Do you believe in Santa or is it Saint Nicholas?

Lets talk about Santa:) It all started with a Saint back in the 4th century named, Nikolaos (Nicholas). He was a bishop in Asia Minor and was known for his charity. He wore a long robe and carried a staff. The legend goes, he came to know this poor man that had three daughters. The daughters were very intelligent and pretty but had no money. They did not have enough money to put up a dowry to marry. For three nights in December, Nicholas passed by the family’s house and threw a bag of money into the open window. It landed in each of their shoes (hence stockings). The girls then had enough money to marry. After Nicholas’s death he became the patron saint of just about everything, particularly children. Saint Nick has changed his style over the years. At the beginning of the Victorian era, he was tall and skinny and wore a robe. The reason he was a little thinner is because it was not easy to acquire sugar throughout the world. He was not eating all those cookies:) No one really knew what he looked like or where he lived. He was first written about in America by Washington Irving in 1809 but the best description of Santa came in 1823. A poem was sent to the Troy Sentinel in New York and was printed on December 23, 1823. It was titled “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas.” It was written by Clement Clark Moore and we know it today as “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” the first line of the poem. This was the first time a physical description of Santa was written. There were still no pictures. One man was able to actually meet Santa, draw and interview him. This sketch of the “jolly old elf” gave everyone a glimpse into Santa’s what he looked like and his job. This man was Mr. Thomas Nast and this picture was the first printed in the Harpers Weekly on December 26, 1863. Nast continued to draw Santa throughout his career and even found out that Santa lived in the North Pole. Nast’s drawings gave the country an intimate look at Santa’s deeds and his workshop. These drawing had a tremendous effect on children of the Victorian era. They anxiously awaited every drawing joyfully poring over each and everyone, hard to imagine today, waiting for a newspaper drawing. Then in 1897 a letter was sent to the New York Sun, by eight year old Virginia O’Hanlon. She asked “Is There a Santa Claus.” One of the reporters Francis Church answered her question… “Virginia your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds… Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound to give to your life its highest beauty and joy.”

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In Russia St. Nicholas the Wonderworker is often shown as Holy Hierarch Nicholas of Mozhaisk. These icons show a full-length Nicholas with a sword in his right hand and a city in his left because the prayers of St. Nicholas saved the city of Mozhaisk from enemy attack. 18th Century Russian icon with the angels Gabriel and Michael at the top with the Vernicle (Holy Face).
St Nicholas Center Collection

The custom in 16th century Germany, as described by Thomas Naogeorgus:

Saint Nicholas money used to give
To maidens secretly,
Who, that he still may use
His wonted liberalitie
The mothers all their children on the eve
Do cause to fast
And when they every one at night
In senselesse sleepe are cast
Both Apples, Nuttes, and peares they bring,
And other things besides
As caps, and shooes and petticotes,
Which secretly they hide,
And in the morning found, they say
That this Saint Nicholas brought.


St. Nicholas followed the words of our Lord, to “lay up treasure for yourself in Heaven,” by praying every day, by fasting, and by performing good deeds. God was so pleased that he worked many miracles through Nicholas. People began to call him a “wonderworker” (a person who works wonders or performs miracles). They were so inspired by his life of service to others that many of them, too, began to lead holy lives, filled with good deeds.


St Nicholas, patron of children
Holy Card, Ukraine
St Nicholas Center Collection

The first Europeans to arrive in the New World brought St. Nicholas. Vikings dedicated their cathedral to him in Greenland. On his first voyage, Columbus named a Haitian port for St. Nicholas on December 6, 1492. In Florida, Spaniards named an early settlement St. Nicholas Ferry, now known as Jacksonville. However, St. Nicholas had a difficult time during the 16th century Protestant Reformation which took a dim view of saints. Even though both reformers and counter-reformers tried to stamp out St. Nicholas-related customs, they had very little long-term success except in England where the religious folk traditions were permanently altered. (It is ironic that fervent Puritan Christians began what turned into a trend to a more secular Christmas observance.) Because the common people so loved St. Nicholas, he survived on the European continent as people continued to place nuts, apples, and sweets in shoes left beside beds, on windowsills, or before the hearth.

During 16th century the story of St. Nicholas was forgotten by many. So, in England, to make people more aware of St. Nicholas they held the character of Nicholas and gave gifts to children. They also celebrate St. Nicholas’ Day on 6th December every year.

“The first surviving mention of [Nicholas] in America is in the New York Rivington’s Gazetteer for 23 December 1773: ‘Last Monday the anniversary of St. Nicholas, otherwise called St. a Claus, was celebrated at Protestant Hall, at Mr. Waldron’s, where a great number of the sons of that ancient saint celebrated the day with great joy and festivity.’ And on 8 December 1774 in the same journal: ‘Monday next, being the anniversary of St. Nicholas, will be celebrated by the descendants of the ancient Dutch families.’ These two are the only survivors until well after the Revolution. These “sons’ of Saint Nicholas seem not to have known their father’s birthday.” Charles W. Jones, Saint Nicholas of Myra, Bari, and Manhattan: Biography of a Legend, p. 333.

Detail from broadside by Alexander Anderson, December 6, 1810
St Nicholas Center Collection

The jolly elf image received another big boost in 1823, from a poem destined to become immensely popular, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” now better known as “The Night Before Christmas.”

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf. . . .

Father Christmas
Drawn by Kenny Meadows, from the Illustrated London News, December 1847

St. Nicholas Magazine
The first issue of St. Nicholas: Scribner’s Illustrated Magazine for Girls and Boys was published. Editor Mary Mapes Dodge named the magazine for the children’s saint—the epitome of loving and giving. This new magazine offered gifts to children as he did—gifts of fun as well as learning.


St. Nicholas Magazine
This enormously popular magazine named for children’s patron, St. Nicholas, was published from 1873 until 1940. It featured high quality children’s authors and illustrators.


Coca Cola first gave the modern Santa Claus as it began its Christmas advertising in the 1920s with shopping-related ads in magazines like The Saturday Evening Post.


Here in Louisiana he is known as Papa Noel. He wears a brown, muskrat fur suit to blend in with the swamps and bayous. It is too hot for the reindeer here, in Louisiana, Papa Noel has eight alligator, sometimes nine on those foggy nights. The gators names are Gaston, Tiboy, Pierre, Alcee, Ninette, Suzette, Celeste and Renee. The Rudolph of the gators is Nicollette. She has green eyes to see through the fog. The gators do not pull a sleigh because there is no snow here. Papa Noel rides in a pirogue. It is usually foggy in the swamps at this time of year, so how is Papa Noel going to find his way? Bonfires are lit on the levies to show Papa Noel the way through the swamps. So this is the short story of Papa Noel.

So light your bonfires Papa Noel is coming tonight and it will be foggy:)

For 62nd year, NORAD takes calls from kids awaiting Santa

The toll-free telephone number for NORAD tracks Santa is 877-Hi NORAD or 877-446-6723. About 1,500 volunteers answer the phones in shifts throughout Christmas Eve.

The website is, with updates offered in a number of languages in addition to English..

Last year, NORAD Tracks Santa received nearly 154,200 phone calls and drew 10.7 million unique visitors to its website. It had 1.8 million Facebook followers, 382,000 YouTube views and 177,000 Twitter followers.

Christmas Tree Facts

Christmas tree is the Icon of Love and Happiness. We send Christmas tree to our friends and family on this big occasion, so came up with some interesting Christmas Tree Facts. Mark carr in 1851 began selling Christmas tree for the first time.


A Tree-Mendous Christmas

Trees are the most recognizable sign of Christmas, but what do you know about them? Each acre of land dedicated to growing Christmas trees will provide the daily oxygen required by 18 people.


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