Who is Santa?

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Over the years, the well known Santa has been called by many different names. There is much more to the man in the red suit than some may know. Listed below is a brief overview of the different names of Mr. Claus himself.


Saint Nicholas

Jolly old Saint Nicholas was born in the third century in what we now consider Turkey. At the time, he served as a bishop in the early church as he helped members who were poor and sick. He was well known for his protection, gifts, and miracles. He later became a saint in the Catholic church in 900 A.D. The reason he was relevant to the winter season was because many saw him as the “gift giver” of the winter solstice as he left coins and treats in the shoes of kids at night.


Kris Kringle

Religious Protestant leaders assumed people were missing the true meaning of Christmas and giving too much attention to Saint Nick. They ended up replacing Saint Nick with the angel baby Kristkindt, who later was called “Kris Kringle.” Women started to get concerned with the thought of a naked baby running around alone, so they later reintroduced Saint Nicholas as his guide.


Father Christmas

At one point, Protestants attempted to cancel the celebration of Christmas overall. This caused people to protest, many started to write songs about a jolly, plump, old man with a big fluffy beard. This figure was known as “Father Christmas” and he wore a big, green, fur-lined suit and spread cheer through all homes.



Dutch immigrants ended up introducing Sinterklaas (Santa Claus). They presented him as a bearded figure who rode a horse upon rooftops. Legend says if children left their boots outside by the chimney filled with carrots, then Sinterklaas would exchange the carrots with gifts or money.


Santa Claus

The image of the Santa we know today has been largely influenced by Clement Clark Moore’s book, The Night Before Christmas. The illustration came from Thomas Nast (Harper’s Magazine) and Haddon Sundblom (Coca-Cola Company). The Santa we love and cherish today is a happy, plump old man who lives in the North Pole with his loving wife Mrs. Claus. They oversee the elves in the workshop as they prepare for Christmas Eve. Santa rides out on his sleigh with his reindeer and leaves presents for all of the kids.