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Santa Claus

Thursday, December 4, 2008

To begin our explanation of Santa Claus, we must go back 1,600 years, to the fourth century. A Roman Catholic Church official of that time, Nicholas of Myra, became famous for his many good works. After he died, the church declared him a saint. He became a special saint for children. On the anniversary of his death each year, good children were presented gifts.

In Holland, the Dutch people told children the gifts came from Saint Herr Nicholas. In the Dutch language his name became "Sinter Klaas". The Dutch brought the Sinter Klaas tradition to America. Americans called the gift giver " Santa Claus". And they included him in their Christmas celebration.

Thomas Nast first drew the Santa Claus we see today. Thomas Nast was an American artist. He drew pictures for books and newspapers. Someone asked him to draw a picture of Santa Claus.

Thomas Nast remembered when he was a boy in Germany, a fat little old man had given toys and cakes to children. So that is how he drew Santa Claus. That drawing made more than 125 years ago has remained our picture of Santa Claus. Santa is a fat, smiling, little old man with a red nose and a white beard. He is dressed in a red suit, with a black leather belt and black boots.


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