The Origin and History of Santa Claus - How Santa Claus got his name! The History of Santa Claus dates back many hundreds of years. The history of Santa Claus started with a man called Nicholas, who became a saint - Saint Nicholas, the Patron Saint of children. The Feast of Sinterklaas, or St. Nicholas, is celebrated by the Dutch on December 6th. On the eve of his feast day (December 5th) Sinterklaas is celebrated by exchanging gifts. The evening is called "sinterklaasavond" and is especially for children. In America Sinterklaas developed into the name of Santa Claus.
Origin and History of Santa Claus - Sinterklaas or Sinter Klaas The modern traditions and history associated with the Dutch Sinterklaas are believed to originate from the illustrated children's book ‘Sint Nicolaas en zijn knecht’ (Saint Nicholas and his helper) which was written in 1850 by a schoolteacher named Jan Schenkman (1806–1863). This book introduced the concept of Sinterklaas delivering presents through the chimney and riding the roofs of houses.
Picture of Saint Nicholas giving Sinterklaas gifts to children
Origin and History of Santa Claus - Washington Irving Washington Irving is best known for his short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle". The legendary figure and icon that we now know as Santa Claus was influenced by various authors, poets and illustrators. In 1812 the American author named Washington Irving (1783 – 1859) wrote 'A History of New York' in which he included a dream sequence which featured St. Nicholas soaring over treetops in a flying wagon, an American departure, by Washington Irving, from Sinterklaas or Sinter Klaas.
Origin and History of Santa Claus - His coat of many colors It is interesting to note that the very first Santa pictures often depicted him wearing a variety of different color coats including green, blue and mauve.
Origin and History of Santa Claus - Clement Clarke Moore History moved on when other writers started to add to the history of Santa Claus. The famous poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" also known today by its opening line T'was the night before Christmas was written in 1822 by Clement Clarke Moore. In this famous poem St. Nick is described as a "little old driver" riding a "miniature sleigh".
Origin and History of Santa Claus - George P. Webster and Thomas Nast Another huge influence on the origin and history was when the poem 'Santa Claus and his Works' was written by George P. Webster (which also influenced the image of Santa Claus). The imagination of a cartoonist called Thomas Nast added ideas to this poem and changed the image still further. Initially Thomas Nast drew Santa as elf size with a flowing beard, a rotund shape, a fur suit and a clay pipe. Nast then changed the height of Santa changed from elf size to man size but in his picture dated 1881 called 'Merry Old Santa Claus' the Santa picture that we see is now very similar to the the modern day image. Please refer to our section on Santa Pictures for examples of these early pictures of Santa Claus.
Origin and History of Santa Claus - His red suit History moved on when in 1885 a Boston printer named Louis Prang introduced Christmas cards from England to America and in 1885 one of his Christmas cards featured a red-suited Santa Claus. The modern day depiction or picture of Santa Claus wearing a red coat became standard in the 1920's.
Origin and History of Santa Claus - Haddon H. Sundblom and Coca Cola History moved on when in 1931 an illustrator named Haddon H. Sundblom started working for the Coca-Cola company. From 1931 - 1964 he produced Santa pictures every Christmas depicting Santa in his red coat as part of the Coca-Cola Christmas advertising campaigns. These Santa pictures by Haddon H. Sundblom captured the merry spirit of Christmas, caught the imagination of the public and added to the History of Santa Claus.
The History of Santa Claus
Origin and History of Santa Claus
History of Saint Nicholas, the Patron Saint of children
History of How Santa Claus got his name!
Origin and History of Sinterklaas or Sinter Klaas
History of Washington Irving
Origin and History of Santa's coat of many colors
History of Clement Clarke Moore - T'was the night before Christmas
History of George P. Webster and Thomas Nast - Santa Claus and his Works
History of Haddon H. Sundblom and Coca Cola
Origin and History of Santa Claus
History of Santa Claus
"Merry Christmas, have a happy and prosperous New Year!"