The Claus Family Christmas Show

Mere Festive Mortals


Truthiness is the most elusive creature in this world’s ethereal menagerie of truths, hopes, faith and illusions.  Claus Truthiness is even truthier – if you can imagine that!  If you’ve made it to this page, chances are you are an esteemed member of a certain Christmas coterie because of Claus. 

Interestingly enough, “truthiness" was the American Dialect Society's 2005 Word of the Year. 

As excerpted from Wikipedia,

“In January 2006, the American Dialect Society announced that truthiness was selected as its 2005 Word of the Year. The Society described its rationale as follows:

In its 16th annual words of the year vote, the American Dialect Society voted truthiness as the word of the year.  Truthiness refers to the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true.

This topic is sleigh loads of fun to discover, assemble and share.  Please check back for periodic updates about some rather curious statistics, facts and non sequitur bits of information about the legendary Santa Claus, his wife, elves, their customs and the Pole they call home. 

We of The Claus Family Christmas are big fans of truthiness, and we are glad you are too! 

Obscure Stats and Tidbits
About Santa
The Incomparable Mrs. Claus
Cool Christmassy Places
So It's Said

Obscure Stats and Tidbits

  • Annually, Santa gets over an estimated 100 million letters

  • There are approximately 25 – 30 million Real Christmas Trees sold in the U.S. every year.

  • Dayton C. Fouts, is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest run of dressing up as Santa (1937 – 1997).  At age 85, jolly old Fouts took his last sleigh ride to the great toyshop in the sky. 

  • Twenty percent of all Christmas gift advertisements in the Saturday Evening Post and Ladies’ Home Journal between 1936 and 1938 included Santa’s picture.

  • Stille Nacht!  Heilige Nacht! (Silent Night) is without doubt the world’s best-known Christmas carol.  It has been translated into nearly 300 languages and dialects.  Created by two Austrians, Fr. Joseph Mohr first wrote the lyrics in 1816 and Franz X. Gruber later added the melody in 1818.  This most beloved carol was first performed in Oberndorf, Austria in 1818. 


  • In the United States, there are more than 21,000 Christmas tree growers.
     
  • Christmas trees take an average of 7-10 years to mature and are grown in all 50 states including Hawaii and Alaska. 

  • In 1856 Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States was the first President to place a Christmas tree in the White House. 

  • Every year since 1947, the people of Oslo, Norway have given a Christmas tree to the city of Westminster, England. 
    The gift is an expression of good will and gratitude for Britain’s help to Norway during WW II. 

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About Santa

  • Although the exact date is disputed, St. Nicholas, believed to have been born around 280 A.D. in the village of Patara in Asia Minor, or modern day Turkey.
     
  • Published dates of St. Nicholas’ birth and death in no particular order
    (one accurate record keeper please!):
    • Born A.D. 280, Died A.D. 343
    • Born A.D. 245, Died A.D. 326
    • Born A.D. 280, Died A.D. 341
    • Born A.D. 280, Died A.D. 345

  • The name “Nicholas” in Greek means “victor of the people.” 

  • Greenland, Iceland, Alaska and Finland all claim that Santa really doesn’t live at the North Pole, but actually dwells year round within their borders – we believe he resides within people’s hearts!

  • The name Nicholas is quite ubiquitous throughout Europe.  By the beginning of the 1500s more than 2000 monasteries, chapels and hospitals across Europe were named for St. Nicholas.
     
  • St. Nicholas died on December 6, 343 A.D. and declared a saint by the year 800 A. D. by the Eastern Catholic Church.  He became best known as the patron saint of young children and young single women.

     

  • The supposed remains of St. Nicholas were stolen from Myra (near his birthplace of Patara) by a group of Italian sailors in 1087.  They are now enshrined in Bari, Italy at the Church of San Nicola.  Here’s some of the back-story. 

    When Myra and its great shrine finally passed into the hands of the Saracens (term used to describe a nomadic Arab tribe from the Sinai Desert) several Italian cities saw this as an opportunity to acquire the relics of St. Nicholas for themselves.  According to The Catholic Encyclopedia: "There was great competition for the relics between Venice and Bari. The town of Bari won, the relics were carried off under the noses of the lawful Greek custodians and their Mohammedan masters, and on May 9, 1087 were safely landed at Bari, a not inappropriate home seeing that Apulia in those days still had large Greek colonies. A new church was built to shelter Nicholas's remains and the Pope Urban II was present at their enshrining.

    Bari had truly captured something precious: Nicholas, the patron saint of Russia, Greece, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Sicily, Loraine, etc.  It had secured an alluring anchor for souvenir-buying tourists as well as a moralistic figure to keep children's behavior under scrutiny and in check.

  • During the Protestant Reformation of the mid-1500s, St. Nick’s popularity waned.  The Protestant observant countries changed the December 6th holiday celebration to December 25th instead – a crop of new St. Nicholas embodiments emerged, such as Christkindl (the Christ child) or the Weihnachtsmann (Christmas man) in Germany, Father Christmas (usually depicted as a fun loving fellow in a fur lined robe) in England, and Sinterklaas (a man on horseback dressed in a Bishop’s red robes with an assistant named “Black Peter who left gifts or birch rods near the hearth) in Holland.  As immigrants from these countries settled in America, they each brought their version and naming of the legendary gift-giver with them – thus the names St. Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas and Santa Claus are nearly interchangeable. 

  • The relatively contemporary incarnation of Santa Claus was described in the now legendary poem, An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas (more commonly known as Twas the Night Before Christmas) written by Clement Clarke Moore (July 15, 1779 – July 10, 1863) in 1822.  This description of Santa Claus made him “a right jolly old elf” and an extremely virile gift-giving phenomenon capable of coming down the chimney “with a bound.”  He supposedly based his notion of St. Nicholas on Wouten Van Twiller, the portly first governor of New Netherlands.

  • Twas the Night Before Christmas appeared anonymously in the Troy, New York Sentinel on December 23, 1823, and was reprinted frequently thereafter, with no attribution until Moore’s name was added to it.  Moore’s authorship of it has been questioned, the alternative author being Henry Livingston Jr., whose other light verse certainly resembles the famous poem.  On his passing in 1863, he was interred in the cemetery at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Hudson St. November 29, 1899, his body was re-interred in Trinity Churchyard Cemetery.  The Moore house “Chelsea,” at the time a country estate, gave its name to the neighborhood of Chelsea, Manhattan. 

  • President Benjamin Harrison dressed up as Santa for his children at the White House in 1891. 

  • During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln asked Thomas Nast to do an illustration of Santa with the Union troops.  Seeing Santa with the opposing forces was supposedly a low moment for the Confederate army. 

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The Incomparable Mrs. Claus

  • According to Barbara Hallman Kissinger, the mention of Mrs. Claus was in a March 1881 issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine.  It reads “little St. Nicholas made his appearance, sometimes accompanied by his good natured vrouw (wife in Dutch), Molly Grietje.”  Soon after, there were appearances in St. Nicholas magazine, December 1884 and December 1885. 

  • Mrs. Claus was fully embodied to the reading world in 1889 by Katherine Lee Bates through her poem Goody Santa Claus On A Sleigh Ride.  Ms. Bates, a poet and author, is best known for penning America The Beautiful.  Author Barbara Hallman Kissinger writes that Goody Santa Claus was first published in the Wide Awake magazine in 1888.  In Lee’s telling, Mrs. Claus inveigles and at times ridicules Santa in order to accompany him on his historic Christmas Eve gift-giving journey round the world (For you must allow, my Goodman, that you’re but a lazy woodman, and rely on me to foster all our fruitful Christmas trees).  It is not a subtle entreaty.  She even professes to match Santa’s prowess for the great outdoors by out working him in the orchards and tree farms! 

    Clearly convincing him of how cute they’ll look together on the ride (It would be so very cozy, you and I, all round and rosy, Looking like two loving snowballs in our fuzzy Arctic furs, Tucked in warm and snug together, whisking through the winter weather, Where the tinkle of the sleigh-bells is the only sound that stirs), Santa ultimately acquiesces and Mrs. Goody Claus gets her way for the ride of her life.  Might this poem be more appropriately named Goody Santa Claus On A Sleigh Deride [sic]?

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Cool Christmassy Places

  • North Pole, Alaska is a real town with a population of approximately 1,650 residents.  The city incorporated as “North Pole” on January 16, 1953.  The name was selected to attract the toy industry to manufacture products made at the  "North Pole".   This never happened, but North Pole, Alaska has continued to grow.

    Many of its streets bear holiday names: Santa Claus Lane, Snowman Lane, Kris Kringle, Mistletoe, Holiday Rd., Saint Nicholas Drive, North Star Drive, Blitzen, and Donnor.  Streetlights are decorated in candy cane motifs and many buildings are painted with Christmas colors and designs. The Santa Claus house, the "official" home of Santa Claus greets all visitors who pass through the city on the Richardson Highway. Live reindeer and Santa Claus himself are available for photographs year round. Each year the community starts the holiday season with a candle lighting ceremony and tree lighting event the first Sunday in December.  Dress warm if you visit this North Pole in the winter months.  The temperature has been recorded as chillingly cold as -78º F! 

  • Frankenmuth, Michigan, located approximately 25 miles south of Saginaw Bay, is dubbed the “Michigan’s Little Bavaria” and is home to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, registered as the World’s Largest Christmas Store®
    Open since 1945, a person can find over 50,000 Christmas items and virtually get lost among its twinkling lights, Christmas tree display and other decorations.  This Christmas store Mecca is visited by millions. 

  • Jericho, Vermont (a small rural town in northwestVermont near LakeChamplain) was the home of Wilson A.Bentley (1865 – 1931), a self-educated farmer who used a photomicroscope to photograph over 5,000 unique snowflakes.  His work gave us the ocular proof that “no two snowflakes are alike.”  He had a book (Snow Crystals, published by McGraw-Hill in 1931) and many articles published about his work.  He became warmly regarded as “Snowflake Bentley.”  If you are fascinated with snowflakes, take a look at Bentley’s passionate devotion to the snowflake. 

  • Santa Claus, Indiana located in the southern part of the state near theKentucky border annually receives millions of pieces of holiday mail that garners the much sought after Santa Claus postmark.  This townshowcases a huge statue of Santa Claus atits entrance as well as the Santa Claus Cemetery that’s allegedlyquieter than the North Pole!  On a cheerier note, Santa Claus Land (now called Holiday World), a holiday themed theme park built in 1947 bills itself as “the world’s first theme park,” is also there.  This is a rather dubious claim considering some of the European parks such as the founding of the Tivoli Park in Copenhagen, Denmark dates back to the 1800s. 

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So it’s Said

Words worth remembering throughout the year!

There are three stages of a man’s life:  He believes in Santa Claus, he doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus.

  • Author Unknown

Out of the bosom of air,
Out of the Cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow. 

  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882)

In 1882, a Washington postal service worker is reported to have said, “I thought last year would be the end of the Christmas card mania, but I don’t think so now.”

  • Author Unknown

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.  Alas! How dreary would be the world if there was no Santa Claus.

  • Francis Pharcellus Church, 1897

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?  It came without ribbons.  It came without tags.  It came without packages, boxes or bags.  And he puzzled and puzzled ‘till his puzzler was sore.  Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.  What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.   What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

  • Theodore Seuss Geisel, How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Christmas gift suggestions:  To your enemy, forgiveness.  To an opponent, tolerance.  To a friend, your heart.  To a customer, service.  To all, charity.  To every child, a good example.  To yourself, respect.

  • Oren Arnold, Author

What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus?  Claustrophobic.

  • Unknown

Let no pleasure tempt thee, no profit allure thee, no persuasion move thee, to do anything which thou knowest to be evil; so shalt thou always live jollity, for a good conscience is a continual Christmas.

  • Benjamin Franklin

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.  To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.

  • Calvin Coolidge

… and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.  May that be truly said of us, and all of us!  And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!

  • Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

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Last Updated: October 6, 2009
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