A Cincinnati newspaper announced in 1844 that "the sterling old Dutchman, Santa Claus, has just arrived from the renowned regions of the Manhattoes," or Manhattan, "with his usual budget of knickknacks for the Christmas times." Manhattan is where Santa Claus, the secular re-imagining of St. Nicholas, first emerged care of canny cultural nostalgics among the city's lettered and business classes, most notably Clement Clarke Moore. But he later relocated to the North Pole or, in the European tradition, to Lapland in northern Scandinavia. Santa's migration north allows us a fascinating insight into the 19th century's preoccupation with the high latitudes, while period winter details furnish the man with many of his trappings. It's no surprise that wintry elements should have attached to Nicholas's iconography, given his Dec. 6 feast day and his popularity in Northern Europe, far from his Byzantine origins in what is now southern Turkey. Nicholas was closely associated with chimney and hearth long before Europeans first settled Manhattan Island in the early 17th century. But it was only with his rise in visibility in New York, primarily with Moore's 1822 poem, "A Visit From St. Nicholas," that he appeared against a backdrop of "new fallen snow," complete with sleigh and eight named reindeer.? From an article by Jeremy Seal, December 20, 2005
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