Christmas is right around the corner and the festivities are in full swing. The houses are lighted, Christmas tree decorated, last minute shopping done, cookies baked, and eggnog flowing in flutes. All that is left now is the wait for the jolly old man in red who comes riding in his sleigh, pulled by reindeer. He slips down the chimney, feasts on milk and cookies and leaves behind wonderful presents for everyone.
St. Nicholas was a Bishop who lived in a place called Myra in Turkey during the 4th century. He was a very rich man who was also kind by nature. He used to help poor people by giving them secret gifts. Due to his kind nature, he was made a Saint.
As per a popular legend, there was once an old man who had three daughters. The man was so poor that he could not afford to give dowry to his daughters. One night, St. Nicholas dropped, down the chimney, a bag of gold which landed in one of the stockings hanging by the fire to dry. The old man was surprised to find this bounty. He was able to marry his oldest daughter. The same episode was repeated with the second daughter. Now, the old man decided to find out about this secret well-wisher. So, he hid behind the fireplace every evening until he caught St. Nicholas. This is how the tradition of hanging stockings by
the fireplace started.
Colors of Christmas
Many people believe that the red and white colors of Santa Claus became famous from the Coke ad of the 1920s. In this ad, the artist Haddon Sundblom, made a jolly Santa with a protruding belly, dressed in a red and white robe and a glass of coke in hand. The truth is that St Nicholas started wearing his bishop’s red robe long ago. During the Victorian times, he was portrayed in a range of colors but red was still a part of them. In the first illustration of Santa Claus, by Thomas Nast, he wore a stars and stripes outfit. Haddon Sundblom just took his inspiration from these early drawings.
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