“You better watch out!
Better not cry!
Better not pout!
I’m telling you why,
Santa Claus is coming to town.”
-J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie
Every year when Christmas comes around, kids eagerly wait for Santa Claus. They look forward to the gifts he brings each Christmas Eve. Of course, everyone knows he lives in the North Pole, and he’s always busy, busy, busy. Sometimes he’s busy making toys in his workshop, assisted by hundreds of little elves. Other times, he’s busy getting his reindeer ready for their big Christmas Eve flight. Yes, Santa’s home is a busy, magical place for kids and parents alike. But do you know where Santa came from? And how he came to live in the North Pole in the first place? Well then, read on for the amazing story behind Santa and his home!
Santa’s Early Years
Did you know Santa Claus wasn’t always named “Santa Claus”? Nope. Way back in the 4th Century (more than 1,700 years ago!), a Greek Christian bishop named Saint Nicholas of Myra started giving generously to the less fortunate – especially during the hard winter months. After his death, people that he had helped started telling tales of a Sinterklaas – a good saint – who would leave gifts for those in need. Like Santa, no one ever saw him do it. And like Santa, Sinterklaas could fly and visit all the houses in the world in one night. But no one knew where he went after Christmas, or what he did for the rest of the year.
Santa Moves to the North Pole
In the early 1800s, America was a new, exciting country, and boats and boats of immigrants sailed over, to start new lives and new families. But come Christmas, who would give presents to the children? Who would spread Christmas cheer with a merry, “Ho-ho-ho!”? Well, Sinterklass would! But a new start in a new country also meant a new name – Santa Claus. It was also in America that Santa first got his famous sleigh and reindeer.
But people were still curious about the jolly old elf, and so in 1866, a cartoonist named Thomas Nast set out to answer their questions. He drew pictures about Santa’s life, including his home. Thomas said that Santa lived in the North Pole – a cold and snowy place – but that he had a big workshop and lots of elves to help him out.
Santa as We Know Him Today
Over the years, more artists and writers have added their stories of Santa Claus to the mix. Santa got married to Mrs. Claus in 1889. And Rudolph joined the reindeer team, to help out Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, and Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, in 1939.
But no matter how many changes Santa has gone through over the years, one thing has always remained the same. Every year, after all the little children have gone to bed, Santa visits them one-by-one. He’s made his list, he’s checked it twice, and he knows if you’ve been naughty or nice. Santa Claus is coming to town!
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