The History of Christmas


Sam Brummett, Staff Writer

December is always a special time of year. As Christmas approaches, everyone seems to be in a good mood. One of the best parts of December is the Christmas traditions. One of the greatest traditions shared by many around the world is the story of Santa. While the wonder of Santa was enchanting for all of us when we were younger, it seems less mystical now. Santa’s legend is something younger generations can share, but not us. However, there is some truth to this story of Santa.

There once was a man named St. Nicholas. It is believed that St. Nicholas was born in Patara in modern day-Turkey, in 280 A.D. He became known for his kindness. He gave away all of his wealth and traveled the countryside to treat the sick and poor. After he passed, many Dutch families began to gather in remembrance of St.Nicholas. As generations continued this tradition, word spread to New York. In New York there is a Historical Society that meets once every year to initiate more ways to involve the city in history. At one meeting, Pintard, a member from the New York Historical Society, gave out woodcuts containing pictures of Dutch traditions. The woodcuts  contained images of fruit and toy filled stocking hung over a fireplace. As the legend grew, corporations started using the holiday for marketing and advertisements, becoming more and more fanatical. Marketing changed a selfless, Turkish, homeless, benefactor, and caregiver into the Santa we have today.

While the modern day Santa is great, it does not accurately depict St. Nicholas’ generosity. A man of great wealth making himself homeless and poor in order to better others is far different than a wealthy man giving gifts once a year. Both are very generous figures, however, the true St. Nicholas gave to others with no concern for his own well being. Santa will always be an important figure in history because his kindness caught the attention of many. While corporations have done a great job marketing the Christmas ideal, their actions have taken away from the holiday’s true meaning. Hopefully the holiday will continue to be focused on the generosity of the heart and not material possessions.