This article is available as a printed booklet. To order this booklet go to the "Tracts" section on the order items page. Is Santa just a jolly, harmless, friendly fellow?
Nicholas was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes.
In continental Europe more precisely the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany he is usually portrayed as a bearded bishop in canonical robes.
The remains of Saint Nicholas are in Italy. Inthe Italian city of Bari mounted an expedition to locate the tomb of the Saint. The reliquary of St. Nicholas was conquered by Italian sailors and his relics were taken to Bari   where they are kept to this day. A basilica was constructed the same year to store the loot and the area became a pilgrimage site for the devout.
Sailors from Bari collected just half of Nicholas' skeleton, leaving all the minor fragments in the grave. These were collected by Venetian sailors during the First Crusade and taken to Venicewhere a church to St.
This tradition was confirmed in two important scientific investigations of the relics in Bari and Venicewhich revealed that the relics in the two Italian cities belong to the same skeleton. Saint Nicholas was later claimed as a patron saint of many diverse groups, from archerssailors, and children to pawnbrokers.
This date was earlier than the original day of gifts for the children, which moved in the course of the Reformation and its opposition to the veneration of saints in many countries on the 24th and 25 December. So Saint Nicholas changed to Santa Claus. The custom of gifting to children at Christmas has been propagated by Martin Luther as an alternative to the previous very popular gift custom on St.
Nicholas, to focus the interest of the children to Christ instead of the veneration of saints. Martin Luther first suggested the Christkind as the bringer of gifts. But Nicholas remained popular as gifts bearer for the people. Father Christmas Father Christmas dates back as far as 16th century in England during the reign of Henry VIIIwhen he was pictured as a large man in green or scarlet robes lined with fur.
Schmutzli carries a twig broom to spank the naughty children. Nicholas in a variety of facets, including his long white beard and his gray horse for nightly rides compare Odin's horse Sleipnir or his reindeer in North American tradition.
History Origins Pre-modern representations of the gift-giver from Church history and folklore, notably St Nicholas known in Dutch as Sinterklaasmerged with the English character Father Christmas to create the character known to Americans and the rest of the English-speaking world as "Santa Claus" a phonetic derivation of "Sinterklaas".
In the English and later British colonies of North America, and later in the United States, British and Dutch versions of the gift-giver merged further.
For example, in Washington Irving 's History of New YorkSinterklaas was Americanized into "Santa Claus" a name first used in the American press in  but lost his bishop's apparel, and was at first pictured as a thick-bellied Dutch sailor with a pipe in a green winter coat.
Irving's book was a lampoon of the Dutch culture of New York, and much of this portrait is his joking invention.Ho-ho-ho with our collection of funny Christmas jokes.
While our great-granddaughters were getting ready for bed on Christmas Eve, Molly had a loose tooth that she wanted to pull.
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