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🧠 This post is part of my brain gain series.

The legend of St. Nick, additionally called St. Nicholas, Kris Kringle, and Santa Claus has been a beloved part of Christmas traditions for hundreds of years. But, where did he come from? Here’s a brief jolly old history lesson for you.

The origins of St. Nick begins in the fourth century, with a bishop named St. Nicholas. Bishop Nicholas lived in what’s currently modern Turkey. Over time he became known for his generosity and kindness, notably towards kids. He would usually leave tiny gifts and treats for youngsters.

Over the centuries, the legend of St. Nicholas evolved and spread all over Europe. He is known by a different name in different countries such as Sinterklaas in the Netherlands. In the U.S., the legend of St. Nick was additionally popularized by a series of poems written by Clement Clarke Moore within the nineteenth century. The poems envisioned a plump, jolly old guy who gives presents to kids on Dec 24th.

The modern image of St. Nick as a fat, white-bearded man in a red suit with a black belt and boots is essentially thanks to the Coca-Cola company’s promotion campaigns in the nineteen thirties and forties.

Today, the legend of St. Nick remains a beloved a part of Christmas celebrations around the world. Kids eagerly await his arrival on Dec 24th, leave out milk and cookies for him, and excitedly check their stockings for any treats and toys he left.

The exact origin, and look of Santa Claus may vary around the world, but the spirit of generosity and kindness that the bishop/saint represents remains strong.

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Billy Wilcosky