The History of Santa Claus : December’s Older Worker of the Month

Santa Claus is December’s Older Worker of the Month..

We are delighted to announce that Mr Santa Claus of the North Pole;  also known as Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, or simply Santa, has been nominated by an illustrious panel of 1.6 billion children* across the globe to be crowned Greydient’s Older Worker of the Month for December.

A jolly figure,  famed for his white beard, and Christmas uniform of red coat, red trousers and black belt and boots, Mr Klaus had this to say on receipt of his award;

"Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas! And well, thanks!"

And let’s break down how hard he actually works…

  • Based on 2013 population figures, Santa will deliver gifts to 1.6 billion children.
  • This requires visiting 5,556 homes a second and eating 150 billion calories in milk and mince pies.
  • With an average of 2.5 children per household, Santa will need to make 640 million stops on Christmas Eve.
  • Each child needs 80cm of wrapping, which would stretch 1.5 million miles.
  • The total number of presents would set Santa back £279.27 billion.
  • Prior to the big night, Santa needs to store all these presents in a warehouse.
  • Assuming each present average out at 0.008 m3, the warehouse would need to cover the same space as 240,000 double-decker buses.

Credit:The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair + Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) 2013.

Read more from the archives here. 

So who is this Santa Claus? How has the legend grown? And where did it start?

Did you know ?… Santa Claus is 1,747 years old!

Now that’s old. And true. You see the first incarnation of the modern Santa Claus was St Nicholas the Generous

Born in 270AD in Patara on the southern coast of Turkey, Nicholas became the revered Bishop of Myra as a young man. He was then dedicated to helping the poor throughout his life, famously (and anonymously) paying for the dowries of impoverished girls to keep them from prostitution, from harm.

Nicholas’s reputation as a secret gift-giver grew stronger with time, and he latterly became better known for depositing coins or treats into the shoes of children, (ringing any (jingle) bells?) who would leave them out for that purpose, in exchange for carrots or hay for his horses..

The legend does build…

He was canonised after his death and was named patron saint of children (sailors and the whole of Greece for some reason…)

Ding, dong, merrily on high… Going Dutch…(as the history lesson continues..)

The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, when the veneration of Catholic saints was suppressed in many regions of Europe, saw a drop in the popularity of St. Nicholas.

Only in The Netherlands was the celebration of St. Nicholas kept alive. This was in the form of Sinterklaas, a kindly figure who traveled from house to house on the evening of Dec. 5, leaving treats or presents in children’s shoes in exchange for a snack for his horses. As above.

In the Dutch tradition, Sinterklaas wore red bishop’s robes, had elfin assistants, and rode his horses over rooftops before slipping down the chimney to deliver the gifts. Sound familiar?

Coming to America… As the modern day Santa Claus is born..

Sinterklaas came to America with the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries, and it was in the new colonies that he really evolved.

The anglicizing of the name – from Sinterklaas to Santa Claus – happened by 1773, when the latter was referenced for the first time, in a New York City newspaper. Santa’s waistline then expanded in 1809 with the publication of author Washington Irving’s book “A History of New York,” in which the big man is described as portly and smoking a pipe instead of the lanky bishop from yesteryear.

In an 1822 poem entitled “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” – more commonly called “Twas the Night Before Christmas” – by Clement Moore, Santa is further imagined with a magic sleigh powered by reindeer, a sack full of toys, and a round stomach, “like a bowl full of jelly.”

By the late 1800s, most depictions of Santa Claus followed this imagery, but the final cog in the Claus legend was provided by Coca-Cola ad illustrator Haddon Sundblom, whose 1930s red-suited Santa, complete with white-fur trim and leather boots, became the iconic standard recognisable today.

The big guy that I’ve known and loved since I was a young child.

End of history lesson 🙂 Suffice to say….




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