Santa Claus or Santa Klaus
The patron saint of children and bearer of gifts at Christmas. His name is a corruption of the Dutch form of St. Nicholas. His feast-day is December 6, and the vigil is still held in some places, but for the most part his name is now associated with Christmastide. The old custom used to be for someone, on December 5, to assume the costume of a bishop and distribute small gifts to "good children." The present custom is to put toys and other presents into a stocking late on Christmas Eve, when the children are asleep. When they wake on Christmas morning, they find in the stocking, hung by the mantelpiece, the gifts left by Santa Claus. According to modern tradition Santa Claus lives at the North Pole and comes driving down over the snow in his famous sleigh, driven by eight reindeer. Clement Clarke Moore's familiar poem for children, A Visit from Saint Nicholas, better known as The Night before Christmas, gives this picture of him:
As I drew in my head and was turning around
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedlar just opening his pack.
His eyes--how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the
snow. . . .
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf.
And I laughed when I saw him in spite of