Father Christmas- Santa Claus or more accurately Saint Nicholas was a bishop at Myra (in modern day Turkey) in the 4th century AD. Now don’t think of some poor hermit just cause you see saint in front of his name. In fact, saint Nicholas was a very rich man, who inherited a huge amount of wealth at a very young age. He was known to be a very kind person, who helped out poor people. There are several legends behind that. But we don’t have any historical proof or any other way of finding the authenticity of the stories.
Children mostly associate Santa Claus with the custom of hanging stockings to get presents on Christmas morning. However that story begins like this- There was once a poor man, who couldn’t afford to pay dowry for his daughters’ weddings. So one day, Nicholas dropped a bag of gold down the chimney of the old man’ house. The bag fell into a stocking that had been hung by the fire to dry. After doing this for the first 2 daughter’s marriage dowry, the father sat by the fire for the third time, when he caught Nicholas giving the bag of gold. So when the news got out, whenever anyone got a secret gift, it was thought that Nicholas had done it. His kindness made him a saint- not just for children but also for sailors. He was credited to have saved sailors from storms as well. He was put in prison during Roman emperor Diocletian’s persecution. He was thought to have died in either 345 AD or 352 AD.
It was only in 1087 that his bones were smuggled out of Turkey by Italian merchants & is now kept at a church named after him in Bari, Italy. St Nicholas Day is celebrated on 6th December. His influence among sailors was so great that it is said in 1066, before he sailed to conquer England, William the Conqueror prayed to St. Nicholas. Even though St. Nicholas lost his popularity in the 16th century after the reformation, it was revived during the Victorian era when writers, poets & artists began to dug up old stories. Gradually with time, the Father Christmas of UK & Santa Claus of America became more & more alike till they became one & the same person. Other legends like those of Rudolph & Santa Claus living in the North Pole became popular as well. Some legends like travelling through sky on sledge pulled by reindeer & coming through chimney became so popular, that they are being accepted through all cultures alike.
Santa Claus became so popular that the Santa Claus in red outfit was claimed to have been first designed by Coca-Cola in a classic ‘Coke Santa’ ad in 1931. However this claim is being contested by several sources. In fact the big fat Santa in red suit is said to have been developed by Thomas Nast back in the 1860s. However, Coca-Cola has definitely become an important part of recent Christmas history.
What’s more important is that you don’t have to worry about your children & family getting gifts in Christmas from Santa. You don’t even have to go Christmas shopping. Just order from an online gift delivery site & the gifts will be delivered to your doorstep at amazingly affordable prices at the time of your choosing.