The Saintly Origins of Santa Claus

Mystery Scoop tells the history of Saint Nicholas of Myra (current day Demra, Turkey) and how his enormous capacity for generosity, kindness, and compassion in the fourth century made him a patron saint of downtrodden people and a lasting symbol of the holidays.

Born into a wealthy family, St. Nicholas was known for his generosity and kindness, especially towards children. He was particularly known for secretly helping the poor and giving gifts…who used his resources to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Nicholas’ generosity became the stuff of legends throughout Europe. It reached US shores in the 18th and 19th centuries through Dutch immigration.

Over time, the legend of St. Nicholas spread throughout Europe, and different cultures incorporated elements of his story into their own holiday traditions. …In the 18th and 19th centuries, the traditions surrounding Sinterklaas were brought to the United States by Dutch immigrants, and the name “Sinterklaas” eventually evolved into the modern-day beloved figure of Santa Claus.

Saintly Santa Origins

As with other historical portraits, the various portraits of Santa Claus were digitally restored and brought to life using AI software.

The appearance of St. Nicholas has been depicted in various forms throughout history. In 2014, Liverpool John Moores University in England, conducted a forensic reconstruction of his face, which is widely considered to be the most realistic depiction to date. Using this reconstruction and historical paintings as reference, we have created a full-figure representation of St. Nicholas, which we will attempt to bring to life today.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.