By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In just four nights, Santa will make his way around the world. Or is it St. Nick? Kris Kringle? Papa Noel?

Where did Santa Claus come from? Good Question.

The original Santa started out as Nicholas – a bishop from a Greek-controlled area that is now modern-day Turkey.  He was known for being kind and generous. As the story goes, Nicholas would toss bags of gold into the windows of the poor.

After his death, Nicholas became a saint and stories about him traveled far and wide. The Dutch referred to him as SinterKlaas and Americans later turned that name into Santa Claus. Back then, he wore the traditional red bishop garb and carried a staff hooked at the top.

It wasn’t until the 1800s that Saint Nicholas became more popular in the U.S. In 1822, religion professor Clement Moore wrote a poem for his children called “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Forty years later, political cartoonist Thomas Nash drew Santa Claus for Harper’s Weekly. It was Nash who gave Santa a brown – and later red – coat as well as an address from the North Pole.

By the 1930s, Coca-Cola had cemented the jolly, red-and-white clothed version of Santa when it began 30 years of advertising with Santa.


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