Santa Claus

Merry Christmas, everyone! First of all, here’s a Christmas tree made from soda cartons that I saw on display at a local Safeway a few days ago.

Christmas Display at Safeway

Now it’s time for you to learn something new on this most holiest of days in both the Christian and Pagan calendars. Here’s some background: I was originally raised in the Roman Catholic church as a child where I learned about the true story about a Catholic saint who provided the basis for a well-beloved Christmas story. While Santa Claus is a secular Christmas figure, one of his other names by which he is known, St. Nicholas, is based on an actual figure in early Christian history. He was an ethnic Greek bishop who served in what is now Turkey. The idea of Santa Claus being the bearer of gifts who only delivered them at night came from the story about how Saint Nicholas secretly left some gold coins to a very poor father who was on the verge of selling his three daughters into prostitution because he could not afford to provide a dowry to marry them off. Thanks to that generosity on the bishop’s behalf, the father could provide a far better outcome for his daughters.

However, if one ever sees paintings of Saint Nicholas, one would see a very thin man with a long white beard who’s frequently depicted wearing bishop robes, which bears little resemblance to the plump man who wears a red outfit with white fur trim and black boots. Also, reindeer aren’t indigenous to the part of the world where Saint Nicholas actually lived and there’s little evidence to suggest that the bishop had ever been anywhere near the North Pole, let alone lived in that area.

I found this video that provides an interesting explanation on how there came to be a plump man who rides a sled drawn by flying reindeer while having elves help him out. Apparently, according to this video, the legend was driven by people in Northern Europe who consumed a certain psychedelic mushroom that’s found in that part of the world. In addition, it’s a part of the world where reindeer can be frequently found. Take a look at this video and be prepared to get your mind blown on Christmas Day. You’ll never look at the Santa Claus stories the same way again after watching this.

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