The Origin of Santa and His Sleigh

Santa Claus. Kris Kringle. Jolly Old Saint Nick.

Whatever you may know him by, you probably know that he dons a red suit, a big old beard, and rides around in a shiny red sleigh. But where did he come from? And what is he doing in a sleigh? Even as a kid, I thought that wasn’t the most practical choice and that the only thing keeping it from falling off (or through) a roof was his merry magic.

It turns out, tradition goes back a long way. Santa Claus himself draws his origin from Swiss, German, Dutch, and Scandinavian folklore. The original Saint Nicholas, known for his profound generosity, was born in 280 A.D. in modern-day Turkey, and he died on December 6th. In Dutch, Saint Nicholas translates into Sinter Nikolaas, or Sinter Klaas for short.

So why the sleigh? And why the presents? Well, Swiss and German children are accustomed to the story of Christkind (meaning “Christ Child”) aka Kris Kringle, an angel-like figure who delivers presents to good children with the aid of St. Nicholas. In Scandinavia, there is a tale of a jolly elf named Jultomten who delivers presents on a sleigh drawn by goats.

Fast Forward to 1822, into the study of the Episcopal minister Clement Clarke Moore. Drawing from the stories of Sinter Klaas, Christkind, and Jultomten, he wrote a long Christmas poem for his daughters and called it “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas.” Later, it would become better known for its first line, “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. For those that don’t know it, the story speaks of a jolly elf who delivers gifts to deserving children on Christmas Eve in a miniature sleigh drawn by reindeer. The poem and iconic elf became an immediate icon. 60 years later, political cartoonist Thomas Nast drew an image of Santa Claus depicting him for the first time in his legendary suit, holding a sack full of gifts, surrounded by elves and Mrs. Claus in the North Pole.

So, there you have it, the story of Santa. While he gets to go from A to B in a cool reindeer-drawn sleigh, we have to do it in clunky cars and trucks drawn by gas-fed internal combustion engines. Not quite as poetic, but hey, at least we have heat! We also have to stay legally insured, and the cheapest way to do that is with Good2Go Auto Insurance. Visit or call 1-855-646-4661 today for a free, no-obligations quote on minimum coverage car insurance!

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