Why Does Santa Live at the North Pole?

santashouse
Not Santa’s actual house.

The simple reason Santa lives at the North Pole? It’s not crowded, there’s room for the reindeer, and people don’t give the elves funny looks.

But the reason we focus on the North Pole as the home of Santa has little to do with tradition. The original St. Nicholas lived in a Roman town in what is now the Country of Turkey.

Santa was first associated with the North Pole by American cartoonist Thomas Nast.

Since Christmas was associated with snow and cold, the North Pole seemed a logical choice.

Nast’s drawings in Harper’s Weekly helped standardize the vision of Santa in his fur trimmed red suit delivering toys from his North Pole workshop.

When Nast proposed the North Pole as Santa’s workshop location in the mid 1800s, no other humans had visited there. That wouldn’t happen until 1909.

Santa’s house wasn’t found, by the way.

Christmas magic.

But, you knew that.

Advertisements

The Care and Feeding of Reindeer

feedreindeer

Thanks Santa for those two posts this week. I hope you get that beach house. I really do.

Folks one of the many reasons Santa needs to get away every so often is that reindeer, as loveable and as essential as they are, can be a bit of a pain to take care of.

Consider the things Santa has to keep in mind.

Reindeer eat mostly hay and reindeer food which is not readily available at the North Pole. Santa has to drive down into Canada to find the closest feed store.

Reindeer aren’t native to the North Pole. Santa has his favorite eight reindeer, and Rudolph of course, but he often has to go to Finland to recruit alternates just in case one of the others can’t fly on Christmas Eve.

In the off months, the reindeer train in a special facility Santa had built at the North Pole. And ever since that nasty incident with Rudolph the reindeer games have been open to all entrants.

And sure, Santa has a veterinarian on hand along with a certain set of elves to help in caring for the reindeer, and ultimately, he’s the one responsible.

Christmas and being Santa is so much more than toys, folks.

Santa Needs a Beach House

santabeach

Santa here again.

Following up on yesterday’s theme, I’m searching for a beach house.

Look, can you help a fellow out here? I’ve told you that I love the milk and cookies, but if maybe a few thousands of you would consider leaving out some stocks and bonds, or even currency?

The Mrs. and I really need to get some sun this summer. And, don’t tell them, but the elves can really get on your nerves after a while.

We won’t talk about reindeer smells.

So, if you could help us out, that would be great.

I’m just asking.

The milk and cookies really are just fine.

No, I Don’t Get the Year Off

santavacation

Santa here.

I need to clear up a major misconception.

A lot of people, perhaps your parents, have a tendency to think that I only work one night a year. Nevermind that in that night I travel the globe delivering presents to millions of good boys and girls.

But when I return back to the North Pole just before midnight on December 25 I get in a good, long winter’s nap, and the next day it’s back to work.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take a day or two here and there to watch some football and even sneak in a beach visit or two.

But I’m always working on your behalf. Always developing new toys and games.

And I’m always watching.

Always.

Just thought you’d want to know.

Why Milk and Cookies?

santacookies

For years (centuries even) children have been leaving milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. Never mind that’s how he gets to the bowl full of jelly part.

The tradition goes way back to when Santa Claus was known as St. Nicholas. On St. Nicholas Day (Celebrated December 6, we’ll talk about that another time), children would leave out food and drink which would be exchanged for gifts overnight.

In other traditions, such as in Germany where the first Christmas trees were decorated with apples and cookies Santa would often snack on the tree decorations. When decorations became shiny balls and baubles, the tradition of the snacks remained.

Norse mythology had children leaving out hay and other treats for Sleipner, Odin’s eight legged horse.

During the Depressionin the United States parents wanted to teach their children to share, even though they themselves might be struggling, so they would encourage the children to leave snacks for Santa and the reindeer.

While Children around the world leave various treats for Santa, the cookies and milk seem to be the American version of a long-standing tradition.

Santa doesn’t seem to mind.

The Giving of the Gifts

epiphany_01

Christmas tradition tell us that the real reason we celebrate is the gift of the Christ child.

But on January 6 traditions around the world celebrate Epiphany, also known as the Feast of Lights or Three Kings Day.

It recognizes God becoming human in his Son Jesus, and it acknowledges the visits of the Magi (traditionally referred to as the three kings) and their gifts to the Christ Child.

Different Christian traditions recognize this day in different ways.

But the gift giving didn’t begin with Santa, or St. Nicholas.

We’ll talk about how he (or is it I?) got started later on.