Santa Claus Over The Years

We all know him as this jolly fat fellow in a red suit who may or may not look like a rotund Tim Allen, but who is Santa, really???

A combination of many different legends, the Christian-era Santa Claus is Bishop Nicholas of Smyrna, who was thought to be very rich, generous, and loving towards children.??

The Santa Claus as an Americanized Christmas figure was inspired by the Dutch legend of Sinterklaas, which they brought with them when they migrated to New York in the 17th? century.??

The American image of Santa Claus was further elaborated throughout the years, giving him his girth, a workshop in the North Pole and the list of the good and bad children of the world.??Coca-Cola eventually depicted a human-sized version of Santa Claus-rather than the elf of Clement C. Moore's poem-in a series of illustrations for advertisements introduced in 1931, further making the red Santa suits an icon.??

All these considered, generations of moviegoers also have to contend with an ever-changing Santa.

The Immortal Woodcutter

In 1985's ''Santa Claus: the Movie,'' Santa (David Huddleston) was an aging, peasant woodcutter living in the forest with his wife Anya. During a blizzard, they were rescued by elves and was brought to the vast ''ice mountains, way up at the top of the world'' where they would become immortals, and spend their lives crafting toys for every child on Earth.

The Everyman Santa

1994's ''The Santa Clause'' reinforced the thought that anyone can be Santa. Here, divorcee Scott Calvin (Tim Allen)transforms overnight into jolly old St. Nick. He grows a white beard as quickly (even with insistent shaving) and gains weight as he is forced to take the big guy's place.

The Jolly And Generous

In 2003's ''Elf,'' Santa (Ed Asner) is a wise but caring old man who takes good care of his elves - even the odd ones, like the human baby who crawls into his sack that he unwittingly takes back home to the North Pole. Unaware that he is human, the boy named Buddy who's been raised as an elf needs to know who he really is and Santa allows him to go to New York to find his father, even if he's one on Santa's naughty list for being a heartless jerk.

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