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In about 280 A.D. a man named Nicholas was born in Patara, Lycia — in what is now called Turkey. Just as other of that Emperor Constantine period, Nicholas entered a life of religious servitude, working his way up from abbot to archbishop of the nearby town of Myra, where he became known as Nicholas of Myra.
45 years later, Nicholas attended the First Council of Nicaea and helped create the Nicene Creed. Millions of children were later to memorize the Nicene Creed as part of their religious training.
A few years later, when Nicholas hears of a father who without enough money for his three daughters' dowries, which at that time would force them into a "very compromised lifestyle", Nicholas leaves three bags of gold outside the girls' home, in the girls' shoes) So began the custom of gift giving, the generous and compassionate reputation of Santa Claus, and perhaps even the tradition of Christmas Stockings.
In the years that followed, Nicholas becomes renowned for his unexplainable miracles. Noteworthy among these are saving a ship from a terrible storm by calming the rough sea, and flying into the air to rescue a kidnapped boy and solving the mystery of a triple homicide and bringing three children who had been chopped into pieces and stored in pickling jars back from the dead.
Nicholas died on December 6, 343 A.D. and was buried in Myra.
Some time during the 6th Century A.D. Nicholas was canonized as a saint. Nicholas was one of the most popular saints in history, becoming the patron of more things than any other saint except Mary, including seamen, scholars, brides, the hungry and most importantly in this context: children!
Several Italian sailors stole the remains of Saint Nicholas and brought them to them to Bari, Italy. The Italian tomb becomes a popular pilgrimage site.
Over the next several centuries St. Nicholas's dying day becomes his "name day," Dec. 6. This becomes a holiday that follows the harvest and slaughter season. The Dutch call him "Sinterklaas." On the eve of Saint Nicholas' name day, shoes are left out in hopes that Sinterklaas will leave presents in them. Much like today's Santa Claus, magically naughty and nice children received different presents: Good children received toys or candy and naughty children didn't get a bag of coal, but a receive a switch to punish them with.
The church and government, never comfortable with all the attention Santa was stealing from them, banned the celebration of Christmas and Santa in the 16th & 17th centuries in most of Europe and America -- except Holland.
But a hundred or so years later, in 1809, the New York Historical Society founder John Pintard declared St. Nicholas the "Patron saint of New York City". The history of "New Amsterdam was published and recollected the "Shoe and Gift Giving" tradition of Santa.
In the 1800 in New York, Christmas was commonly celebrated. The New York Historical Society published a picture of the newly declared patron saint, throughout the Christmas season, giving gifts to children. But that Santa looked nothing like today's jolly version, he was bald and appeared very stern and serious.
The debate is still pending, but sometime in the early 1820s either So, who wrote Henry Livingston or Clement Clarke penned a poem about Santa Claus delivering presents on Christmas Eve for the very first time, and described a sleigh pulled by reindeer. Beginning with, "'Twas the night before Christmas."
By the 1840s the name "Santa Claus" had grown in popularity, and in department stores and newspaper advertisements Santa's name became visible everywhere.
Harper's Weekly cartoonist Thomas Nast drew a red-coated, white-bearded Santa Claus who still wasn't too jolly. Later Nast drawings portrayed Santa's workshop and home at the North Pole.
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade had it's first debut of Santa Claus in 1924
Coca Cola commissioned illustrator Haddon Sundblom to draw a Santa Claus for their advertisements and he created a round-faced, red-nosed Santa Claus for a Coca Cola ad, and Santa begins to look jollier than ever.
Fred Coots teamed up with a variety of lyricists to write songs for Broadway and the Cotton Club. His most successful collaboration was with Haven Gillespie, with whom he wrote "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" in 1934. That is the first time Santa made a list and checked it twice...
In 1939 a Montgomery Ward store employee names Robert L. May invented Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
Miracles on 34th Street in 1934 appeared and is watchedeach year since in celebration of Christmas.
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus penned in 1952 by Jimmy Boyd caught Santa in the act for the first time!
The Catholic Church revamps its liturgical calendar and de-saints over 200 people and making the celebration of 92 others, including St. Nicholas, optional.
Poor Grandma got run over by a reindeer in a song written and first performed by Elmo Shropshire in 1979. Grandma has had that same problem year after year since.
Santa gets his free, non-commercial dot-net website in 1996: And we are proud to be a part of this history at Santa's Website on Santa.net
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