. 

Meet the Real Saint Nicholas

The photo above shows St. Nicholas. He is being represented in a Church. (Picasa)

St. Nicholas, also known as the “Bishop of Myra”, was born in AD 280 to very wealthy and religious parents in the city of Lycia, now known as Turkey. His parents Theophanes and Nona had trouble having a child, so as soon as Nicholas was born, he was considered to be a miracle from God. He was introduced to a religious lifestyle at a very early age and as he got older his uncle, Bishop Nicholas, ordained him to be a priest in their local church. Not long after Nicholas’ parents had passed away and he received their fortune. He distributed the money and even property to those who were in need of his help. Despite him being young, he soon earned a reputation for his kindness and wisdom throughout his city. 

How Saint Nicholas Came to Be

Years later, after St. Nicholas became a priest, he met a man with 3 daughters. Once wealthy, although ended up losing his fortunes and his basic needs, such as food, were running out due to his lack of money.

Nicholas found out about the situation that the man was in and decided to start helping him by throwing bags of gold into the man’s house. When the man woke up and saw the bags, his faith in God got stronger, and he fell on his knees and thanked God. The next morning, the man was met with another bag full of gold. On the 3rd day, the man wanted to know who was doing all of this for him, so he didn’t sleep at night. As soon as he heard the bag of gold hitting the floor, the man rushed out of his house and caught up with the person who was responsible for this. To his surprise, it was Nicholas. The man fell on his knees and bowed to him. Nicholas blessed him and vanished into the air. 

He supposed continued with these selfless and generous actions, helping others all around the world. 

The Takeover of Santa Claus

The story of St. Nicholas inspired people to create the image of Santa today, but how did the idea of Santa Claus

Above is a picture of what St. Nicholas is perceived as now. Also known as Santa Claus.

spread? Well, it started when the Dutch came to New York and transported the legend of St. Nicholas in conjunction with giving gifts to children on December 6th. 

The design of Santa came from the cartoonist, Thomas Nast, published in the article “Harper’s Weekly”, in 1863. The image of Santa started to spread throughout America, and by 1931 the image of Santa started to appear on the very popular Coca Cola brand. 

Nowadays, people say that Santa lives in the North Pole with his wife, Mrs. Claus, making toys for kids with his helpers, the elfs. With those gifts, he rides around the world in his sleigh that is drawn by his eight reindeer. They stop by each child’s house, getting in through the chimney, and put gifts under the tree. In exchange for the gifts, Santa receives milk and cookies, left out for him to enjoy. 

In conclusion, St. Nicholas represents generosity as he teaches us by example: giving to those who are in need. He is an influential part of most people’s childhoods and brings joy to this day. 

Works Cited

  • Finley, John “Meet the Real Saint Nicholas” ( December, 2001.
  • “The History of St. Nicholas, Santa Claus & Father Christmas” (
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