Ruby Caldwell here, owner of Holiday Cheer, which puts on Santa School to train Santa and his Busy Elves! I’m the keeper of all Santa lore in Christmas Town. Here are some fun facts to drop at your holiday party this year.
- The legend of Santa Claus might have begun with a monk named St. Nicholas, who was much admired for his piety and kindness. Some believe this St. Nick gave away his wealth and traveled about helping the poor and sick, particularly children. Over time, St. Nicholas’s popularity spread, and he became known as the protector of children and sailors. Could this be the source of our modern day Santa?
- With the Christianization of Germanic Europe, numerous traditions were absorbed from Yuletide celebrations into modern Christmas. One of which was the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the sky. The leader of the wild hunt is the god Wodan (Norse Odin), the old blue-hooded, cloaked, white-bearded Giftbringer of the north, who rode the midwinter sky on his eight-footed steed Sleipnir, visiting his people with gifts. Who knew Santa could wield an ax?
- Prior to 1931, Santa was often depicted as either a tall gaunt man or a spooky-looking elf. In existing images prior to 1931, he’s donned a bishop’s robe and a Norse huntsman’s animal skin. Civil war cartoonist Thomas Nast is credited with giving Santa Claus his red coat in 1862. However, Coca-Cola would like to take credit for giving us the jolly old elf of modern times and their ads seem to support they influenced us all. Who doesn’t remember Santa holding a bottle of Coca-Cola?
- Santa is from the North Pole. Everyone knows that. But do you know that over the last few years he’s established hubs all around the world to make sure toys get delivered on time? He’s got more elf-based distribution centers than Amazon! Is there a building near you that seems magically mysterious? It might be your local toy shop!