Ho ho hopefully there aren’t any impressionable eyes reading this story, as it’s going to get real about the man behind the mask… or beard.
Christmas is about friends and family, music, food and, of course, presents.
We give to those we care about because of a long-held tradition of giving around the wintertime, which all started to one very well-known man.
You know him, you love him. You could say he’s even like a Father to you – we’re talking Father Christmas.
Is Santa Claus real?
Despite what non-believers keep spreading – including Cara Delevingne’s mum – he’s obviously real.
Whatever you want to call him – Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, St Nick – Santa is more of an idea shared across cultures than a person.
Santa is the evolution of the premise of giving back, caring for others and being generous during the winter months.
It started around 280A.D. when Saint Nicholas became a famous protector of children and sailors.
It is often told that he gave away his wealth and travelled the countryside helping the poor and sick, leaving little gifts along his way.
When did St Nicholas become Santa Claus?
Around 1773, Dutch families started to celebrate the anniversary of Sinter Klaas (their vernacular for St Nicholas) in New York City. From here, Sinter Klaas started to creep into traditions all over, becoming Santa Claus for English speaking countries.
The account of him being a jolly bringer of gifts was most popularly publicised when an Episcopal minister, Clement Clarke Moore, wrote a poem for his children.
This poem became what we know today as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.’
Why does Santa wear red?
The legend has it that, as always, capitalism was the mother of invention and Coca-Cola created the ubiquitous red-and-white Santa suit.
But the red and white colour scheme belonged to Saint Nicholas pre-Coke.
Saint Nicholas was drawn in robes and suits of different colours over history, and often drawn quite unlike what we think of St Nick today – sometimes depicted as tall, scrawny and even stern-looking.
It was Coca-Cola’s adverts, therefore, that cemented the image of the portly, jolly, white-haired man shared today.
How old is Father Christmas?
The first Christmas was in the year 336, so by that logic he’s 1,683 years old – but we can agree he doesn’t look a day over 1500.
If Santa was an influencer, he could do skincare tutorials.
Like anyone over a certain age, it’s been suggested he might be fibbing about the true number of candles on his birthday cake.
The recorded birth year for Saint Nicholas – the Santa prototype – is around 270CE.
Shaving his beard? Unthinkable. Shaving a few years off his age? Understandable.
Where does Santa live?
Ask any child and they’ll tell you Santa lives in the North Pole.
But the ‘real’ St Nick never got near the North Pole.
Saint Nicholas of Myra, the 4th-century bishop, lived and died far from the Arctic Circle, living in what we now call Turkey.
(But no, this isn’t why we eat turkey on Christmas)
Today, people wanting the Santa’s workshop fantasy actually visit Lapland, Finland.
Does he really know if you’ve been good or bad?
Check under the tree on 25 December to find out that one…
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