Santa Claus, originally referred to as St. Nicholas or Kris Kringle, is believed to be born around 280 A.D., according to the article “The Definitive History of Santa Claus” published by Coca-Cola Australia. The story of St. Nicholas originated from a man who was celebrated for the generosity he had toward children. This generosity contributed to the much of the folklore around Santa; such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and stories like The Night Before Christmas.
Each year St. Nicholas was honored during the Feast of Saint Nicholas. Parents would leave gifts out for their children, who believed that St. Nicholas gave them a visit during the night every year. Kids today leave out a glass of milk with some cookies for Santa and his reindeer, in hopes that he would visit them.
St. Nicholas made his move to America towards the end of the 18th century, according to the article “Santa Claus: Real Origins & Legend” published by A&E Television Networks. A New York newspaper had reported that groups of Dutch families were gathering to honor the anniversary of St. Nicholas’s death.
The name Santa Claus came from Nick’s Dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas. In 1809, Washington Irving popularized Sinter Klaas’s stories in his book, The history of New York. His image grew from here and started to be recognized around the world. People yearly gathered to hand out gifts around Christmas time to celebrate St. Nicholas, now known as Santa Claus.
Emilie Cain – News and Opinion Editor