The Legend of Santa Claus

By: Kyersten Gett

There is a famous man that comes and visits us each year on December, 25th. We know him as Santa Claus, he delivers presents to every boy and girl on Christmas eve so that when we wake up in the morning there are happy spirits to see all of the brand new gifts that we have asked for, by mailing our letters to the North Pole. There are many songs that are made about Santa Claus that we blare all December getting into the spirit of Christmas. But who and why is there a Santa Claus? How did this tradition come to be?

The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas was born around 280 A.D. in Patera, near Myra, now known as Turkey. Nicholas was very much known for his piety and kindness. St. Nicholas’s parents died when he was a young child. Nicholas inherited a great amount of his parents’ money which he would use to give to the sick and poor. Nicholas would help the needy tremendously which is why he was so admired. St. Nicholas died from his imprisonment and subsequently died at the hands of the Roman Emperor, Diocletian. After his death, the legend of gift giving grew. The much-loved figure that we associate with the Christmas holiday came to be known simply as "Santa Claus." In 1881, cartoonist Thomas Nast drew on Moore's poem to create the first likeness that matches our modern image of Santa Claus. His cartoon, which appeared in Harper's Weekly, depicted Santa as a rotund, cheerful man with a full, white beard, holding a sack laden with toys for lucky children. Although that we connect “Santa” to December 25th, there is no real research to connect him to that date.

As we wake up on Christmas it is important to understand the true meaning of Christmas. Sometimes gift giving is better than receiving.