We tend to think of Santa Claus as a jolly old man wearing red and white. ‘Father Christmas’ as he’s often called, is a jovial character carrying a huge sack of presents and riding a sled drawn by reindeer. But where did this peculiar idea come from?
Patrick Harding delves into the origins of Santa in his book Christmas unwrapped. In chapter 3, ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’, he traces this warm, spherical figure back to ancient shamans, pagan sky-gods and various Greek, Roman and Scandinavian deities. From cave paintings to St Nicholas to 19th century Christmas cards, Harding provides a fascinating explanation of today’s Santa traditions.
Claudine Fraser, Sargia Harrison
Information & Learning