What does Santa Claus have to do with Jesus’ birthday? Some would say nothing, but that’s not quite true. Santa Claus’ real name was Saint Nicholas, and he was a Christian bishop who lived in Germany. Saint Nicholas was very wealthy, but he didn’t keep his money for himself! He gave it away to people who needed it, by dropping gold coins through their windows at night. He became so popular that people all over Europe began to celebrate Saint Nicholas.

Saint Nicholas became famous throughout all of Europe for helping the poor. Churches began to celebrate Saint Nicholas on December 6 and kids all over Europe would set out shoes and stockings the night before Saint Nicholas Day hoping he would visit them. When people began moving to America in the 1600s, they brought their stories and traditions of Saint Nicholas with them! The Dutch settlers called him “Sinter Claase,” which became Santa Claus. Over time, the December 6 celebration of Saint Nicholas and the December 25 celebration of Jesus blended together. Saint Nicholas spent his life serving Jesus, which is what we are called to do as well.

Phil Vischer

Source: YouVersion Bible reading plan, Why do we call it Christmas, by Phil Vischer