The Origin of Santa Claus

Is he what we make of him today?

Santa Claus is a well known jolly man dating all the way back to the 1400s. But how did a Christian Saint (Bishop Nicholas) turn into a jolly fat man who brings children presents around the world?

Who is Bishop Nicholas?

Patron Saint

Saint Nicholas is the saint of the people, social classes, cities, churches, and even countries. Though in France he is most known as the patron saint of children. He is also considered the patron saint of sailors and ships in other parts of the world. Bishop Nicholas' third category of patronage is the wrongly accused and prisoners. It reveals the love of justice in Bishop Nicholas and how he understands what true justice is.

How did 'Bishop Nicholas' turn into 'Santa Claus'?

The Americans

After the American Revolution, people felt a sense of identity. They decided to look to their Dutch roots and found St. Nicholas. Seeing this as a good opportunity, they created St. Nicholas to fit their own image. They made December 24 into St. Nicholas Day and said he gave presents to children and came down the fireplace. Thus, the present-giving Santa Claus was born.

Not your Average Christmas Gathering

During the 19th Century, Christmas took a turn for the worse. 'Spirited' people took to the streets and had a rambunctious celebration for Santa Claus. This was not the 'sitting around the fire with the family' type of get-together. Alcohol was everywhere, shop windows were broken, and Christmas really didn't have that 'family' feel.

The Return of Santa Claus!

Soon, childrens books were being made. One's that showed St. Nicholas in a sleigh being pulled by 8 reindeer and his big belly jiggling. This is where the name 'Santa Claus' came from. Then, once the poem "The Night Before Christmas" came out, Santa Claus' image was officially made.

Further Reading

To find out more, go to, which is where I found all of my information.

A Little About me

I'm Montana, and a student of Lugoff Elgin High School. Truthfully, the only reason I did this was because it was extra credit.