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How Did Santa Claus Come To Be

Updated on October 23, 2016

Santa Claus

By Sander van der Wel from Netherlands
By Sander van der Wel from Netherlands | Source

Only God is eternal so when did Santa Claus start? When did this great, giving Christmas Character come to Be? Over many years Saint Nicholas's name was changed to Santa Claus in many countries. In the 4th century, Saint Nicholas was a bishop in the church.

Asia Minor was where Saint Nicholas was born and as time went by he moved to Myra which is Demre in modern Turkey. Here he became a bishop. Between 326 and 341AD he died on December 6th.

By unknown (painting) / Antonio Entrena Aznarte Public Domain
By unknown (painting) / Antonio Entrena Aznarte Public Domain | Source

Saint Nicholas was a very generous person. During the time he lived a woman had to have a dowry to give to the man she was marrying. We do not have this custom because we believe men and women are equal. Saint Nicholas wanted to help a nobleman who had three daughters but he did not want anyone to know. He did not want any thanks for his deed. The nobleman had three bags of gold thrown through his window for his daughter's dowries. The nobleman found out where the gold for his daughter's dowries came from anyway. From this time on anonymous gifts were often credited to Saint Nicholas.

Saint Nicolas was put in prison for several years because of his religion.

The Dutch settlers that settled in New York brought the stories about Saint Nicholas with them. Saint Nicholas has gone through many changes throughout the years.

In the early years, he wore his Bishop robes. He started being dressed in the red and white suit in the 20th century and he was Santa Claus.

During the Christmas season, Jesus is also known as Christ, and Messiah is the most important person in the Christmas season. We remember Saint Nicholas because he gave gifts so we give gifts at Christmas. Saint Nicholas helps the poor so during Christmas we sometimes help the poor.

We have now made Santa Claus to commercial because we no longer remember his historical beginning. We now sometimes forget the people that need our help. Children have been the center of gift giving at Christmas since the 19th century. The stores started advertising items for Christmas in 1820. Newspapers started devoting separate sections to advertising Christmas gifts in 1840. The advertisement usually had pictures of the popular Santa Claus. Stores started hiring men to dress ;up like Santa Clause to attract children and their parents.

In the 1890s the Salvation Army needed money to buy supplies for the free Christmas dinners they gave to poor families. The Salvation Army started putting unemployed men dressed in red and white Santa suits on the streets of New York to get donations. Salvation Army Santa's dressed in their red and white suits have been ringing their bells on street corners in American cities ever since during the holiday season.

Our present day Santa Clause owes his beginning to Saint Nicholas.


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    • norlawrence profile imageAUTHOR

      Norma Lawrence 

      2 years ago from California

      Thanks for comment FourishAnyway. I do not know if they really hired either. If they were it would have been a great idea.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      2 years ago from United Kingdom

      I always see these Salvation Army Santas in the run up to Christmas. It's good to know how it all started.

    • norlawrence profile imageAUTHOR

      Norma Lawrence 

      2 years ago from California

      Thanks DreamerMeg I agree with Christmas being to commercial. I still like the holidays.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      2 years ago from USA

      I didn't know about the unemployed men being hired as Santa bell ringers. I enjoyed this seasonal hub. I'm ready for Christmas!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      2 years ago from sunny Florida

      Wishing you a lovely Christmas this year.

      Angels are on the way to you ps

    • DreamerMeg profile image


      2 years ago from Northern Ireland

      It's odd, I know Christmas is too commercial these days, yet I love Christmas. It's good to remember how Saint Nicholas was the prototype for Santa Claus and think about how we can help more unfortunate people and families at this time.


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