One legend associated with Santa says that he lives in the far north, in a land of perpetual snow. The American version of Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, while Father Christmas is said to reside in
There has long been opposition to teaching children to believe in Santa Claus. Some Christians say the Santa tradition detracts from the religious origins and purpose of Christmas. Other critics feel that Santa Claus is an elaborate lie, and that it is unethical for parents to teach their children to believe in his existence.
The symbolic personification of Christmas as a merry old figure begins in the early 17th century, in the context of resistance to Puritan criticism of observation of the Christmas feast. He is "old" because of the antiquity of the feast itself, which its defenders saw as a good old Christian custom that should be kept. Allegory was popular at the time, and so "old Christmas" was given a voice to protest his exclusion, along with the form of a rambunctious, jolly old man.
The earliest recorded personification of Christmas appears to be Ben Jonson's creation in Christmas his Masque dating from December 1616, in which Christmas appears "attir'd in round Hose, long Stockings, a close Doublet, a high crownd Hat with a Broach, a long thin beard, a Truncheon, little Ruffes, white shoes, his Scarffes, and Garters tyed crosse", and announces "Why Gentlemen, doe you know what you doe? ha! would you ha'kept me out? Christmas, old Christmas?" Later, in a masque by Thomas Nabbes, The Springs Glorie produced in 1638, "Christmas" appears as "an old reverend gentleman in furred gown and cap".The character continued to appear over the next 250 years, appearing as Sir Christmas, Lord Christmas, or Father Christmas, the latter becoming the most common. A book dating from the time of the Commonwealth, The Vindication of CHRISTMAS or, His Twelve Yeares' Observations upon the Times involved "Old Christmas" advocating a merry, alcoholic Christmas and casting aspersions on the charitable motives of the ruling Puritans.
The traditional Father Christmas was neither a gift bringer, nor associated with children. However, since the Victorian era, when Santa Claus arrived from
Traditionally he comes down the chimney to either put presents under the trees or in children’s' rooms in their stockings. Some families leave a glass of mulled wine, biscuits, a chocolate and a carrot for Rudolph near the stocking as a present for him. In some homes parents have their children write a Christmas list (of wished-for presents) and send it up the chimney
A basilica was constructed the same year to store the loot and the area became a pilgrimage site for the devout, thus justifying the economic cost of the expedition.
Numerous parallels have been drawn between Santa Claus and the figure of Odin, a major god amongst the Germanic peoples prior to their Christianization. Since many of these elements are unrelated to Christianity, there are theories regarding the pagan origins of various customs of the holiday stemming from areas where the Germanic peoples were Christianized and retained elements of their indigenous traditions, surviving in various forms into modern depictions of Santa Claus.
Odin was sometimes recorded, at the native Germanic holiday of Yule, as leading a great hunting party through the sky. Two books from
The Yule log and the now use of a tree and lights (signifying the burning) are the direct descendent of pagan customs, including the singing of carols, which goes back to the wailing (wassailing ,which is like the words for a toast to good health) in front of trees to promote a good harvest, often to apple trees in England and more particular in the cider areas!! The twelth night is another pagan ceremony that predates the Christian one, taken as the 6th of January but some feel that it is the 17th January if the older calendar is used as a guide.
Bolo rei - the king's cake, is eaten to celebrate the twelth night