How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus


In the sixteenth century in northern Europe, after the reform, the histories and traditions about San Nicolás became unpopular.

But someone had to deliver gifts to children at Christmas, so in the UK, particularly in England, he became “Santa Claus” or “Christmas of the old man”, an ancient character of stories during the Middle Ages in the United Kingdom and parts of the north. Europe. In France, it was known as ‘Père Nöel’.


In some countries, including parts of Austria and Germany, the current donor became the “Christkind”, a baby with golden hair, with wings, symbolizing the newborn baby Jesus.

In the early United States, his name was “Kris Kringle” (from Christkind). Later, the Dutch settlers in the United States took away the old stories of St. Nicholas and Kris Kringle and St. Nicholas became “Sinterklaas” or as we now say “Santa Claus”

1881 illustration by Thomas Nast who, along with Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas", helped to create the modern image of Santa Claus.

1881 illustration by Thomas Nast who, along with Clement Clarke Moore’s 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, helped to create the modern image of Santa Claus. (Source :

Many countries, especially those in Europe, celebrate Saint Nicholas Day on December 6th. In Holland and some other European countries, children leave clogs or shoes on December 5 (San Nicolás Eva) to fill with gifts. They also believe that if they leave some hay and carrots in their shoes for the Sinterklaas horse, they will have some sweets left.


St. Nicholas once again became popular in the Victorian era when writers, poets and artists rediscovered the old stories.

In 1823 the famous poem ‘Una visita de San Nicolás’ or’ T ‘was published the night before Christmas’. Dr. Clement Clarke Moore later claimed that he had written it for his children. (Some scholars now believe that it was actually written by Henry Livingston, Jr., who was a distant relative of Dr. Moore’s wife). The poem describes San Nicolás with eight reindeer and gives them their names. They became well known in the song ‘Rudolph the Red noseed Reindeer’, written in 1949. Do you know the eight names? Click on Rudolph’s nose to find out!

Did you know that the other reindeer of Rudolph and Santa could be all girls?

Only the female reindeer keeps its antlers throughout the winter. For the Christmas season, most males have discarded their antlers and are saving their energy to grow a new pair in the spring.

The United Kingdom Santa Claus and the American Santa Claus became more and more similar over the years and now they are the same. Some people say that Santa lives in the North Pole. In Finland, they say that he lives in the northern part of his country called Lapland.

But everyone agrees that he travels through the sky on a sleigh pulled by reindeer, enters houses by the fireplace at night and places gifts for children in socks or bags by their beds, in front of the family Christmas tree . or by the fireplace.

Most children receive their gifts on Christmas Eve or early Christmas, but in some countries they receive their gifts on the eve of San Nicolás, on December 5.


Saint Nicholas who puts the bag of gold in a stocking is probably where the habit of having a tangerine or satsuma comes from at the bottom of your Christmas stocking. If people could not buy gold, a little golden fruit was a good replacement, and until the last 50 years, they were quite unusual fruits and still so special!

The largest Christmas stocking was 51m 35cm (168ft 5.65in) long and 21m 63cm (70ft 11.57in) wide (from the heel to the toe). It was held on January 5, 2011 in the organization of voluntary emergency services Pubblica Assistenza Carrara e Sezioni (Italy) in Carrara, Tuscany, Italy. Just think how many gifts could fit in that!

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Santa Claus and Coca Cola

There is an urban Christmas legend that says Santa’s red costume was designed by Coca-Cola and that they could even “own” Santa Claus!

This is definitely not true!

Long before coca was invented, San Nicolás had worn his bishop’s red robe. During the Victorian era and before that, he wore a range of colors (red, green, blue and brown), but red was always his favorite!

In January 1863, Harper’s Weekly magazine published the first illustration of Saint Nicholas / Saint Nick by Thomas Nast. In this I wore a suit of ‘Stars and Stripes’! For the next 20 years, Thomas Nast continued to draw Santa Claus every Christmas and his works were very popular (he must have been very good friends with Santa Claus to get good access!).

This is when Santa Claus really began to develop his big belly and the style of red and white dress he wears today. Nast designed Santa’s look at certain historical information about Santa and the poem “A visit from San Nicolás”.

On January 1, 1881, Harper’s Weekly published the image of Nast’s most famous Santa, complete with a big red belly, an arm full of toys and smoking a pipe! This image of Santa became very popular, with more artists drawing Santa in his red and white costume from 1900 to 1930.

Santa Claus was first used in Coca Cola ads in the 1920s, with Santa Claus as Thomas Nast’s drawings. In 1931, the classic ‘Coke Santa’ was drawn by the artist Haddon Sundblom. He took the idea of ​​Nast’s Santa Claus, but he made it even bigger than life and happy, replaced the pipe with a glass of Coca Cola and created the famous Coca with Santa.

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Coca-Cola also agrees that the red suit was popularized by Thomas Nast, not them!

Coca Cola has continued to use Santa in its advertisements since the 1930s. In 1995, they also introduced the ‘Coca-Cola Christmas Truck’ in the TV ads ‘The holidays are coming’. The red truck, covered in lights and with the classic ‘Coke Santa’ on its sides is now a famous part of the recent Christmas story.


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