For many kids, part of growing up is believing in Santa Claus. Christmas is a lot more magical if the presents under the tree were made by a team of elves up at the North Pole and then delivered personally by Santa Claus in his reindeer-pulled sleigh. A cynic might point out that Santa gives parents an escape hatch: if they can’t or won’t get something their kid wants, hey, just blame it on Santa. “If you’re good, maybe he’ll bring you that next year.” That said, Santa Claus does give parents an opportunity to engage in some delightful make-believe with their children. It’s always fun to see a child on Christmas morning staring wide-eyed at the empty glass of milk, cookie crumbs on the plate, and maybe some carrot bits in the snow outside.
The real Saint Nicholas was a Greek bishop who lived in what’s now Turkey about 1,700 years ago. It’s said that he had a habit of secret gift-giving — sound familiar? The modern Santa Claus, overweight, with a big white beard, jolly expression, and red outfit with white fur trim gelled in the 1800s. The poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (“‘Twas the night before Christmas…”) was published in 1823 and formed our ideas about what goes on in the small hours of December 25th. Later, the American cartoonist Thomas Nast provided the image.
The first department store Santa Claus took to his throne in Brockton, Massachusetts in 1890. Today, countless parents take their children to the local mall to meet Santa, let him know what they want for Christmas, and maybe pose for a photo, too. Waiting in line can make the kids tired and cranky and we’re sure Santa himself has some long days. In the video posted below, you’ll see a little girl who’s exhausted by the time it’s her turn with St. Nick. But not to worry: he doesn’t mind if she rests up.
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