The Santa Claus Origin Story (Video)

He’s making a list,
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice.
Santa Claus is coming to town.

Dutch, German, British, Danish…

By now, most of us know about the story of Santa Claus and how he is able to miraculously make his way all the way around the world in a single night, delivering toys to all the good boys and girls of the world. However, most of us don’t really know how this magical bearded elf from the North Pole came to be in the first place.

What’s interesting is that our current understanding of Santa Claus is really the mish-mash of several different legends and traditions. The Dutch had a guy named Sinterklaas and he was dressed like a bishop. The character of Sinterklaas was inspired by the very real Saint Nicholas of Myra. And then there are the Scandinavian stories of an elf coming down chimneys, plus the character of Father Christmas from Great Britain. There are German folk stories that mirror Santa too.

Coke Invented Santa, Didn’t They?

Interestingly enough, Father Christmas traditionally wore a robe of green, along with a wreath on his head, and he was more interested in drinks and partying than giving presents to kids. And while there is an urban legend that Coca-Cola “invented” our contemporary perspective on Santa Claus, that’s just a convenient branding ploy by Coca-Cola using the company’s red and white color scheme. That’s worked out well for the soda maker.

So, how did Santa Claus come to be? A great video has been posted by CGPGrey on YouTube that provides a brief history of Santa. We learn about his multicultural heritage, how he gained Canadian citizenship, and how the Finns lay claim to having Santa’s workshop within their borders.

Yes, I suppose this video is a little more informative than my video of an Xbox Avatar burping Jingle Bells. It’s debatable whether it’s any more entertaining.

Merry Christmas!