Santa Claus

Credit for having brought together in a single being the various personifications of Christmas gift-givers is due to the American press. The event that brought these characters together was the publication of Clement Clarke Moore’s famous poem entitled "A Visit From St. Nicholas". This poem was published for the first time in the New York Sentinel on December 23, 1823. Reprinted in following years by several large American dailies, the story was later translated into many languages and circulated throughout the world.

In his story, Moore depicts the generous gift-giver in the form of a curious little elf who comes down chimneys and travels through the air in a miniature sleigh pulled by eight reindeer called, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder and Blitzen.

The influence of the American press gradually replaced the moralizing attributes of Saint Nicholas with the basically generous character of Santa Claus. In spite of that, the old habit of threatening unruly children with no gifts from Santa Claus persists in popular culture.