Christmas Origins: Santa Claus

Josiah Adams, reporter

Christmas is a joyful, holy, and commercialized time of the year for many. We’ve all decorated a Christmas tree, told stories of a big old jolly man dressed in red, and exchanged gifts with loved ones. Christmas was originally celebrated as a day to honor the birth of Jesus Christ, yet is enjoyed by non-Christians across the globe. It’s arguable that with this new secularization of Christmas, Santa Claus has become the most famous of the Christmas characters.

But jolly old Santa Claus is based off of the beloved Catholic Bishop of Myra, St. Nicholas. Societies Americanized Santa and may be dismissed as a myth, but St. Nicholas of Myra was quite real. Like Santa Claus, St.Nicholas was generous to children by giving them toys, food, and on one occasion gold. This however, is the happy child loving St. Nicholas. He was also familiar with jail.

St.Nicholas was a Bishop during a time when the Romans executed and imprisoned the followers of Jesus. When the Romans allowed the church to openly hold the Council of Nicea in AD325, he was there to do business. For years St.Nicholas faced the possibility of death by the hands of the Romans because of his faith. So when a man named Arius told Nicholas and all the other Bishops that Jesus wasn’t God, Nicholas decked Arius by punching him in the face. Merry Christmas Arius.

And that’s the man who inspired Santa Claus. A gift giving, joy bringing, and face punching Bishop.