Santa Claus is one merry old soul who has brought a lot of smiles to a lot of kids and adults. Just how did this gift-giver extraordinaire coming into being? You’re about to find out.

Santa Claus: The Man, The Myth, The Legend. Cue the trumpets

St. Nick

Every superhero has an origin story, and Santa is no different. To discover his origin, we need to slip into the “way back machine” and travel back to the 4th Century. This is when the original St. Nicholas was going around causing miracles for children. Good stuff. The St. Nick legend had him going around on Christmas Eve and dropping off sweeties, fruit, and trinkets to any house that would let him in. Who is going to refuse a Saint? Ultimately, St. Nicholas’ feast day morphed in the church designated day of the birth of Jesus, namely December 25th. Thus, we have the melding of St. Nick and Christmas.

‘Twas The ‘Twas

As America was getting underway as a country, we were adopting a lot of European traditions including the legend of St. Nick. Along comes Clement Moore in 1823, to bring that legend into sharper focus through his poem, ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. This is required holiday reading, and it firmly established most of the Santa Claus lexicon that we still use today. Following the publishing of this poem, many other artisans jumped on the Santa sleigh by providing even more details. In fact, we might have Coca-Cola to thank for cementing the idea of Santa wearing a red suit. In their early advertisements, they commissioned artists to draw Kris Kringle in this traditional outfit. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Coke company colors were already red and white.

Just The Facts, Claus

Along comes a bunch of wonky scientists to try and disprove the Claus myth. Consider these so-called “facts” these geeks came up with:

  • According to census figures, there are approximately 1.6 billion children that Santa needs to visit on Christmas Eve.
  • If you factor in the average number of children per household, then Santa will have to make 640 million stops.
  • Given the earth’s rotation and various time zones, Santa has 32 hours to complete his mission.
  • To get the work done, Santa has to make around 822 visits per second. Roughly, that translates into 1/1000th of a second to park on the roof, slide down the chimney, drop off the presents, eat a cookie, drink a glass of milk and head out.
  • Speaking of cookies and milk, by the end of the night, Santa will have drunk enough milk to fill 50 Olympic size swimming pools and consumed around 150 billion calories. To work off that weight, he just needs to walk around the planet 54,000 times.

Sure, those nerds have science on their side, but they are leaving out one important factor: Elf magic. Santa can do all of those visits because he has the ability to stop time and his reindeer are really super-fast. Of course, he can.

So the next time you think about Santa factor in the real St. Nick, an old poem, and a cool refreshing Coke. What is your favorite Santa memory?