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Seeing Santa Claus by Thomas Nast Harper's Weekly, 1876 Jan. 1, p. 17.

Seeing Santa Claus by Thomas Nast
Harper’s Weekly, 1876 Jan. 1, p. 17.

Santa Claus has become a famous symbol of gift-giving, supposedly living in the North Pole with his little elves and making presents for all of the good children. This is, of course, not true. But where did this icon come from, and who was the Real Santa Claus?

The Real Santa Claus was St. Nicholas of Myra. Born in 270 and dead by 343, Nicholas was made a Saint because of the miracles he supposedly performed. However, he is best known for giving children money and toys in the night. Not much is known about his life, but he did attend the First Council of Nicaea in 325.

“Santa Claus” was made famous by Thomas Nast, who made many portraits of what Santa Looked like and suggested that he lived in the North Pole. It was famous by the 1870’s, but the 1900’s was when Santa Claus became modern, supposedly listening to children’s wants on his lap in a mall and coming down the chimney with his bag of toys on Christmas Eve. In fact, the creating of Santa Claus took away the real meaning of Christmas: Jesus being born.

There have been some disputes about whether or not to let children believe in such a figure, especially by psychologists and researchers, who point out that believing in imaginary figures could undermine one’s ability to weigh real-world evidence, but I only believed in Santa Claus for a week, so I don’t really know.