I’m sure most of us at one time or another believed in Santa Claus. It was part of growing up, writing that letter to Santa and “trying” to be good. Then on Christmas Eve we put a plate of cookies and milk out for dear old St. Nick as a way of thanking him for visiting and (hopefully) leaving us all the toys we asked for. Cue the next morning and we would run to the living room and see a pile of presents under the tree. Being good had paid off this year for little Billy.
But as we grew older we found out the truth. That Santa wasn’t real, that there was no workshop at the North Pole staffed by elves (and Will Ferrell). Turns out it was all our parents doing, they were the one who bought all the gifts and ate the cookies. Santa Claus was nothing more than a make believe story. Or is he? I say he is real. And I have proof.
Photo courtesy of Vanessa Pike-Russel from Flickr.
See this photo? Of course you know who it is. But show this photo to any random person on the street and ask them who it is and 9 times out of 10 they will say it is Santa Claus. If he isn’t real, than why do people recognize him?
The truth is Santa is real, in a way. No he doesn’t fly around the world on a sleigh pulled by reindeer. But the legend does have it’s roots in reality. Santa Claus is based off Saint Nicholas who was a Bishop in what is now modern day Turkey. He was known for secret gift giving, leaving coins in the shoes of the poor. There are also several similarities between the Norse god Odin and Santa Claus. Odin was associated with the Germanic holiday known as Yule. Odin would ride an eight legged horse named Sleipnir that was able to leap great distances. Modern day folklorists compare this to Santa’s reindeer. As Odin was riding his great horse, children would place their boots, filled with carrots, straw, or sugar, near the chimney for Sleipnir to eat. For those children that did this, Odin would reward them by placing gifts and candy into their boots. This tradition is still practiced today as seen in the hanging of stockings by the chimney in homes. In modern times, Saint Nicholas was merged with Father Christmas to create the character known as Santa Claus. Only in the 20th Century is where his now familiar appearance came into being.
So how does this make Santa Claus real? It’s just the history of him, nothing else right? Not necessarily. Let’s go back to again when you were a kid. Who bought all the toys, wrapped them, and hid them under the tree? Most likely your parents. And when they were kids their parents did the same thing. And some of you who are reading this now have children of your own and are doing the same thing. So in a sense we are Santa Claus in that we continue the traditions from one generation to the next.
So there you have it. Santa Claus is most definitely real.
We here at Weird Fresno want to wish everyone happy holidays. It’s hard to believe 2010 is almost over. Let’s hope 2011 is a good year for everyone.