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On The Table Read, “the best book magazine in the UK“, Santa Claus Worldwide: A History of St. Nicholas and Other Holiday Gift-Bringers by Tom A. Jerman explores the origins of Santa Claus.
Santa Claus Worldwide
Described as a jolly old elf, but going by many names, Santa Claus, St. Nick, Belsnickle and Kris Kringle all have vastly different origin stories.
Tom Jerman sets the record straight on America’s vesion of Santa Claus in his award-winning book, Santa Claus Worldwide: A History of St. Nicholas and Other Holiday Gift-Bringers. This comprehensive history of the world’s midwinter gift-givers showcases the diversity in their depictions as well as the many traits and functions these characters share.
Who Is Santa Claus?
In the 1980s Tom Jerman began collecting Santa Claus figurines and felt his curiosity about the character fueled by the man incarnations Santa Claus incarnations he found.
“Santa is whoever you think he is,” explained Jerman. “You can envision him any way you want to envision him; there are no constrictions on who can be Santa Claus.”
After years of exhaustive historical research, Tom Jerman released Santa Claus Worldwide, the first legitimate history of Santa Claus in more than a decade, and the first history in more than 100 years to provide a comprehensive look at the Yuletide gift-givers throughout the world.
What Can We Learn About Santa Claus?
Some of Jerman’s fascinating insights include:
– “Santa Claus” is not merely the American name for St. Nicholas.
– Jerman also corrects a significant inaccuracy perpetrated in 1953 by an eminent Berkeley historian, Charles W. Jones, that American author Washington Irving created, in effect, the American Santa Claus.
– The original American Santa was one of the shabby, unkempt, secular gift-givers known by two dozen different names in Germany who immigrated to America with German children during the early nineteenth century. One of them, Pelznickel (“Nicholas in furs”), became known as Belsnickle in Pennsylvania while another, Christkindl (“Christ child”), became known as Kriss Kringle (more commonly written as “Kris” today).
– The name “Santeclaus,” the bearded German gift-giver who descended down the chimney and left gifts in stockings on Christmas and a sleigh pulled by a flying reindeer were united in 1821 by publisher William B. Gilley in a book called The Children’s Friend, which disappeared from history until it was rediscovered in 1953.
-And so much more.
Ultimately, Santa Claus Worldwide proves, conclusively, the existence of Santa and his impact on our world.
“Santa indisputably exists as the symbol of Christmas, and Christmas represents our most noble virtues,” Jerman says. “Symbols are real, and they can be very powerful.”
About Tom A. Jerman
A resident of Asheville, N.C., Tom A. Jerman has bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and journalism, and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Utah. Between 1974 and 1978 he worked as a copy editor at The Salt Lake Tribune, before moving on to practice labor and employment law for 35 years. In 2015, he took early retirement to pursue his desire to write something more interesting and enduring than legal treatises.
Over the years, Jerman has amassed some 4,500 Santa figurines and ornaments, and thousands of antique postcards printed between 1900 and 1910. It was the enormous diversity of figures, from temporal, geographic, historical, size, attire, date of gift-giving, to mode of travel which prompted him to write Santa Claus Worldwide, the first volume of a planned trilogy that will include a volume on the authorship of “The Night Before Christmas” and a volume on collecting Santa Claus figurines.
If all goes according to plan, the second volume will be published in winter 2023, the bicentennial of “The Night Before Christmas.” The third volume, currently under construction, will be a guide for individuals who collect Santa Claus figurines and ornaments.
Find more from Tom A. Jerman now:
For more information, please visit http://acollectionofsantas.com, or follow the author on Twitter at @tomajerman.
Santa Claus Worldwide: A History of St. Nicholas and Other Midwinter Gift-Bringers
Publisher: McFarland & Co.
Available from Amazon.com, BN.com and other online retailers
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