Dec 17, 2007

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Santa Claus

Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, or simply "Santa" is a fictional folklore figure who, in Western cultures, is presented as bringing gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or on his feast day, December 6. The legend may have its basis in hagiographical tales concerning the historical figure of Saint Nicholas.

The popular North American form Santa Claus is derived from the Dutch Sinterklaas, which in turn is a contracted form of Sint Nicolaas (Saint Nicholas). However, the Dutch Sinterklaas is depicted as being very different from Santa Claus in many ways. Santa Claus has a suit that comes in many colors depending on the country[citation needed]. The most common depiction (red with white cuffs, collar, and black leather belt) became the more popular image in the United States in the 19th century due to the significant influence of Thomas Nast. In the mid-20th Century a series of Coca-Cola advertisements featuring a Santa Claus drawn rotund and jovial by artist Haddon Sundblom popularized Nast's depiction.

There are controversial aspects of the Santa Claus fiction. Some Christians feel he takes the focus of Christmas away from Jesus Christ; others feel it is unhealthy for parents to orchestrate elaborate lies to their children to enforce their belief in Santa Claus. Others oppose Santa Claus as a symbol of the commercialization and conspicuous consumption of the Christmas holiday, and as an intrusion upon their own national traditions.