Christmas holds a special charm for kids, hanging out stockings with wish lists and staying up till midnight waiting for Santa Claus to come and give those presents is what Christmas is all about. I am sure you can all relate to this, during childhood or even in adulthood, finding a present under the Christmas tree is the brightest delight of Christmas mornings. Life was simpler when we believed Santa existed in reality, but I think we can all agree that the look of pure joy and wonder upon a child’s face when he or she finds the gifts left by Santa the night before Christmas makes the idea of a Santa Claus seem like a beautiful reality. So have you all ever wondered who was it that invented this idea of Santa Claus, how this white-bearded man with a round belly and wearing red colour costumes came into existence? Let us try to find out a little bit about Santa Claus then.
The legends: Around 280 AD, there lived a monk named St. Nicholas who was born in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey. The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to the monk, St. Nicholas who was much admired for his piety and kindness. He was believed to have given away all his wealth that he inherited and he helped the poor and sick by travelling in the countryside. The most famous story about St. Nicholas is how he had saved three sisters from being sold into slavery by their father, by providing them with the dowry so that they could be married. There are many such incidents about the life of St. Nicholas which show his charitable nature and therefore, it would not be wrong to believe that the idea of Santa Claus was in fact inspired by the legend of St. Nicholas.
Evolving of the idea of Santa Claus: Sinter Klaas was the Dutch nickname of St. Nicholas; it was the shortened version of the name Saint Nikolaas (Dutch for Saint Nicholas). Therefore, the name Santa Claus evolved from the Dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas, of Saint Nicholas. A member of the Historical Society of New York, John Pintard distributed woodcuts of Saint Nicholas at the annual meeting of the society in the year 1804. These woodcuts first established the idea about hanging stockings filled with toys and fruits. Clement Clark Moore wrote a long Christmas poem for his three daughters with the title, “An account of a visit from St. Nicholas”, in the year 1822. In this poem, he created the ideas of Santa Claus as a “jolly old elf” with a round figure who flew around from place to place during Christmas Eve giving presents to children in a miniature sleigh which was led by eight flying reindeers. Thomas Nast, a political cartoonist, drawing inspiration from Moore’s poem created an image of the Santa Claus in 1881, the very first one that gave life to the modern-day Santa Claus we see today, a round-bellied old man with floating white beard carrying presents for children.
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This was a brief outline of the history of Santa Claus and I hope it helped you to know that from where and how the idea of Santa Claus evolved. So while the kids hang out their stockings with their wish lists in them and wait for Santa Claus to bring them gifts, I guess your most precious gift would be the wonderful smile on their faces when they receive those gifts. Nothing in this world is as precious as an innocent smile on a child’s face and Santa Claus brings them the gift of happiness and brings us the gift of their joyous laughter.