Published: 18-12-2012, 03:20

Santa Claus: Washington Irving and St. Nicholas

Santa Claus

Before Santa Claus

Santa Claus: The Christ Child in America

Santa Claus: Belsnickel in America

Santa Claus: St. Nicholas in America

Santa Claus: Clement C. Moore and St. Nicholas

Santa Claus: More Confusion Over Names

Santa Claus: Thomas Nast and Santa Claus

Santa Claus: Nineteenth-Century Developments

Santa Claus: Promoting the Santa Claus Myth

Santa Claus: Twentieth-Century Developments

The St. Nicholas we know today needed the help of writer Washington Irving to establish a toehold in this country. In 1809 Irving’s satirical A History of New York raised St. Nicholas to a position of importance in New York’s Dutch-American community, primarily as a symbol of ethnic identity. In doing so, he made a few changes to the traditional European image of the saint. Irving replaced the tall, somber, and commanding man in a red bishop’s robe with a short, round, jolly Dutchman who smoked a long-stemmed pipe and dressed in colonial garb.