Jolly Old Saint Nick? A Few Things You Need To Know About Santa Before He Stops in NoCo
My daughter is three and is at peak interest in this strange, jolly old man in a red suit she's hearing all about, that allegedly comes down our chimney on Christmas eve and leaves a bunch of presents for her, assuming she eats all her veggies and stops pushing her baby sister around. But wait, we don't have a chimney. How does he get into our house?
Admittedly, there's been a few times I haven't really known how to answer some of those questions, so I've had to do a little deeper research and have come up with a few fun facts to share with you.
A Few Things You Maybe Don't Know About The Man Called Santa Claus.
For starters, did you know that Santa Claus is not his only name? For example, my wife is British and while she knows him as Santa, she more frequently calls him 'Father Christmas.' That's a common British thing, much like how they refer to sleds as "sledges." I always make the joke that you don't need a hammer to slide through snow, but none of my in-laws find that funny.
Other nicknames include Kris Kringle, St. Nick, or the proper Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas himself was a real man born sometime in the 3rd century in what would be Turkey today. He was a kind and giving monk, who became known as St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children. He was loved all across Europe, especially by the Dutch.
The Dutch translation for Saint Nicholas is Sint Nikkolaas, which ultlimately got shortened over time to Sinter Klaas. By the time the Dutch began migrating to the United States in the late 1700's, guess who they brought with him? The man, the myth and legend ultimately called Santa Claus by Americans. We tend to put our own spin on everything over here, don't we?
Santa is known for his big red suit, but it wasn't always red.
If you've heard that Santa wears red because that's the way Coca-Cola wanted it, you are correct. He wore outfits of all colors in popular culture prior to 1931, when the soda pop legend used him in advertising and put him in their signature red and white. Suffice to say it was a successful campaign and that's pretty much how Santa has been seen ever since.
Is Santa really, actually jolly and happy all the time?
Living at the North Pole with a bunch of fun elves and an unlimited stock of milk and cookies at your disposal? He's definitely happy all of the time. And slightly overweight, possibly pre-diabetic.
How does big, old Santa make it down the chimney on Christmas eve?
Magic, of course!
How does Santa make it to every child around the world in a single night and how do all those toys fit into his sleigh?
Magic, of course! Also, time zones. As the world turns, he basically gets to go back an hour every few hundred miles as he travels around the world delivering toys. It buys him extra time.
How do his reindeer fly and pull his sleigh around the world?
Magic, of course! Are you spotting the theme here? This can literally be your answer to every question about Santa. If you can't explain it, it just must be magic.
Can you tell where Santa is on Christmas eve and when he'll be arriving in Northern Colorado?
Like they say way to our north, maybe the North Pole, 'you betcha.' That honor is squarely within the oversight of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, more popularly known as NORAD, and based to our south in Colorado Springs. They've been tracking Santa for more than 60 years. I remember calling a phone number for updates when I was a kid. Now you can follow his interactive Santa tracker at noradsanta.org or with their mobile app. Things have come a long way.
You can also eavesdrop on his workshop, 365 days a year for free!
There's a hidden microphone in his workshop called "North Pole Live," which is an Amazon Alexa skill. You can hear the elves' top secret conversations, Santa making announcements and more. As long as you have kids' skills enabled on your device, just tell Alexa, "Open North Pole Live" to listen in.
The Magic of Santa transcends all generations and ages.
No matter if you're one or 92, seeing, hearing or hanging out with Santa is sure to give you a thrill. Who doesn't remember that sweet new toy he brought you when you were 8-years old?