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Santa Claus

Every year he is here again, first appearing months before Christmas. Santa Claus, the most popular figure around Christmas time, has to be dealt with as you please, but be good to little innocent onces.

Santa Topics from many Sources

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
  - Clement Clarke Moore, "The Night Before Christmas"

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew.
 - Clement Clarke Moore, "The Night Before Christmas" (3)

Santa is very jolly because he knows where all the bad girls live. [Dennis Miller]

I think Santa Claus is a woman. [NN]

Nobody shoots at Santa Claus. [Samuel Butler] (5)

Q: What nationality is Santa Claus?
A: North Polish.

The cure, of course is to simply ignore it . . . [Quentin Crisp about that inflated, commercialised Christmas]

Santa is even-tempered. Santa does not hit children over the head who kick him. . . . Santa does not borrow money from store employees. Santa wears a good deodorant. [Jenny Zink (To employees of Western Temporary Services, the earth's largest supplier of Santa Clauses, NY Times Nov 21, 1984)]

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. [Francis Pharcellus Church, "The Sun" Sept 21, 1897]

Interviewer: Do you believe more in Santa Claus or in God?
Eero Huovinen, Finnish bishop: I believe in both but in a different way.

Orientation

One way to deal with Santa in the West is to celebrate Christmas according to Russian tradition. In it, Christmas starts on January 7, due to calendary mishmash of former times, and before January 7 there may be large sales and money to save in the West. You can still celebrate winter solstice (Yule) with family and friends and good food, perhaps toning down the food and gift orgies - and go for useful presents on sale right after December 26 or so. That could be a fit way to "deal with Santa", who is overweight (overgrown - speaking of the celebration) and may have some light post-Christmas depressions in the winter darkness wherever he stays.

You have found out that Santa is a fantasy figure and a token of the commercialised, winter solstice (ca. 21 December), and that there is no historical evidence that neither Santa nor Jesus were born at Christmas time: As the hold of the church on the masses gave way to business and mercantile interests, Santa came into power and todays seems to rule Christmas in the West, at least in supermarkets there. To deal with these primitive outgrowths of profit-doomed commercialism, bear with the innocent ones - prime targets - and play it safe.

In December 2008, Norwegian newspapers wrote three times more about Santa than Jesus, according to Cyberwatcher. Its daily leader comments "The commercial part of Christmas has still a greater appeal than the religious one." [▾Link]

The commercialism of winter solstice and what is added to it, it is best to stay away from it.

Santa Claus, a Historical Survey

Santa Claus has been a traditional patron of Christmas in several countries. At the back of his image is a Christian saint from the 300s AD, St. Nicolas. Nothing certain is known of the life of him except that he was probably bishop of Myra (in what is now Turkey) at the time. According to tradition, he became bishop of Myra after returning to Lycia from extensive travels. He attended the first Council (325) of Nicaea.

After his death he was buried in his church at Myra, and his shrine become well known as centuries went by. In 1087, plundering Normans and Italians stole his alleged remains from Myra and took them to Bari, Italy, and this greatly increased the saint's popularity. Nicholas' relics remain enshrined in the 11th-century basilica of San Nicola, Bari.

Nicholas' reputation for generosity and kindness serves our understanding that is was something rare among the bishops.

In the Middle Ages, devotion to Nicholas spread over Europe. He became the patron saint of pawnbrokers and unmarried girls and much else; and of such cities as Moscow. Thousands of European churches were dedicated to him.

After the Reformation, Nicholas' cult disappeared in the Protestant countries of Europe except Holland. There his legend persisted as Sinterklaas. Dutch colonists took this tradition with them to New Amsterdam (now New York City) in the American colonies in the 1600s. Sinterklaas was stepwise adopted as an English-speaking Santa Claus, a kindly old man linked to old Nordic folktales of a wizard who punish naughty children and reward good children with presents.

The resulting image of Santa Claus crystallized in the 1800s by the help of a Dutch artist who first drew him in his usual red and bordered Christmas costume, and he has since remained the patron of the gift-giving festival of Christmas; it may turn into the buying-spree season as well.

In the United Kingdom Santa Claus is known as Father Christmas. [Britannica, s.v. "Santa Claus"]

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Santa Claus quotations, Santa quotes, Julenisse citations, Literature  

Santa Claus - Claus is derived from Nicholas, and Santa from 'Saint' - has inspired many dozens of books of fiction and poems, including Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, Is there a Santa Claus?, The Thin Santa Claus, A Captured Santa Claus and Santa Claus' Daughter. You may find all of them and many more at www.archive.org.

St. Nicholas was Christian bishop in antiquity, in a place that is now in Turkey. He stood out among other bishops and Christians as a giver . . .

When he died, he was buried, and there his bones rested until Norman merchants of southern Italy robbed the dead saint's bones as relics and carried them to Italy.

In time, the legend grew and blended an European farm pixie with St. Nicholas into Santa Claus who travelled through the sky very much like a god and folklore giant in a sleigh drawn by flying animals. But unlike them, he is won't to bring gifts down through the chimneys or bring them in a bag with a mask over his head. And the last version is perhaps the one that first gives away who the family's Santa is to the children - "It is a wise child who knows his father," is often fit her.

Todays Santas serves mechantile sprees and supermarkets around Christmas-time, and large companies that like to be associated with the season. Santa serves as a seasonal Coca-Cola-bringer, for example.

Twig

William Shepard Walsh. The Story of Santa Klaus: Told for Children of All Ages from Six to Sixty. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 1909. – Online at www.archive.org. ⍽▢⍽ Facts are in it.

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