reindeer64Most of Santa’s reindeer have male-sounding names, such as Blitzer, Comet, and Cupid. However, male reindeers shed their antlers around Christmas, so the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh are likely not male, but female or castrati
ChristmasTree-Candle64Santa Claus is called Babbo Natale in Italy.
christmas_candy_caneThe original Saint Nicholas of Myria was the patron saint of thieves.
christmas_presentSanta Claus’s workshop was first depicted by the cartoonist Thomas Nast in 1866.
santa_sleighSanta Claus goes by several aliases depending on where he is in the world. In China, he’s known as “Shengdan Laoren;” in the UK, “Father Christmas;” in France as “Pere Noel;” and in some Latin countries, he is called “El Niesus” or “Papa Noel.” During the Communist years of Russia, he was hailed as “Father Frost.”
reindeer64In some countries, including Germany, it is said that the Baby Jesus is the bearer of gifts, not Santa.
christmas_mistletoeThe Canadian Postal System has an official address for Santa Claus where children can write to Santa and receive a response, no matter what language you speak or what country you are from. This address is: Santa Claus, North Pole, Canada HOH OHO.
christmas_decorationsMany European countries believed that spirits, both good and evil, were active during the Twelve Days of Christmas. These spirits eventually evolved into Santa’s elves, especially under the influence of Clement C. Moore’s The Night Before Christmas (1779-1863) illustrated by Thomas Nast (1840-1902).
santa_clausSanta Claus is based on a real person, St. Nikolas of Myra (also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker, Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna, and Nikolaos of Bari), who lived during the fourth century. Born in Patara (in modern-day Turkey), he is the world’s most popular non-Biblical saint, and artists have portrayed him more often than any other saint except Mary. He is the patron saint of banking, pawnbroking, pirating, butchery, sailing, thievery, orphans, royalty, and New York City.
santa_bishop64Early illustrations of St. Nicholas depict him as stern, commanding, and holding a birch rod. He was more a symbol of discipline and punishment than the jolly, overweight elf children know today
Horse_archigraphs64The Viking god Odin is one precursor to the modern Santa Claus. According to myth, Odin rode his flying horse, Sleipnir (a precursor to Santa’s reindeer), who had eight legs. In the winter, Odin gave out both gifts and punishments, and children would fill their boots or stockings with treats for Sleipnir.
reindeer64According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), there are 2,106 million children under age 18 in the world. If there are on average 2.5 children per household, Santa would have to make 842 million stops on Christmas Eve, traveling 221 million miles. To reach all 842 million stops, Santa would need to travel between houses in 2/10,000 second, which means he would need to accelerate 12.19 million miles (20.5 billion meters) per second on each stop. The force of this acceleration would reduce Santa to “chunky salsa.”
christmas_stockingChristmas stockings allegedly evolved from three sisters who were too poor to afford a marriage dowry and were, therefore, doomed to a life of prostitution. They were saved, however, when the wealthy Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna (the precursor to Santa Claus) crept down their chimney and generously filled their stockings with gold coins.
christmas_letterEvery year, about 100,000 letters addressed to “Santa Claus, North Pole,” find their way to Alaska, which has a town named North Pole.