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The Student Prints

The History of Santa Claus

The History of Santa Claus

December 25, for most children, is one of the most magical days of the year. They wake up bright and early just to run downstairs. As they turn down the hall, a Christmas tree stocked full of presents dropped off by Santa Claus the night before awaits them. This magical moment is full of happiness and excitement. Santa has brought joy into the lives of children for a long time. 

Sadly, the magic of Santa Claus only lasts for a few years for each child. “I think I stopped believing in Santa when I was in third or fourth grade,” freshman Mollie Breen said. Like Mollie, most children no longer believe in the magic of Christmas by the time they are eight or nine. Some are told by their parents while others find out from friends that while the enjoyment Santa brings is real, the big man in the red suit isn’t. Even as children grow up, they never forget the joy that Santa had brought them.

The story of Santa has been around for quite some time, dating back to 270 AD at the birth of Saint Nicholas, a turkish monk, who was well known for his kindhearted soul. According to, there are many stories of Saint Nick’s gift-giving and kindness. Some of these many stories include saving families from slavery, helping children in rough situations, and providing money to those in need. 

Eventually, as time passed, these stories got passed on, being retold in many different languages. In Dutch, he was nicknamed Sinter Klaas. In the 16th century, Saint Nicholas was one of the most popular Saints in the church’s history, according to

As people came to America in the late 18th century, they brought with them stories of Saint Nick’s life. Eventually, his Dutch name turned into the Santa Claus we all know and love. In the 19th century, Christmas gifts became more common, typically oriented towards children getting presents. 

Around the 1830s and 40s, people started using Santa Claus as a way to market and sell gifts. In many ways, Santa Claus became the face of the holidays. He became more and more popular, eventually adopting an arrangement of names such as Kris Kringle, Santa Claus, Ole’ Saint Nick, and more all across the world. 

According to, “In 1804, John Pintard, a member of the New York Historical Society, distributed woodcuts of St. Nicholas at the society’s annual meeting.” These woodcuttings were a major start to the spread of who Santa is and what he stood for. Each woodcutting had illustrations such as presents and stockings. 

Other things also helped the spread of Santa and Christmas magic. Each year, there were new stories and music was being written about him. The Night Before Christmas, written by Clement Clarke Moore, was one of the most popular stories written about Santa in the early 20th century. Other stories also developed, such as Santa’s present workshop in the north pole and his reindeer that pulled a magical flying sleigh.

The life of Santa Claus didn’t just stop at gift giving. Movies, books, songs, and charity foundations have all been created in his name. One of the most popular foundations of this day is the Salvation Army. Back in the 1890s when the foundation was new, homeless men would dress up in Santa suits when asking for money. This made people feel not only like they were doing something good to help others in need but it also made it fun. The history of Santa Claus is still growing to this day with new ideas being born every year.

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About the Contributor
Maggie Schmitt
Maggie Schmitt, Co-Editor-In-Chief
Maggie Schmitt is a senior and has been on The Student Prints newspaper for three years. She is currently the co-editor and oversees the newspaper process to make sure everything runs smoothly. In addition to newspaper, Maggie has leadership positions in the marching band as well as being a member in Science Olympiad, National Honor Society, and a teacher in martial arts. After high school, Maggie hopes to expand on her passion for baking by pursuing food business management and entrepreneurship.  

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