Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The History of Christmas According to Dan (2 of 5)

So who is this Santa fella and how does he relate to the Christ child's birth?

Apparently he’s based off of Saint Nicholas of Myra, who was the bishop of Myra in the 4th century. He was known for his gift giving skills to the poor. (He gave a lot of presents to keep poor women from becoming prostitutes.)

I thought to myself, St. Francis of Assisi and Robin Hood are both known for similar skills. What if they came along first? Then we’d have presents delivered by St. Francis, a man with a more righteous beard than St. Nick, or Robin Hood, who is a guy that favors tights to coats. It would’ve really affected my childhood. I would either love beards more than I already do or love tights... more than I already do.

So, the Dutch started the Santa Claus term, by having a fella named Sinterklass, deliver presents on December 6th. Sinterklaas means “The Good Saint”, but I was thinking it sounded more like a German Death-Metal Band, like Rammstein.

Side note: There are many parrarels drawn between Santa and Odin, a major Norse god, who was known cross the sky with his hunting party once a year. Children would leave carrots and straw in their boots to feed his horse Sleipnir, an eight legged horse that could leap long distances. For the best take on this, listen to Smodcast #66.

Then, in the 17th century, Sinterklaas was merged with the British Father Christmas, and thus a sweet, skinny, hippy, robed dude named Santa Claus was born.

More and more, decade after decade, Santa gained weight. Then in the 1930s, Coca Cola pretty much immortalized the chubby Santa Claus we know today in an ad campaign. This was probably to show all of those people that were starving during the great depression that Santa was eating fine, and had unlimited supplies of Cocaine filled soft drinks to keep him delivering presents all night long.

Of course technology has tainted the purity of Santa Claus a bit. We’re like hungry paparazzi outside of Paris Hilton’s house. We must know what Santa is doing at all times. Now Santa is tracked by Norad, can receive email, and even has a GPS locator cell phone app or two.

I’m beginning to think Futurama was correct, and Robot Santa will soon blow up bad little boys and girls with rocket launchers.