Walsh, Joseph J.. In Sweden and Norway, children leave rice porridge. In Ireland it is popular to give him Guinness or milk, along with Christmas pudding or mince pies. In Hungary, St. They get sweets in a bag if they were good, and a golden colored birch switch if not. On Christmas Eve "Little Jesus" comes and gives gifts for everyone.
One Last Xmas Thing Being SANTA'S LITTLE HELPER All Year 'Round
New Zealander, British, Australian, Irish, Canadian and American children also leave a carrot for Santa's reindeer, and were traditionally told that if they are not good all year round, that they will receive a lump of coal in their stockings, although this practice is now considered archaic. Children following the Dutch custom for sinterklaas will "put out their shoe"—that is, leave hay and a carrot for his horse in a shoe before going to bed—sometimes weeks before the sinterklaas avond.
The next morning they will find the hay and carrot replaced by a gift; often, this is a marzipan figurine. Naughty children were once told that they would be left a roe a bundle of sticks instead of sweets, but this practice has been discontinued. Last minute rituals for children before going to bed include aligning stockings at the mantelpiece or other place where Santa cannot fail to see them, peeking up the chimney in homes with a fireplace , glancing out a window and scanning the heavens for Santa's sleigh, and in homes without a fireplace unlocking an exterior door so Santa can easily enter the house.
Tags on gifts for children are sometimes signed by their parents "From Santa Claus" before the gifts are laid beneath the tree. Santa Claus's home traditionally includes a residence and a workshop where he creates—often with the aid of elves or other supernatural beings—the gifts he delivers to good children at Christmas. Some stories and legends include a village, inhabited by his helpers, surrounding his home and shop.
There is also a city named North Pole in Alaska where a tourist attraction known as the "Santa Claus House" has been established. The US postal service uses the city's zip code of as their advertised postal code for Santa Claus. Each Nordic country claims Santa's residence to be within their territory.
In Denmark, he is said to live in Greenland near Uummannaq. In Sweden, the town of Mora has a theme park named Tomteland. The national postal terminal in Tomteboda in Stockholm receives children's letters for Santa. Santa Claus appears in the weeks before Christmas in department stores or shopping malls, or at parties.
A Pictorial History of Santa Claus
The practice of this has been credited to James Edgar, as he started doing this in in his Brockton, Massachusetts department store. He is played by an actor, usually helped by other actors often mall employees dressed as elves or other creatures of folklore associated with Santa. Santa's function is either to promote the store's image by distributing small gifts to children, or to provide a seasonal experience to children by listening to their wishlist while having them sit on his knee a practice now under review by some organisations in Britain, and Switzerland. Sometimes a photograph of the child and Santa are taken.
Having a Santa set up to take pictures with children is a ritual that dates back at least to The area set up for this purpose is festively decorated, usually with a large throne, and is called variously "Santa's Grotto", "Santa's Workshop" or a similar term.
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In the United States, the most notable of these is the Santa at the flagship Macy's store in New York City—he arrives at the store by sleigh in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on the last float, and his court takes over a large portion of one floor in the store. Essayist David Sedaris is known for the satirical SantaLand Diaries he kept while working as an elf in the Macy's display, which were turned into a famous radio segment and later published.
A magical way to explain Santa to kids without them feeling lied to
Quite often the Santa, if and when he is detected to be fake, explains that he is not the real Santa and is helping him at this time of year. Most young children accept this explanation. At family parties, Santa is sometimes impersonated by the male head of the household or other adult male family member. In Canada, malls operated by Oxford Properties established a process by which autistic children could visit Santa Claus at the mall without having to contend with crowds.
The malls open early to allow entry only to families with autistic children, who have a private visit with Santa Claus. In , the Southcentre Mall in Calgary was the first mall to offer this service. There are schools offering instruction on how to act as Santa Claus. It blossomed into a second career for him, and after appearing in parades and malls. Writing letters to Santa Claus has been a Christmas tradition for children for many years. These letters normally contain a wishlist of toys and assertions of good behavior.
Some social scientists have found that boys and girls write different types of letters. Girls generally write longer but more polite lists and express the nature of Christmas more in their letters than in letters written by boys. Girls also more often request gifts for other people. Many postal services allow children to send letters to Santa Claus. The USPS Santa letter answering effort started in out of the historic James Farley Post Office in New York, and since has been called "Operation Santa" to ensure that letters to Santa are adopted by charitable organizations, major corporations, local businesses and individuals in order to make children's holiday dreams come true from coast to coast.
Other interesting Santa letter processing information, according to the UPU's study and survey of national postal operations, are:.
Canada Post has a special postal code for letters to Santa Claus, and since over 13, Canadian postal workers have volunteered to write responses. Sometimes children's charities answer letters in poor communities, or from children's hospitals, and give them presents they would not otherwise receive. In , 1, workers answered 1. In Britain it was traditional for some to burn the Christmas letters on the fire so that they would be magically transported by the wind to the North Pole.
However this has been found to be less efficient than the use of the normal postal service, and this tradition is dying out in modern times, especially with few homes having open fires. In Mexico and other Latin American countries, besides using the mail, sometimes children wrap their letters to a small helium balloon, releasing them into the air so Santa magically receives them. Other nonconformist Christians condemn the materialist focus of contemporary gift giving and see Santa Claus as the symbol of that culture.
Condemnation of Christmas was prevalent among the 17th-century English Puritans and Dutch Calvinists who banned the holiday as either pagan or Roman Catholic. The American colonies established by these groups reflected this view. Tolerance for Christmas increased after the Restoration but the Puritan opposition to the holiday persisted in New England for almost two centuries.
Paul Nedergaard, a clergyman in Copenhagen, Denmark, attracted controversy in when he declared Santa to be a "pagan goblin" after Santa's image was used on fund-raising materials for a Danish welfare organization Clar, One prominent religious group that refuses to celebrate Santa Claus, or Christmas itself, for similar reasons is the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Santa's Little Helper
A number of denominations of Christians have varying concerns about Santa Claus, which range from acceptance to denouncement. Some Christians prefer the holiday focus on the actual birth of Jesus, believing that Christmas stemmed from pagan festivals such as the Roman Saturnalia and Germanic Yule that were subsumed within ancient Christianity. An even smaller subset of Reformed Christians actually prefer the secularized version of the holiday for the same reasons, believing that to relegate Christ's birth to Christmas is wrong.
How St. Nicholas Center. At that time, sleighs were how you got about Manhattan. Writing in Mothering , writer Carol Jean-Swanson makes similar points, noting that the original figure of St. Nicholas gave only to those who were needy and that today Santa Claus seems to be more about conspicuous consumption:. In the Czech Republic, a group of advertising professionals started a website against Santa Claus, a relatively recent phenomenon in that country. The date of St. Nicholas Day has never been December Despite the many times the Santa legend is told, the magical St.
Nicholas to Santa Claus fairy-tale is simply untrue. Nearly all Santa researchers agree that some traits of Santa was borrowed from Norse [Scandinavian] mythology. Crichton describes Odin as riding through the sky on an eight-legged, white horse name Sleipnir. Santa originally had eight reindeers, Rudolph was nine. Odin lived in Valhalla the North and had a long white beard.
Odin would fly through the sky during the winter solstice December rewarding the good children and punishing the naughty.
Children answer all the big questions about Santa and the magic of Christmas
Crichton, Robin. Who is Santa Claus? The Truth Behind a Living Legend.