Santa Claus Lived in Turkey!
How Did St. Nicholas Become Santa Claus and Father Christmas?
You’ve been celebrating Christmas every year since you were a tiny baby, but do you have any idea who the real St. Nicholas was or how “Santa Claus” came to be?
St. Nicholas was actually a bishop who lived in Turkey a very, very long time ago; in the 4th century AD to be exact. Both of his parents died when he was quite young, which is the bad news – but they left him a lot of money, which is the good news. Besides being incredibly rich, St. Nicholas was also incredibly nice and would often use his wealth to help those less fortunate. In fact, he was known for giving secret gifts to people who were in need of them.
There are many stories about St. Nick learn more here – although it’s hard to tell which are true and which are strictly folklore. Here’s a story about how the custom of hanging stockings by the tree came to be, and it sure would be neat if it were true:
The story goes there was a very poor man who lived in town, and this man had three daughters, none of whom could get married because the man couldn’t afford the dowry. So, as the story goes, one night St. Nicholas climbed onto the roof and dropped a bag of gold coins down the chimney, which meant the oldest daughter could marry. The bad of gold apparently fell into a stocking that had been hung by the fire. This same thing happened again with the second daughter, and finally, wanting to know who was giving him the gold, the father waited by the fire every night until the third bag dropped down and he “caught” St. Nick in the act.
So how did this very giving St. Nicholas become Santa Claus? It seems that for some rather unexplained reason, stories about good ol’ St. Nicholas went out of fashion eventually – your guess is as good as mine as to why this would occur. But, somebody still had to be responsible for delivering all of those gifts to children – so in the UK ‘Father Christmas’ was born; in France the same character was known as ‘Père Nöel’, in Germany they called him ‘Christ Kind’. In America this name became ‘Kris Kringle’ and later, when the Dutch settled in the US, Kris Kringle became ‘Sinterklaas’ which, of course, eventually became Santa Claus. What a mouthful!
Whatever you and your family choose to call him, I hope that St. Nick A.K.A. Kris Kringle A.K.A. Santa Claus A.K.A. Father Christmas brings you lots of love and goodies this year!