All over the world Christmas traditions are slightly different, with some fascinating and some quite frankly bizarre variations on the Christmas fun that we know and love. One well-known, and well-loved part of Christmas is the father of the holiday himself, Santa Claus (or Father Christmas depending on where youve grown up).
Everybody knows Santa hes the big guy in a red suit, with white trimmings, a big white beard and a hearty laugh. The story goes that Santa creates childrens toys in his factory in Lapland, with the help of his Christmas elves. Once the presents are all ready and packed up, he hops in his reindeer driven sleigh and dashes around the world dropping the gifts off to all the good boys and girls. But where did the story start? Why red and white, and where does the name come from?
St Nicholas was the original Father Christmas, just a normal man who lived in Turkey in the 4th Century. Well, he was normal besides the few miracles he performed to save a few sailors who were lost at sea but other than that, he was a normal man. When he died he was given the patron saint of sailors and children, and a feast day was set up to celebrate him on December 6th. At the same time, the Pope decided to make a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and the day selected was December 25th. The two dates started to merge, and both became associated with one another. The tradition developed from here that St Nick would visit your home at Christmas, and children would leave him apples and other treats for him to enjoy.
As the reformation spread throughout most of Europe, St Nicholas and the tradition that went with his memory started to dip in popularity. However, in Holland the tradition remained alive, and St Nick became Sinter Klass or Sinter Klaus by the time it reached America, he was known as Sancte Claus.
As time went on, the New York History Association took a keen interest in Sancte Claus, for that reason they held a dinner in his memory in 1810. The artist Alexander Anderson created a portrait of the man to commemorate the event, and in the picture he can be seen dropping presents for children this could be where the idea of gifts originated from. It was Clement Moore in 1822 who wrote The Night Before Christmas, which told the tale of a man from Lapland who would go around delivering presents from house to house, that cemented the idea of Santa Claus in the American publics mind. As time went by, more was added to the legend, through work done by artists and poets his grotto was soon born as were his helper elves.
Over the years, Santa Claus was seen wearing outfits of all sorts of colours, including purple, green, and the red we know today. Coca-Cola are often credited with giving Santa the red coat we know so well today, popularising it as the go-to dress for Father Christmas. However, the American artist Norman Rockwell had done paintings of Santa in these colours way before Coca Cola started using them.
You can go and see Santa on a perfect winter holiday for Christmas in 2016. Winter breaks to Lapland are the perfect Christmas gifts for kids, and are great fun for the whole family. You can go and see where the legend behind Santa first began, and kids can meet the real Santa, and see where all of their toys get made.