The Current

Santa Claus, patron saint turned mall celebrity

Santa has shadowed purpose of Christmas, evolved far from his origins

Ashley Owens, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






When Christmas Eve arrives, many children will expect a visit from a round, jolly man who will shimmy down their chimneys with presents in tow. Christmas means Santa, at least for most. Although originally based on a religious figure, the modern day Santa is a far jump from the purpose of the Christian holiday.

Before he was an inflatable lawn decoration and a paid photo prop at the mall, Santa was Saint Nicholas, and according to National Geographic, the man Santa evolved from was the Bishop of Myra in modern Turkey. (Turkey? Now that’s a long way from the North Pole). The bishop was the patron saint of children and sailors in the fourth century A.D.

Although it is hard to imagine Christmas without Santa, St. Nicholas’s gift-giving took place around his feast day of Dec. 6, but he combined with Christmas over time.

Legends of his life popularized him.

One legend claims he gave money to three girls’ father, so he would not sell them into prostitution, according to the National Public Radio. Saint Nicholas was a generous, sincere man who dealt with serious topics (not quite the oversized, foolish, and cheerful modern-day Santa).

After immigrating with Europeans to North America, the bumbling, bulky, “cookies and milk” fanatic began to take shape (literally). His red suit, reindeer, girth, beard, home in the North Pole, elves, and Mrs. Claus were popularized by Clement Moore’s poem commonly known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” according to History.com, and artistic works by Thomas Nast.

The jolly, naive figure Santa is today is far from his St. Nicholas origins. Santa no longer has the same depth of character, genuine nature, or religious ties.

The rise in the popularity of Santa could be related to the secularization of Christmas itself.

He allows non-Christians to adopt elements of Christmas without celebrating the birth of Christ, which follows the Christian tradition.

About 81% of the non-Christian U.S. population celebrates Christmas, according to the Pew Research Center. Santa is possibly leading the way for Christmas to fall from religion and into culture.

Traditions can hold meaning regardless of history or the original purpose of the Christmas holiday. Santa can be fun for everyone, but it is important to understand his evolution. People should recognize that Christmas does not mean Santa.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About the Contributors
Ashley Owens, Staff Writer

Ashley Owens is a first year journalist and serves a staff writer.  She is a member of the Class of 2021 executive board and enjoys the beach, traveling,...

Katie Kerrigan, Staff Writer and Illustrator, Social Media Team

Katie Kerrigan is a first year staff writer for The Current. She serves as an executive officer and regional leadership council member for Operation Smile,...

1 Comment

One Response to “Santa Claus, patron saint turned mall celebrity”

  1. Ed Owens on December 23rd, 2018 8:46 pm

    Excellent article. Some good research and reporting..

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Santa Claus, patron saint turned mall celebrity

    Opinion

    Disney Channel’s content plummets, disappoints

  • Santa Claus, patron saint turned mall celebrity

    Opinion

    The Current Issues: Episode 1

  • Santa Claus, patron saint turned mall celebrity

    Opinion

    Beauty in nature often unappreciated

  • Santa Claus, patron saint turned mall celebrity

    Opinion

    We the People, time to embrace the luck of the American

  • Santa Claus, patron saint turned mall celebrity

    Opinion

    Beauty and Beasts, sad truth behind animal cosmetic testing

  • Santa Claus, patron saint turned mall celebrity

    Opinion

    Consequences of higher minimum wage outweigh benefits

  • Santa Claus, patron saint turned mall celebrity

    Opinion

    Anti-vaccination epidemic needs remedy

  • Santa Claus, patron saint turned mall celebrity

    Opinion

    Soulmates: fiction not fact

  • Santa Claus, patron saint turned mall celebrity

    Opinion

    Human error, a necessary factor of sports

  • Santa Claus, patron saint turned mall celebrity

    Opinion

    Virginia Governor should resign amid racist photograph

Navigate Right

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School
Santa Claus, patron saint turned mall celebrity