Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father giáng sinh and simply "Santa", is a figure with legendary, mythical, historical and folkloric origins who, in many western cultures, is đã đưa ý kiến to bring gifts to the homes of the good children during the late evening and overnight hours of giáng sinh Eve, December 24. The modern figure was derived from the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas, which, in turn, may have part of its basis in hagiographical tales concerning the historical figure of gift giver Saint Nicholas. A nearly identical story is attributed bởi Greek and Byzantine folklore to Basil of Caesarea. Basil's feast ngày on January is considered the time of exchanging gifts in Greece.
Santa Claus is generally depicted as a portly, joyous, white-bearded man - sometimes with spectacles - wearing a red áo, áo khoác with white cổ áo and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather thắt lưng, vành đai and boots (images of him rarely have a beard with no moustache). This image became được ưa chuộng in the United States and Canada in the 19th century due to the significant influence of Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" and of caricaturist and political cartoonist Thomas Nast. This image has been maintained and reinforced through song, radio, television, children's sách and films.
According to a tradition which can be traced to the 1820s, Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, with a large number of magical elves, and nine (originally eight) flying reindeer. Since the 20th century, in an idea popularized bởi the 1934 song "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town", Santa Claus has been believed to make a danh sách of children throughout the world, categorizing them according to their behavior ("naughty" hoặc "nice") and to deliver presents, including toys, and kẹo to all of the well-behaved children in the world, and sometimes coal to the naughty children, on the single night of giáng sinh Eve. He accomplishes this feat with the aid of the elves who make the toys in the workshop and the reindeer who pull his sleigh.