Santa Claus Around the World


In the United States, we know Santa Claus as the jolly old man with the big belly and a long, white beard. He lives in the North Pole with Mrs. Claus and the toy-making elves. Every year on Christmas Eve, he hitches his eight reindeer to his sleigh full of presents, and delivers the presents to good girls and boys across the country. But in other countries around the world, this good natured, legend of a man is very different from the Santa Claus we know and love in America.

In many European countries, people celebrate St. Nicholas Day. St. Nicholas was a very generous man and devoted Christian who took Jesus’ words to heart. He sold all his possessions and gave the money to the poor. He was eventually made a Bishop and endured much persecution and imprisonment for his Christian beliefs.

In England, Father Christmas dresses in a long, hooded, green robe and wears a holly wreath on his head. Instead of driving a sleigh pulled by reindeer, Father Christmas rides on his white horse, delivering the presents to good children all over England.

Children in Finland anxiously await the arrival of Joulupukki (meaning Yule goat), who travels on a goat made of straw. Originally, his role included the warding off of evil spirits, for which he expected gifts in return. In the Ukraine, the children listen for Father Frost and his three reindeer. Father Frost has an assistant named Snowflake Girl who wears a crown in the shape of a snowflake and blue costume with white fur.

Though there are many differences among the various Santa Clauses around the world , they all have one thing in common. Children everywhere will be hoping for a visit from them, stuffed with presents for all who believe.