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Just Who is Santa Claus, Anyway? The History of Santa Claus (Photos Included)

By Monica Bielanko |

The man, the myth, the legend...

Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle or simply “Santa” is a legendary figure who, in many Western cultures, brings gifts to the homes of the good children on Christmas.

You know this.  But did you know how the American version of Santa Claus came to be?

The American version of Santa Claus – and the world that surrounds him including Mrs Claus, Rudolph and the North Pole – is a combination of a historical figure, many different legends, the work of American writers and illustrators and yes, the advertising creations of corporations.

Click onward to see how what we currently know as Christmas and the legend of Santa Claus came to be.  After reading this, you’ll be prepared to answer any and all childrens’ questions about who Santa Claus really is and where he comes from.

It all started with a man who lived 1,700 years ago in what we now know as Turkey…

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The History of Santa Claus (Photos Included)

Bishop Nicholas

Bishop Nicholas lived in 4th century A.D. (1,700 years ago) in Smyrna, which is now Turkey. Nick was known for his generosity and love of children. It is said that he was wealthy and would often cheer up poor children by throwing gifts in through their windows.
Image: A Medieval fresco depicting St. Nicholas from Wikipedia


You can find Monica Bielanko on her personal blog, The Girl Who.

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About Monica Bielanko


Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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10 thoughts on “Just Who is Santa Claus, Anyway? The History of Santa Claus (Photos Included)

  1. Melissa says:

    I loved this post – very interesting!

  2. Monica Bielanko says:

    Thank you! I had a good time researching and writing it!

  3. Manjari says:

    I like this post, too.

  4. MrsK says:

    Very interesting!!

  5. G says:

    A lady at my church decided to share the story of “The Real Santa Claus” without warning. Parents were pretty mad.

  6. MonicaBielanko says:

    @Linda, T.O.O. – That’s awesome. I have every Sedaris book ever written. Love him. Ever read Augusten Burroughs?

  7. Linda, t.o.o. says:

    Yes, I love Burroughs, as well. My main holiday gift for my daughter is 2nd row tix to see D.S. at our symphony hall. We went last year, but we were way up in the balcony and he looked about a centimeter tall. Super excited about that.

  8. h.e.y. says:

    very cool – thanks!

  9. Casper says:

    Located you web site through google I must say I m fascinated with your content!

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