With just about eight weeks to the big day, The Mighty Fine Company takes a look at the history of Santa.
Santa is based on Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra. Born in the year 270 in a town in modern Turkey, Nicholas earned a reputation as an anonymous gift giver, paying the dowries of poor girl, handing out treats to children and leaving coins in their shoes. Following his death, Nicholas was canonized and became the patron saint of children.
St. Nicholas' story was kept alive in the form of Sinterklaas, a bishop who delivered treats to children in early December. The name Santa Claus appeared in a New York City newspaper story in 1773.
In his satiric 1809 book A History of New York, Washington Irving was the first person to describe Santa as a portly, bearded man who slid down the chimney.
- 4. Here Come the Reindeer
The poem, "Twas the Night Before Christmas", was first published on 23rd December, 1823 and popularized many of Santa's defining characteristics including the fact that he drove a sleigh guided by "eight tiny reindeer."
Artist Louis Prang first depicted Santa in a red suit in a series of Christmas cards in 1885.
In 1890, Massachusetts businessman James Edgar became the first department store Santa.
- 7. Santa's Significant Other
The first mention of Mrs Claus was in the 1849 short story A Christmas Legend by James Rees.
To find out more about Santa, why not travel with us to Lapland and meet the man himself?