Christmas Isn't Christmas Without... Santa Claus

I gotta be honest, I'm starting to run out of ideas of things that are necessary for a holly jolly Christmas. We talked about shortbread, Christmas trees, mince pies, stockings, eggnog, Muppets Christmas Carol. Christmas is shaping up to be a winner this year.
But there are a few things that are still necessary.
Santa is one of them.
Regardless of where you stand on his existence, I still, in a way, believe. Of course, it was not lost on me, when I was 5, that Santa's handwriting was identical to my dad's. But I didn't really care. It seemed important to him that I should think Santa Clause delivered a tricycle, so I obliged. This is a common theme in most Christmas holiday movies involving Santa; like he's Tinkerbell.
At some point, though, in everyone's childhood, the cool factor of believing in a guy in a red velvet jumpsuit diminishes. We all go through these phases when we proudly exclaim, "SANTA'S NOT REAL!" Then we find the vintage letter from the editor, "Yes, Virginia; there is a Santa," and the fanatical quest for the truth dies down.
The metaphysical, new age compromise is that we are all Santa and he works through us. But, is that the truth?
His appearance changes based on where you're celebrating Christmas: North Americans know him as the roly-poly rosy-cheeked man in a red velvet suit and a cumulus cloud beard. He rides the world in his sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, kisses our mothers underneath the mistletoe and drinks coca-cola.Image result for coca cola santa

But then there's Father Christmas, in Great Britain, who is more stately and wizard-like, and a lot slimmer than his cousin. The snow-white beard remains, but he's robed in an ankle length jacket which might not be red.
 Image result for father christmas

And in the Netherlands we have Sinterklass; the closest incarnation to the actual man: A bishops red mitre, again, the snowy white beard, and a white horse. He reportedly also sails from Spain. I have no idea where that part came from
m.Image result for sinterklaas

The truth is Santa Claus is Saint Nicholas from what is now Turkey. Kirsty and I actually visited his hometown a few years ago. He was an early Christian credited with an unsual sense of generosity. He is said to have paid for destitute young women's doweries, and food for young boys. He is now the patron saint of sailors, and children, and virgins (my Russian teacher said it seemed very convenient to bring the sailors and virgins together under one saint). He's a big deal in Russia and Greece.Icon c 1500 St Nicholas.JPG

If believing in Santa means that we're nice and compassionate to one another, smiling at random strangers as we pass each other on the street, then I will happily drink the kool-aide.


  1. Because Netherlands was under Spanish rule at one point.
    An Aberdonian friend recently posted some Sunty pictures.
    Another great entry.


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