MATALAM, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 14 December) – Christmas time is just the best time to talk about Santa Claus. And though this bearded man may no longer be an important Christmas character in some parts of the world, he stays fantastic, a fantasy and fun to some children in other parts of the world. Though for us adults, Santa Claus is no more than a creation of an ingenious mind from out of the blue.
Santa Claus will live forevermore in the minds of both children and adults who still imagine him as a symbolism for Christmas that can’t be done without in any Christmas décor assortments. He lives for as long as we give him life in our imagination and fantasy. But how did this being came to life and evolved is just as important a question as his having a place in the array of Christmas decorations that we find in almost all Christian homes.
In looking for the historical roots of Santa Claus, one must go very deep in the past. One discovers that Santa Claus, as we know him, is a combination of many different legends and mythical creatures that evolved over time and probably interpreted in some ways quite differently from one culture to another.
We know that the basis for the Christian-era Santa Claus was Bishop Nicholas of Smyrna (Izmir), in what is now Turkey. Nicholas lived in the 4th century A.D. He was very rich, generous, and loving towards children. Often he gave joy to poor children by throwing gifts in through their windows.
The Orthodox Church later raised St. Nicholas, the miracle worker, to a position of great esteem. It was in his honor that Russia’s oldest church, for example, was built. For its part, the Roman Catholic Church honored Nicholas as one who helped children and the poor. St. Nicholas became the patron saint of children and seafarers. His name day is December 6th.
Having said all these, here is yet another profound reply to my previous post “Letter to Santa Claus” that cracked my impressions. This kind of reply (comment) is what I always refer to as “the other relevant and substantial part of the story.” I love this reply from Manchester, England, courtesy of someone who wants to remain as mysterious as Santa Claus.
December 14, 2022
Loved your thought provoking post. My family are Christians, and everyone I know who are, have a different take on Christmas and although I can’t speak for them we have never had any difficulty in separating the religious Christmas from the fantasy and celebrate them both, and in doing so we both give and receive.
I think when my two girls where young they completely embraced both the wonders of the Nativity story with the traditional carols and advent as well as believing in the mystical Santa and the fun side of Christmas. For my family it has never been about the presents but always about the extended family coming together to eat and play games and enjoy the Christmas period and this is what the girls remember most.
As far as Santa is concerned – yes a very strange fellow and concept and of course he has developed over time encompassing several different celebrations from many countries with the English Victorians playing a major part in the molding of the modern Christmas bringing into it their view of children being deserving or not. However strange most of us still like to partly believe in Santa and I do think Santa has to remain a larger than life person who does things that are impossible and without a reasonable or scientific explanation, like going down chimneys, riding through the atmosphere at altitude without the need for extra oxygen and visiting everyone in the world in one evening – in a way just like Jesus is said to perform miracles. If for instance Santa was just an ordinary Joe Blogs who pulls up in his car and knocks on the door and hands over a present like the postman it would just not have that same appeal! Children have that wonderful capacity to believe anything is possible and Christmas allows them to indulge in this – all too soon we learn that both the world and the people in it can be very limiting.
Sorry I have been a while getting back to you and hope you didn’t think that you had offended me in any way – far from it – I found your humorous take on Santa Claus quite amusing but at the same time highlighting the sad increase in commercialism year on year that seems to invade and spoil Christmas for many of us.
I am happy for you to post this in your thread if you wish… and there again maybe, I just want to remain as mysterious as Santa himself!
(Maugan P. Mosaid holds a doctorate degree in rural development. He is a freelance writer and planning consultant. He teaches Statistics and Methods of Research in the graduate school. He can be contacted at email@example.com.)