Posts made in November, 2010


“S” is for Santa


Posted By on Nov 8, 2010

“Mom, is Santa real?” Oh, I knew the questioned had been brewing for awhile.  My 8 year old son was too logical, too “how does it work?” to not question magic.

The origins for the Santa Claus story are most commonly traced back to Saint Nicholas.  St. Nicholas was a 4th Century Bishop who was generous to the poor of the Byzantine, Anatolia province.  However, many cultures have similar theme folklore and characters including: German, Dutch and Nordic.  The name Santa Claus is derived from the Dutch name “sinterklaas.”

"Merry Old Santa Claus", by Thomas Nast published in Harper's Weekly Jan 1, 1881

The most common depiction of Santa Claus is based on an 1881 illustration by English illustrator Thomas Nast.  Some believe the 8 flying reindeer are based on Sleipnir, Odin’s 8 legged flying horse in Germanic folklore.  The tradition of hanging stockings from the mantle can be traced to Odin and Sleipnir as well.  Children would fill their boots with food and leave them by the chimney for Sleipnir.  St. Nicholas is said to have left gifts in stockings as well.  The Christmas Tree is a mix of traditions with Pagan ritual, German traditions and Christian symbolism.

“Well honey, Santa isn’t a man that comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve.  But he is real…”

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