Wikisurfer 005 – The Evolution Of Santa Claus

In this special holiday edition of our brand new podcast, Brandon takes a trip through the evolution of Santa Claus. The fearless adventures of Nicholas before sainthood, the alleged miracles, the early years of cultural splintering and amalgamation with various Santa clones and gods, the brush with the Reformation and the climb to global icon – we do our best to tell the wonderful, weird story of this singular cultural figure from a real man to a mythical creature.

Be warned – this may not be appropriate for younger audiences who still hold a special place in their hearts for Santa.


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Check out our show notes below:


The Evolution Of Santa Claus

Santa Claus has big, deeply mythological history

St. Nicholas
St. Nicholas, as depicted in the 19th century.

St. Nicholas, the real-life person on which Santa Claus is based

St Nick Dowry
Nicholas secretly slipping a bag of gold coins into a window.
St Nick Rescues
Nicholas rescues wrongfully accuses prisoners.
St Nickolas depickles
Nicholas de-pickles three children in an apparent miracle.
A man dressed as Sinterklaas in the Netherlands, 2009. Notice the white horse.

Sinterklaas, the Dutch personification of what we now know as Santa Claus

Father Christmas
The Ghost Of Christmas Present from Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”.

Father Christmas, one of many sources of character elements for the modern Santa Claus

Odin, one of the gods of Norse and Germanic peoples.

Odin, the most popular god of Northern Europe in the pre-Christian age

Yule, the Germanic holiday festival onto which Christmas was later grafted.

Krampus, a European demon associated with the myth of Santa Claus

Krampus, one of several dark associates of Santa Claus through the ages. Krampus actually predates Christianity and the mythology around St. Nick.

“Old Santaclaus With Much Delight” – part of the transformation of Santa in New York, from the Dutch Sinterklaas to the modern American Santa Claus.

“A Visit From St. Nick” – a poem written in New York, part of Santa’s transformation in the United States.

Santa in Brazil
A Santa Claus-themed Coca-Cola ad in Rio de Janiero, 2009.
Santa Star Chart
Santa frets over some star charts on the cover of Galaxy Magazine in 1956.



Special thanks to Sam Frazier Jr. and Katie Boyer for lending their voices.


Additional sound effects by:

American Crow Call, recorded by Steve Hampton, 2018, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, discovered voa

Twas The Night Before Christmas, read by Annie Coleman for


Additional music by:

Gradual Chant – Universi Qui Te Expectant, performed by Shola Antiqua, recorded by Mikebrubakker12, 2012, CC BY-SA 3.0