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Santa Claus

Santa Claus Christmastide bearer of gifts to children. The jolly fat man who is transported by flying reindeer and drops presents down chimneys is a comparatively recent (19th-century) legend derived from St. Nicholas (introduced as Sinter Klaas to the New World by Dutch settlers), whose feast day (Dec. 6) is a children's holiday. A drawing by cartoonist Thomas Nast is believed to have helped fix the image of a rotund, white-bearded Santa Claus in the popular imagination after such a figure was described in Clement Moore's 1822 poem, “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas.”

See also: Christmas.

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21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Sade, Marquis de to Satire