Traditionally, Santa Claus is portrayed as a fat, jolly man with a white beard and a red coat, with that eye-catching black leather belt and white cuffed trousers and pants. We grew up hearing all about how Santa Claus is the one who brings us gifts at Christmas time. We heard the story of how Santa lives at the North Pole, with the elves and reindeer accompanying him. In our minds, we can hear Santa calling out "On Dasher, on Dancer and Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen!" And of course, we can never forget the hero of all the reindeer, Rudolph with his shimmering nose so bright, leading the way on a dark Christmas Eve night. We can picture the sleigh, loaded down with bags upon bags full of toys, ready to be delivered all around the world to children everywhere. We can see him scooting down the chimney, and entering the houses of good little girls and boys to leave them presents by the Christmas tree, much to their upcoming delight. This is the image we have come to know and love in North America.

It is thought that Santa Claus makes a list of children throughout the world, categorizing them according to their behavior. You are either on Santa's "naughty" or "nice" list, and Santa delivers presents only to the nice ones. His presents might be toys or candy, or some other special gift to thrill the individual child. The "naughty" list recipients are treated to a lump of coal in their stocking. Santa is able to have lots of toys for the children due to the efforts of his ever-loyal, hard-working elves who make the toys in his workshop.

Back in the fourth century, Saint Nicholas was a Greek Christian bishop of Myra. The original legend of Saint Nicholas depicted him as a generous man who gave frequently to the poor. He was once said to have given a bag of gold to the three poor daughters of a pious Christian with dowries, so that they would be able to find good husbands. His legend spread throughout all of Europe, spreading the image of Saint Nicholas's kindness and generosity. Saint Nicholas became known as Father Christmas in England, while in Germany he was known as Sanct Herr Nicholaas. The Dutch referred to him as Sinter Klass. The Americanized version became known as Santa Claus.

The American legend of Santa came from what is known today as "The Night Before Christmas", which was an 1823 poem written by Clement Clarke Moore. The American image of Santa Claus is generally attributed to the illustrator Thomas Nast, who showed a picture of Santa for the Christmas issue of Harper's magazine in the 1860's. Nast added to our image of Santa's workshop, as well as his naughty and nice list. In the year 1931, Santa was featured in a number of Coca Cola advertisements.

This image of Santa has been maintained and reinforced through song, radio, television, books, and film. The popularity of Santa Claus has grown exponentially because of the 1934 Christmas song, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". There have been numerous depictions of Santa in movies starring the bearded saint, such as in the 1946 film "Here Comes Santa Claus" and the extremely popular 1947 movie "Miracle on 34th Street". Countless films continue to star jolly old St. Nicholas today.

Children are particularly drawn to Santa, and each year the post office is inundated with innocent little letters where they pour out their hearts' desires. Their sweet belief also causes them to leave little treats for Santa to eat, such as the ever popular milk and cookies, as a way of saying thank you to Santa for bringing gifts to their home. This spirit of giving is truly what marks the image of Santa Claus.

Visit and check out the list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) posted there. Next, click on the questions that interest you most, and be immediately taken to the corresponding YouTube video where Santa provides an excellent answer - super fun and easy! Santa talks directly to the viewer, so each video has a personalized feel of being connected in an absolutely positive way with jolly old St. Nicholas Have a Very Merry Christmas.