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Santa Claus (a.k.a. Saint Nicholas, Santa, Father Christmas) is a mythical figure, who is stated to travel around the world on the night of 24 December, delivering presents to good children. He is said to ride on a sleigh, driven by 9 reindeer, named Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Doner, Blitzen and Rudolph.
It is thought that the idea of Santa Claus arose from a combination of many previous gift-giving figures, such as Saint Nicholas and Sinterklaas. In 1809, Washington Irving’s book, “History of New York”, the dutch figure of Sinterklaas was Americanized into “Santa Claus”.
In 1821, the book “A New-year’s present, to the little ones from five to twelve” was published. This book contained a poem titled “Old Santeclaus”, which showed an old man on a reindeer sleigh, bringing presents to children. One of the first images of Santa Claus was drawn by cartoonist Thomas Nast, and first shown in 1863, in Harper’s Weekly.
The idea of Santa Claus was further shown in L. Frank Baum’s book “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus”, in 1902. However, it is widely considered that the idea of Santa Claus was spread the most through The Coca Cola company, using an image of Santa drawn by Haddon Sundblom in their 1930’s Christmas advertising.