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Saint Nicholas of Myra lived in 4th century Licia, a province of what is now Turkey. Known for his propensity for giving to the poor, and in particular for financing the dowry of three Christian poor daughters to prevent their becoming prostitutes, Saint Nicholas became the most prominent inspiration for the Christian Sinterklaas. He was usually envisioned as a bearded man dressed in robes.
There are many commonalities between the figure we know today as Santa Claus and the Germanic people’s legend of Odin before their Christianization. Many of the Germanic characterizations of Odin are likely to have evolved into the traits of Santa Claus as we know them today. For instance, Odin rode an 8-legged horse name Sleipnir that could leap to tremendous heights which may have led to Santa’s reindeer of today. Odin also was described with a long beard and children left gifts for Odin in stockings by their chimneys.
There were other European appearances of Santa like characters over the years culminating with Father Christmas cropping up at least as far back as the 1600’s in Britain. Father Christmas was pictured as a well-fed older man dressed in green robes and wearing a beard. He was cheery and perhaps best represented in the Charles Dicken’s classic A Christmas Carol as the Ghost of Christmas Present.
From there, Santa Claus various European representations merged with Father Christmas and spread to the United States. The Americanized “Santa Claus” began appearing in the late 1700’s instead of “Sinterklaas”. As the years went on, Santa began acquiring many of the characteristics we imagine him with today. He began to ride in a sleigh. He got a little heavier, and a little heavier after that. He began to live at the North Pole, and eventually was known to be married to Mrs. Claus. Much of these traits can be attributed to the poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” first published in 1823, and later, the images from artist Thomas Nast. Later on, various 20th century authors and artist would lend more to the image of Santa Claus bringing about the character we know and love today.
It was the Scandinavian Santa character called “Tomte” or “Nisse” who began delivering presents in the 1800’s (nice of him to start that). He was an older character in their folklore who began taking on the characteristics of Santa Claus in their storytelling. This more modern Tomte appeared in gray wearing a red hat, and this may be wear Santa’s first appearance with a red Santa’s hat a little like what we know today occurred.
If you’re looking for some fantastic Santa hats, make sure you check out what we’ve got in stock. Our cheap Santa Hats may be inexpensive, but they are a fantastic value. Enjoy our wonderful selection at your Christmas party or other holiday celebration.
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