Santa Claus and Christmas share an inseparable relationship like a sugar and candies. However, Santa Claus shouldn’t be reduced to the understanding of a mere gift giving old man clothed in red. Santa Claus is derived from the Dutch holiday-figure Sinter Klaas, who was inspired by Saint Nicholas. The concept of Santa was brought to the Americas by the European settlers in the 17th century. The gradual onset of Santa Claus into the American culture happened over the years and reached its peak in the twentieth century.
The demeanor of Santa Claus, how he acts and behaves and various other nuances were incorporated through the time as poets and writers kept contributing to the image of the Santa that we know now. The transition of Santa from an elf to a human figure happened over the course of 19th century, as his image developed into the man who has the list of all the children in the world and their deeds that classifies them as good or bad and eventually decides the gift the kid would be receiving. Thomas Nast, the writer who wrote for Harpers Magazine in the late 19th century, wrote about the base of Santa being in North Pole. Santa was earlier referred to as an elf but it soon became obsolete and the elves were reduced to the position of workers in Santa’s toy factory.
Various advertisements over the time have contributed to the image of the Santa we know now, the red color of his dress and the significance of Rudolph were all part of major advertisement campaigns. However, there are some mythical roots that Santa has that make him a conglomeration of various mythical figures from the past and from different traditions. The main figure that Santa has evolved from is Saint Nicholas, who used to toss coins through the window and chimneys, thus the modern rendition of Saint Nicholas enters through chimneys to drop by gifts for children as they are asleep. Saint Nicholas was traditionally heralded as the ‘miracle worker’ who brought happiness to the lives of the poor and the down-trodden and also children. He held a glorious position in the eyes of various Churches.