Is that you? Santa Claus?
Who is Santa Claus? Where did his story begin? Why does he have so many different names? As a company that specializes in online education, we felt it was our duty to learn and share.
Below, you’ll find a more detailed timeline of some additional Santa-related events. Do you have more to add to the story? What are your Christmas traditions? We’d love to hear in our comments below.
The Santa Timeline
|1||Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, and the gift-giving began as a remembrance of the 3 wise kings who came from the east to give gifts to the Christ child. To this day, many Catholic countries celebrate 3 Kings Day in the beginning of January as their primary gift-giving day.|
|280||Saint Nicholas is born. He did not live in North Pole, but was a Greek bishop in present-day Turkey. He was known for many miracles and for his generosity, particularly to children. In one story, he visited a poor man at night, and anonymously threw 3 purses of gold in his window.|
|900||Catholic church canonizes Saint Nicholas (he becomes an official Saint). Over the years he had become the symbolic “gift giver” of winter celebrations.|
|1600s||After the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther’s followers declared that Saint Nicholas was detracting from the true meaning of Christmas. They soon adopted their own “gift-giving” figure called the Kristkindt (Christ Child), an angelic child who went from house to house quizzing kids on their bible knowledge. Fun, huh? Mothers declared that the Kristkindt was too young to travel alone, so they brought back Saint Nicholas.|
|1600s||Dutch Immigrants brought with them the legend of Sinterklaas, a figure who rides the roof tops upon a white horse, has a long beard, and visits houses with his mischevious black-faced helpers. Children would place boots filled with carrots or sugar (treats for the horse) near the chimney.|
|1770s||After the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870|
|1809||in his book “A History of New York,” Washington Irving wrote about Saint Nicholas riding into town on a horse. 3 years later, he revised the book to include Nicholas riding over the trees in a wagon.|
|1822||Clement Clarke Moore writes “The Night Before Christmas” in which Saint Nick is portrayed as an elf with a miniature sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer.|
|1860||From the 1860s through the 1890s, reknowned illustrator Thomas Nast created Santa images for Harper’s Magazine. He also created posters of Santa sitting with Union soldiers during the Civil War, which demoralized the Confederate army.|
|1920s||The image of Santa has been standardized to what we still picture today — a bearded, overweight, jolly man dressed in a red suit.|
|1931||Haddon Sundblom illustrated a series of Santa images to advertise Coca-Cola. Coke Christmas ads continue to this day.|
|1939||Writer Robert L. May created a poem about Rudolph, the ninth reindeer, who was teased by the other reindeer because of his slight build and shiny nose. 10 years later Johnny Marks wrote the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which became one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time.|