You better watch out, you better not cry. You better not pout, I’m telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town! Whether you prefer to call him Kris Kringle, Jolly Old St. Nick, or simply Santa, you can count on this jolly fellow to deliver presents to all of the good boys and girls every year at Christmas time.
We all know that Santa Claus comes bearing gifts on December 25th in a sleigh powered by his reindeer. Santa’s current and classic look includes his white beard, red coat with white trim, and black leather boots and belt. Santa Claus is often depicted as working year round at his workshop in the North Pole, overseeing elves building Christmas presents. Each year he kisses Mrs. Claus goodbye for his around the world in one day trip. He visits nearly every home in the world and has his fair share of milk and cookies.
For all of the things we think we know about Santa Claus, there are plenty of facts that our parents didn’t tell us when we were young. Santa seems to know everything about you, so perhaps it’s time you learned more about him. He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!
10. His Red Suit Comes From Coca-Cola
Santa Claus has become known for his signature look which includes his red suit and white beard. What you may not realize is that he did not settle on that red suit until the 1930s. Santa wore different colored suits including blue, green, brown, purple, and white before he settled on red thanks to an advertisement from Coca-Cola. The image of Santa Claus in his classic red suit was drawn by artist Haddon Sundblom for the soft drink giant in 1931. The look for the modern Santa overall was created in 1804 at a meeting of the New York Historical Society.
9. His Sleigh Is Credited To The Creator of The Headless Horseman
Santa has to have an effective way to deliver presents to all of the good boys and girls across the world. His sleigh as we know it was created by author Washington Irving, who is best known for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Santa’s sleigh first appeared in Irving’s short stories collection The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon in 1819. Irving is also credited with spreading the idea that Santa slides down chimneys to deliver presents and described him as a “portly, bearded man who smokes a pipe.” The author also inspired Charles Dickens to write A Christmas Carol.
8. Santa Has His Own Zip Code
Who knew Santa Claus was such a baller? He is the only person in the world to have their own zip code, H0H 0H0. As if the post office was not busy enough delivering packages during the Christmas season, they also get swamped with kids’ letters to Santa. The Canadian Post Office decided to create the “Santa Letter-Writing Program” literacy initiative which also helps kids learn to read and write.”Santa” writes back to all the children who write to him at Christmas; they receive a letter from the North Pole with the H0H0H0 postal code on it. Don’t be confused by the town of Santa Claus, Indiana, which has the zip code 47579.
7. He Used To Work In Spain
We all know that Santa Claus operates out of his workshop in the North Pole, but it has not always been that way. Belgium and Netherlands legends have it that Jolly Old St. Nick comes from Spain of all places, where he was once known as Sinterklaas. Before relocating to the North Pole and using his sleigh and reindeer to deliver presents, he used to be old school and travel by steam boat. This jolly fellow is the first version of Santa Claus who kept a list of naughty and nice children. Since then, Santa and Sinterklaas have become separate entities with the latter delivering presents to kids in these countries.
6. Santa Claus Replaced A Goat
Even though Santa could be described as the Greatest Of All Time at delivering presents, we are not talking about that kind of GOAT. Long before the modern Santa would deliver gifts to children, the Finnish Yule Goat known as Joulupukki was quite the opposite. Rather than deliver presents, this goat would demand presents from people and he also made sure that they were completing their Yule celebration preparations. The Yule Goat had a change of heart and started bringing presents to kids before he lost his job to Mr. Claus. After that, Joulupukki was relegated to roaming the Finnish countryside.
5. The Department Store Santa Was A Marketing Tactic
The first department store Santa Claus was Massachusetts businessman James Edgar back in 1890. He came up with the idea of dressing up as Santa as a marketing idea. The strategy worked as children from all over the state traveled to his dry goods store in Brockton, MA. Since that time, department store Santas can be seen in malls all over the country and you have to believe that they increase business for parents looking for Christmas presents for their children to give to them from “Santa”. Department store Montgomery Ward is actually credited with creating the popular reindeer Rudolph in order to get children to buy coloring books.
4. Santa Claus Is Based On The Real St. Nicholas
Our concept of Santa Claus is loosely based on the historical St. Nicholas who was certainly generous if not jolly. Nicholas was a Christian bishop who lived in the fourth century A.D. and gave away his wealth to help those in need. St. Nicholas became known as Sinter Klaas in Dutch which would later become Santa Claus. The real St. Nicholas was the patron saint of prisoners, unmarried women, pawnbrokers, and thieves. The idea of Santa delivering presents also comes from the Dutch celebration of St. Nicholas’ feast day where he would leave small gifts in the children’s shoes. In return the kids would leave St. Nicholas milk and cookies.
3. Santa Was A Bachelor
For a while Santa was a bachelor and probably didn’t have much time to date because there was always something that had to be done to prepare for the Christmas season. His wife Mrs. Claus was first mentioned in the short story A Christmas Legend by James Rees in 1849. This idea was picked up by publications such as Harper’s Magazine and the Yale Literary Magazine, but gained the most traction through the 1889 Poem Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride by Katherine Lee Bates. Santa Claus is responsible for keeping all of the boys and girls in check, but Mrs. Claus is there to keep Santa himself in line.
2. Santa Was Once Banned In America
At one point there was actually a “War on Christmas” and Puritans in the English Parliament removed Christmas as a national holiday in 1655. When the pioneers settled in New England, they decided to completely outlaw Christmas celebrations in 1659. American citizens could be penalized for any type of Christmas celebration including anything that had to do with Santa Claus. In fact, Christmas was not even recognized as an official American holiday until President Ulysses S. Grant did so in 1870. Santa Claus was still able to keep busy during that period as he still had to deliver presents to the rest of the world.
1. Santa Is Actually A Canadian Citizen
In 2008 the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism of Canada, Jason Kenney, made the declaration that Santa Claus was a citizen of that country. This happened a few weeks after Canada’s government proposed legislation to expand their sovereignty over Arctic waters. Kenney even invited St. Nick back to his country after he finished delivering presents, saying that “…as a Canadian citizen, he has the automatic right to re-enter Canada once his trip around the world is complete.” According to international law, the North Pole is not a part of any country, although nations such as the United States, Canada, Norway, Russia, and Denmark have all tried to claim it.