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Santa Claus is coming to town

Santa+Claus+is+coming+to+town

It’s the day following Thanksgiving. Your mother is frantically running through the kitchen as her cookies burn, blaring “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” so loudly that she can’t hear the timer ringing. Your father is parading your little siblings out into the yard, enlisting them to help string the lights across the eave of your house. It is without a doubt the most wonderful time of the year. Nevertheless, Christmas is far more than merely holiday fare, decor, and the falling snow, it is about the customs we commemorate and the traditions we hold so dear to our hearts, such as the fictional Santa Claus. The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicolas. Much revered for his generosity and devotion, he became the focal point of numerous folk- tales, worldwide.

As a teenager, Nicolas was consecrated for his very generous heart. Nicolas wandered the countryside to tend to the needy and the sick. Nicolas came from a very affluent family, with his parents, Nonna and Theophanes, the bishop of the city of Myra, leaving their estate to him when they passed. Nicolas, who always had the spirit of giving, took his inheritance and gifted it to those who were less fortunate. He led a life of decency and humility, and by the time of the Renaissance, Saint Nicolas became the most popular Saint in all of Europe. By 1446, nearly 803 years after his death, Nicolas was canonized by Pope Eugene IV.

While the idea of Santa Claus has centuries-old precedents from the Christian and Pagan worlds alike, his appearance as we know it today is largely the creation of one man: German artist and cartoon- ist, Thomas Nast. Originally drawn as a ghoulish elf, Nast eventually evolved his illustration into a character that children of all ages can enjoy. By the end of the 18th century, Nicolas was widely recognized in American culture, so much so that the Salvation Army began to send unemployed men in Santa suits to solicit donations for impoverished families to provide them with Christmas meals, a tradition that has persisted on to this day.

While there isn’t a man in the sky riding a sleigh pulled by reindeers, Santa Claus isn’t a completely made-up person. He has transformed Christmas into what it is to- day. Rather than being about the presents we receive, the legend of infamous St. Nicolas has helped spread the unconditional love that he so graciously gifted upon the world nearly 2,000 years ago.

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About the Contributor
Addison Moreland, Section Editor
Addison Moreland is an honors, AP, and IB student, who began her sophomore year at Marietta High School and Section Editor of the school newspaper, The Pitchfork. As well as participating in events throughout the school, such as being an MHS Varsity Cheerleader, sophomore Student Council treasurer, and member of the MHS Musical Theater Department, she is an active member of the Marietta Community. Addison enjoys babysitting and is an active member of JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), she also is a member of Stonebridge Youth group. Addison is a straight-A student and enjoys both ELA and History. Though she isn’t certain what lies ahead in the future, she would like to pursue a career in journalism and/or criminal justice.
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