From St. Nicholas to Santa Claus: the surprising origins of Kris Kringle
Santa Claus, Father Christmas, St. Nick—no matter the name, everyone knows the story of this plump, jolly, bringer of gifts. Or do they?
Any kid can tell you where Santa Claus is from—the North Pole. But his historical journey is even longer and more fantastic than his annual, one-night circumnavigation of the globe.
The progenitor of the modern American Santa was born in the Mediterranean during the Roman Empire, his legend evolved across northern Europe, and he finally assumed his now-familiar form on the shores of the New World. Who is this ancestor of Santa, and how did he change over time? (See "Christmas in July—Inside a Santa Summer Camp.")
Every December 6, the faithful celebrate St. Nicholas Day in cities all over the world, with the largest ones taking place in Europe. Images of St. Nicholas vary considerably, but none of them look