Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, or simply Santa, is an allegorical, fictional, or symbolic gift-giving person, based on the historical Saint Nicholas, who distributes presents to sleeping children and adults who have been "good" all year and coal to those who have been "bad" all year; traditionally during the night of December 24, Christmas Eve. Santa Claus is an eminent character in the hearts and minds of millions of children and adults around the world who believe in him. The popular American form Santa Claus originated as a mispronunciation of Dutch Sinterklaas, which is a contracted form of Sint Nicolaas (Saint Nicholas).

Father Christmas is a well-loved figure in many countries and predates the Santa Claus character. Father Christmas is similar in many ways, though the two have quite different origins. Using 'Santa' in places that predominantly call him Father Christmas may be viewed as an Americanism, although they are generally nowadays regarded as the same character. Santa Claus is inexorably tied to Christmas in American culture, but in some cultures, he is not associated with Christmas at all, arriving on a different day (for instance December 6th, St. Nicholas' day) while baby Jesus brings presents on Christmas eve.
* 1 Overview
* 2 Historical origins
* 3 Santa Claus in popular culture
o 3.1 Santa Claus rituals
o 3.2 Ho, ho, ho
o 3.3 Santa Claus's reindeers' names
o 3.4 Santa Claus in film
o 3.5 NASA and Santa Cooperation
o 3.6 NORAD
o 3.7 SantaCon
o 3.8 Santa's Mail
o 3.9 Little Jesus
* 4 Christian opposition to Santa Claus
* 5 See also
o 5.1 Related Topics
o 5.2 Variations of Christmas around the world
o 5.3 Related Figues
* 6 Notes
* 7 External links
* 8 References

Santa Claus is a variation of a Dutch folk tale based on the historical figure Saint Nicholas, a bishop from Myra in Asia Minor (the greater part of modern-day Turkey), who used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. His charity became legend when a man lost his fortune and found himself incapable of supporting his three daughters, who would not be able to find husbands as they lacked dowries. This man was going to give them over to a life of prostitution; however, St Nicholas provided them with gold, enabling them to retain their virginal virtues and marry.
This inspired figure of Sinterklaas, the subject of a major celebration in the Netherlands and Belgium, Germany (where his believed date of death, December 6, is celebrated the evening before on December 5), which in turn inspired both the myth and the name of Santa Claus. "Santa Claus" is actually a mispronunciation of the Dutch word "Sinterklaas" by the English settlers of New Amsterdam (later renamed New York). Whilst in those countries Saint Nicholas is celebrated as a distinct character with a religious touch separate from Christmas, Santa Claus is also making inroads as a symbol during the Christmas season.citation needed

Santa Claus is an example of folklore mythology. He now forms an important part of the Christmas tradition throughout the Western World and Japan and other parts of East Asia.

Santa Claus is traditionally represented in a red cloak with white fur trimmings, a reference to St Nicholas, who reputably performed his charitable acts dressed in his red bishop's robes.

In many Eastern Orthodox traditions, Santa Claus visits children on New Year's Day and is identified with Saint Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Asia Minor (contemporary Turkey), whose memory is celebrated on that day. According to the Greek tradition, he is supposed to visit children and give presents every January 1. This festival is also marked by the baking of Saint Basil's bread a sweetbread with a coin hidden inside.

Depictions of Santa Claus also have a close relationship with the Russian character of Ded Moroz ("Grandfather Frost"). He delivers presents to children and has a red coat, fur boots and long white beard. Much of the iconography of Santa Claus could be seen to derive from Russian traditions of Ded Moroz, particularly transmitted into western European culture through his German folklore equivalent, Väterchen Frost.

Conventionally, Santa Claus is portrayed as a kindly, round-bellied, merry, bespectacled white man in a red coat trimmed with white fur (perhaps remotely derived from the episcopal vestments of the original Bishop Nicholas), with a long white beard and green or white gloves. On Christmas Eve, he rides in his sleigh pulled by flying reindeer from house to house to give presents to children. To enter the house, Santa Claus comes down the chimney and exits through the fireplace. During the rest of the year he lives together with his wife Mrs. Claus and his elves manufacturing toys. Some modern depictions of Santa (often in advertising and popular entertainment) will show the elves and Santa's workshop as more of a processing and distribution facility, ordering and receiving the toys from various toy manufacturers from across the world. His home is usually given as either the North Pole, in northern Canada, Korvatunturi in Finnish Lapland, Drøbak in Norway, Dalecarlia in Sweden, or Greenland, depending on the tradition and country. Sometimes Santa's home is in Caesarea when he is identified as Saint Basil. L. Frank Baum placed his home in The Laughing Valley of Hohaho. In the original Dutch tradition, Sinterklaas lives in Spain and is accompanied by a great number of black servants, called 'Zwarte Pieten', which means Black Petes.

Historical origins
See also: Christmas gift-bringers around the world and Christmas worldwide

Santa Claus in popular culture
Santa Claus rituals

Several rituals have developed around the Santa Claus figure that are normally performed by children hoping to receive gifts from him. See main article: Santa Claus rituals.

Ho, ho, ho

Ho ho ho is the way that many languages write out how Santa Claus laughs. "Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas!"

The laughter of Santa Claus has long been an important attribute by which the character is identified, but it also does not appear in many non-English-speaking countries. The traditional Christmas poem A Visit from St. Nicholas relates that Santa has:

. . . a little round belly
That shook when he laugh'd, like a bowl full of jelly

Ho ho ho represents an attempt to write the deep belly-laugh of Santa Claus, as opposed to the conventional, higher-pitched ha ha or he he that represents the laughter of thinner characters, or the snickering, cynical bwa/mwa ha ha! associated with the villains of melodrama.

Jacob Grimm asserts that "Ho ho ho" was the hunting cry of Odin during The Furious Host. Odin being attributal to Santa Claus.

"H0H 0H0" is a postal code used by Canada Post for routing letters sent in Canada to Santa Claus at the North Pole. The alphanumeric sequence falls within a grouping associated with the Montreal, Quebec area.

Santa Claus's reindeers' names

Main article: Santa Claus' reindeer

Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen are the most commonly cited names of Santa's nine reindeer. In the poem "The Night Before Christmas" (attributed to Clement C. Moore), from which the names of the reindeer come, the reindeer known today as Donner and Blitzen were originally Dunder and Blixem (the Dutch words "Donder" and "Bliksem" stand for "thunder" and "lightning", as rendered in English orthography). Dunder was later reprinted as Donder, which developed into Donner (the German for "thunder"); while Blixem was reprinted as Blitzen (Blitz is German for "lightning").1. All of these reindeer names are recited in the first verse of the popular song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which in turn has helped make Rudolph by far the best known and most popular with children.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was born for the American department store chain Montgomery Ward in 1939, and has since entered the public consciousness as Santa's ninth and lead reindeer.

All of the above reindeer have been featured in many films, although in the film The Polar Express only eight of the reindeer can be seen pulling Santa's sleigh.

Also, in the movie The Santa Clause 2 Chet is a reindeer in training. Country singer Joe Diffie sang of "Leroy the Redneck Reindeer" in his 1995 song of the same title.

Santa Claus in film

Main article: Santa Claus in film

NASA and Santa Cooperation

NASA1 has recently begun providing specialised technical assistance to Santa on Christmas eve in order to help Santa deliver presents across Earth. According to a NASA press bulletin

The Debris Imaging Radar System, used during the night launch of NASA's space shuttle mission STS-116, is a new system at Kennedy Space Center in Florida that will now be made available to Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

Based on its success in identifying even the smallest amount of debris coming off the orbiter or the external tank, NASA has strong confidence the system will provide assistance in observing Santa's sleigh. Since the elves have the packages piled high, NASA can determine with great accuracy if any gifts planned for delivery fall off the sleigh. The radar system is capable of high-definition radar imagery, so the approximate shape, size and weight of the packages can be determined.

This could greatly help Santa recover the packages so that no child is disappointed by not receiving the presents the jolly fellow promised while he made the rounds in shopping malls before Christmas. The radar has an auto-track mode so that it can be left unattended on Christmas Eve and still perform its intended function. The system will be automatically activated once NASA's air traffic control radar located on north KSC has made radar contact with Santa's sleigh.

Also of assistance to Santa this year is the new Differential Global Positioning Satellite System ground station at the Shuttle Landing Facility. These new GPS antennas located near the control tower can help if there is an emergency. Since the sleigh is now GPS equipped, it can guide Santa to a landing within 10 feet of the runway's centerline, regardless of which end of the runway he needs to use.

Though Shuttle Landing Facility personnel will be on holiday leave, officials at the NASA Tower have agreed to provide the customary support by turning the landing lights on before they depart for Christmas, as well as turning on the TACAN radio homing beacon and the visual alternating green and white lighted rotating beacon.

NASA will use the orbiter Discovery to mimic Santa's sleigh during the STS-116 landing currently planned for Friday, in order to test the ability to operate these two new systems in auto-track mode. If the orbiter is waved off to land on the West Coast, the Shuttle Training Aircraft will be used to simulate Santa's sleigh.

If Santa needs help, one of the primary radio frequencies normally used for communication in restricted airspace will still be monitored by the Air Force Eastern Range and also NASA security.


According to the NORAD Santa Tracking website2, Santa is 'tracked' every Christmas Eve with the same equipment that tracks the presence of aircraft entering North American airspace. In addition, the Canadian Armed Forces regularly officially announce on Christmas Eve that Santa is "escorted into Canadian airspace by jet fighters", apparently to keep with the spirit of the night.

Main article: SantaCon

SantaCon is a mass gathering of people dressed in cheap Santa Claus costumes, performing publicly on streets and in bars. The focus is on spontaneity, creativity, and the improvisational nature of human interaction while having a good time. Variously known as Santarchy, Santa Rampage and the Red Menace, SantaCon events are noted for bawdy and harmless behavior, including the singing of naughty Christmas carols, and the giving of gifts. Some participants see SantaCon as a postmodern revival of Saturnalia, while others see the event as a precursor of the flash mob.

Santa's Mail

Many children write letters to Santa, usually to tell him what gifts they wish to recieve. Many of these letters get sent to the small town of North Pole, Alaska near Fairbanks. In 2005, 120,000 letters arrived from 26 countries, not counting the thousands with no return address. Those that do have return addresses usually get a reply and a North Pole postmark in a holiday effort that has delighted children all over the world for decades. Some people have also claimed that Santa lives in northern Finland, closer to the GMT time zone, so Santa would be able to catch up to the time zones to deliver presents at the correct time.

Letters trickle in year-round in the community of 1,600, where light poles are curved and striped like candy canes and streets have names such as Santa Claus Lane and Kris Kringle Drive. Around Thanksgiving, they start pouring in by the thousands each day as Christmas approaches. Even stampless letters get through, a rare exception for the U.S. Postal Service.

When parents and other adults write their own Santa replies, put them in a stamped, self-addressed envelope and tuck them into a larger envelope addressed to the Fairbanks post office, these are sent to the children. In other cases, the volunteers, called "Santa's Elves," reply to any letter with a return address. Either way, replies get a North Pole postal cancellation mark, complete with a half-moon drawing of Santa's face. The Fairbanks post office also stamps the postmark on thousands of Christmas cards and packages diverted through Alaska from outside the state each year.

Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks also runs a Santa letter project. Santa's Mailbag was started in 1954 by base weather forecasters. In 2005, more than 4,000 letters were received and followed up with replies from base volunteers. Many of the letters came from children of military families stationed in the lower 48 states and abroad, but civilian children also are welcome to write.

The post office in Santa Claus, Indiana (which is the home of Holiday World, formerly known as Santa Claus Land) will also postmark a letter with their Christmas-themed cancellation stamp around this time of year.

Canada Post assigns a special postal code "H0H 0H0" to mail for Santa Claus. The three digits are zeroes, not letter Os, to comply with Canada's postal code format.

There are websites where children can send Santa Claus e-mail.
Santa Claus is the nicest person in the land.
Dominic1によって 2006年12月26日(火)
94 more definitions
Top Definition
The fattest, oldest pimp this side of the north pole.
Santa has three hoes. Damn that's jolly.
Skin-Nerdによって 2005年07月17日(日)
Santa is a jolly fat white man, who i never belived in because i knew no white guy would come into my hood after dark.
Hey theres santa, catch his fat white ass.
Franklin Squareによって 2003年12月19日(金)
Thousands of years ago, before the dawn of man as we knew him, there was Sir Santa of Claus, an ape-like creature making crude and pointless toys out of mammoth bones and his own waste. Hurling them at chimp like creatures with crinkled hands, regardless of how they behaved the previous year. These so called toys were buried as witches and defecated upon and hurled at predators that were awoken by the searing grunts of their children. It wasn't a holly-jolly Christmas that year, for many were killed...

A warlike race of elves from the tenth planet landed on the ice-encased Earth and were immeadiatly enslaved by the unevolved Santa-ape to make his toys using galatic elven technology. For ever more fancier models, toys were made into recognizable shapes and given names like "train." But these toys were also thrown at predators and defecated upon because they were so stupid, Christmas still sucked in a big way.
Now he is a machine.
Johnによって 2004年01月13日(火)
In contrast to the cynical mathematical "contradiction" to Santa, there is indeed proof of his existance.

Several key points are overlooked by this callous, amateurish "study."

1. Flying reindeer: As is widely known (due to the excellent historical documentary "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," the flying reindeer are not a previously unknown species of reindeer, but were in fact given the power of flight due to eating magic acorns. As is conclusively proven in "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (a no punches pulled look at life in Santa's village), this ability has bred true in subsequent generations of reindeer, obviously the magic acorns imprinted their power on a dominant gene sequence within the reindeer DNA strand.

2. Number of households: This figure overlooks two key facts. First of all, the first major schism in the Church split the Eastern Churches, centered in Byzantium, from the Western, which remained centered in Rome. This occurred prior to the Gregorian correction to the Julian calendar. The Eastern churches (currently called Orthodox Churches) do not recognize the Gregorian correction for liturgical events, and their Christmas is as a result several days after the Western Churches'. Santa gets two shots at delivering toys.

Secondly, the figure of 3.5 children per household is based on the gross demographic average, which includes households with no children at all. The number of children per household, when figured as an average for households with children, would therefore have to be adjusted upward. Also, the largest single Christian denomination is Roman Catholic, who, as we all know, breed like rabbits. If you don't believe me, ask my four brothers and two sisters, they'll back me up. Due to the predominance of Catholics within Christian households, the total number of households containing Christian children would have to be adjusted downward to reflect the overloading of Catholics beyond a standard deviation from the median.

Also, the assertion that each home would contain at least one good child would be reasonable enough if there were in fact an even 3.5 children per household. However, since the number of children per household is distributed integrally, there are a significant number (on the order of several million) of one child Christian households. Even though only children are notoriously spoiled and therefore disproportionately inclined towards being naughty, since it's the holidays we'll be generous and give them a fifty-fifty chance of being nice. This removes one half of the single child households from Santa's delivery schedule, which has already been reduced by the removal of the Orthodox households from the first delivery run.

3. Santa's delivery run (speed, payload, etc.): These all suffer from the dubious supposition that there is only one Santa Claus. The name "Santa" is obviously either Spanish or Italian, two ethnic groups which are both overwhelmingly Catholic. The last name Claus suggests a joint German/Italian background. His beginnings, battling the Burgermeister Meisterburger, suggest he grew up in Bavaria (also predominantly Catholic). The Kaiser style helmets of the Burgermeister's guards, coupled with the relative isolation of the village, suggest that his youth was at the very beginning of Prussian influence in Germany. Thus, Santa and Mrs. Claus have been together for well over one hundred years. If you think that after a hundred years of living at the North Pole with nights six months long that they remain childless, you either don't know Catholics or are unaware of the failure rate of the rhythm method. There have therefore been over five generations of Clauses, breeding like Catholics for over one hundred years. Since they are Catholic, their exponential population increase would obviously have a gain higher than the world population as a whole. There have therefore been more than enough new Santas to overcome the population increase of the world. So in fact, Santa has an easier time of it now than he did when he first started out.

Santa dead, indeed; some people will twist any statistic to "prove" their cynical theory.
Santa does exist
Someoneによって 2003年12月21日(日)
SATAN spelled wrong due to a mix up at the factory.
Oh shit! It says Santa not Satan...well, it sounds pretty good, and if we cover him up in some big red fur coat nobody will notice!
Peter Adamsによって 2004年01月07日(水)
A communist.
Karl Marx, Lennin, and Poppa Smurf all had beards. 2/3 Are communists. Santa has a beard <i> and </i> dresses in red. He must be a commie.
Nickによって 2004年01月04日(日)
The biggest perv in the world.
"He's gonna find out
who's naughty or nice...

"He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake...

Santa Claus is comin'
Santa Claus is comin'
Santa Claus is comin'
To town."

"I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus...
Then, I saw Mommy tickle Santa Claus
Underneath his beard so snowy white;
Oh, what a laugh it would have been
If Daddy had only seen
Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night."

"Who 'comes' around on a special night?
Santa 'comes' around on a special night...

Who very soon will 'come' our way?
Santa very soon will 'come' our way..."

"Here 'comes' Santa Claus!
Here 'comes' Santa Claus!
Right down Santa Claus Lane!...

Hang your stockings...
'Cause Santa Claus 'comes' tonight...

Hear those sleigh bells jingle jangle,
What a beautiful sight.
Jump in bed, cover up your head,
'Cause Santa Claus 'comes' tonight."
Sid Barrettによって 2007年09月18日(火)


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