Before He Was Santa, Was He Sinterklaas?

santa sleigh

Dutch Influences in the Story of Santa

It is believed that Santa is a derivative of the Dutch name for Saint Nicholas, which is Sinterklaas. Sinterklaas was described as a serious-looking older man with a long white beard, who wears a red cape, rides a white horse and carries a large red book filled with names of children who have been naughty or nice. Sinterklaas was said to travel with an apprentice called Piet.

Before the Book of Naughty and Nice

Santa’s helpers either listened at the chimney or on rooftops. Then Santa’s helper would report back to Santa the goings on in the homes. With this information Santa would decide who was worthy of a reward. In some stories, it was his helper Piet, in other stories it was two ravens named Huginn and Muninn, who listened on Santa’s behalf. When the focus shifted to children is unknown, but it is possible that when the fable of Santa was Christianized, it may have been in that time. Eventually, instead of Santa’s helpers listening for Santa, it was inferred that Santa, simply knew if a child was naughty or nice and Santa kept track of it in his large red book.

From Coins to Toys the Scoop on What Santa Delivered

Early reports on Santa, state that he put coins in shoes of the worthy as a reward for being good. At some point in the retelling of the of the story of Santa, the focus changed from the shoes of all worthy, to the shoes of children that were nice and not naughty. Then the reward changed from coins to gifts placed in the shoes of children. And then from gifts to specifically toys and the toys were placed under a tree or in places other than shoes.

The Transition from Horse to Santa’s Sleigh

A white horse represents wisdom and balance. From the retelling of the story of Sinterklaas, one can see why it was said that such a man rode a white horse. As the story of Santa was embellished to add that toys delivered by means of a chimney, the use of a horse to transport all the toys seemed less feasible. As the expectation that Santa delivered toys for delivered to all children grew, Santa needed a more stable mode of transportation, one that could navigate to all the places that Santa had to go, and could also hold the large sack of toys.

santa sleigh

Why Use Eight Reindeer to Pull Santa’s Sleigh?

Many accounts place the origin of the story of Santa in Northern Europe. Use of reindeer and a sleigh, supports this theory, as in that region, reindeer were herded and domesticated. It is believed that man has herded and domesticate reindeer for 270,000 years. In further support of the origination of the story of Santa, deriving in Northern Europe, Santa’s sleigh has a specific design and is made in the image of Nordic sleighs.

Why One Reindeer with a Red Nose?

With certain indigenous people the lead reindeer pulling the sleigh finds the way in a blizzard. And if the lead reindeer sneezes when crossing an iced over river, then the herder looks for another route over which to cross the river. We can see a correlation between this navigation method and the story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It is not a far leap to move from a sneezing reindeer to one that has a red nose and leads Santa’s sleigh.

Art of the Nativity

Duomo of Florence Italy at night

Guest Blog by Frank Weaver


The long, dark, cold nights of December are immeasurably warmed and brightened by the Christmas decorations that mark the holiday season: colored lights, tree ornaments, elaborate wreaths—and not least of all, the indoor and outdoor Nativity scenes that homeowners, churches, and municipalities display to remind us of the meaning of that season. But what inspired this tradition?

On a recent trip to Italy I wanted, of course, to immerse myself in the natural, cultural, artistic, and day-to-day charms of that country, especially in the vicinity of Florence. But I also made a particular point of seeking out the origins of the Nativity Scene tradition within the unrivaled collections of art found throughout that country.

The Nativity in Florence and Milan

I did not have to search hard.

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2020 Holiday Season Trends


It’s hard enough to keep track of your own world during the holidays without trying to figure out what’s new and trendy. But Christmas Night Inc. has done it for you! We have our finger on the pulse of the holidays every year, and our guide to the holiday season trends of 2018 will help you have a more rewarding, less stressful December. While you can’t go wrong with tradition, our tips and advice below can put you at the forefront of the season.

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Evolution of the Beloved Nutcracker

Giant Nutcracker

The nutcracker sits under the holiday tree, a guardian of childhood stories. Feed him walnuts and he will crack open a tale….”
Vera Nazarian

Primitive nutcrackers were nothing like the nutcrackers that we know of today. To understand the significance of the nutcracker, we need to go back in time to a point when malevolent spirits held a place in everyday life. In these early times, typically referred to medieval times, nutcrackers were used to ward off spirits, bring luck and crack nuts.

The Nutcracker as an Everyday Tool
Typically, nutcrackers were of simpler but creative design. During medieval times, the nutcracker was an everyday tool. And nuts were a staple in everyday life. Medieval nutcrackers were whittled from wood and were skillfully designed by the whittler.

Some nutcrackers appeared with human or elfish heads, animals and other objects. But typically, the nutcracker had two handles which clasped together, and at the end was a cracking mechanism. The nutcracker was more geared toward function but also had ornate design. Nutcrackers weren’t considered decoration in these times, but simply a tool. Once, harder metals were introduced, nutcrackers were also ornately fashioned from metal, but were not as affordable to the lower classes.

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Historical Origins of Outdoor Nativity Scenes

Outdoor Nativity scene

Giant Nutcracker

“All cultures…have grown out of myths. They are founded on myths. What these myths have given has been inspiration for aspiration.”
— Joseph Campbell, Mythology and the Individual (1997)


From church iconography to Easter baskets, from Yule logs to small indoor crèches and huge outdoor Nativity sets, the backstories behind the outward manifestations of Christian belief, in all their rich variety, remain a source of endless historical interest, and not a little speculation. Continue reading “Historical Origins of Outdoor Nativity Scenes”

Announcing Dog-Statues.com by Christmas Night Inc.

Christmas Night is proud to introduce our new website, www.dog-statues.com. Just as Christmas Night is your ultimate source for outdoor Christmas decorations , dog-statues.com will try to be your ultimate source for all kinds of statues of your family pet, working companion or animal best friend.

Our dog statues represent the very best versions of dog figures made of resin, fine stone , ceramic, structured plush, metal and plush. These dog figures are skillfully, carved, constructed or assembled and colored in factories and workshops in the US, Italy and the Philippines.

Some of our dog statues are made to order and shipped in 4 to 6 weeks from our US factories. Many statues are carried in stock in our and our suppliers warehouse for immediate shipment by Fed EX Ground or LTL truck.

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Different Ways to Decorate Buildings

While homes seem to lend themselves naturally to Christmas decorations, decking out a building can seem like an insurmountable challenge. It’s not. The key to effectively decorating buildings is to ensure you match the size and scope of the building with the décor. Check out some ideas on different ways to decorate buildings we put together here at Christmas Night Inc.

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Create Your Own Christmas Light Show

One of the most fantastic elements of the holidays is all the glimmering, shimmering, brilliant lights, and you can create your own Christmas light show in your very own yard. These tips from Christmas Night Inc. outline how.

Sketch an Overview of Your Yard

Creating a rough yet accurate sketch of your yard gives you a bird’s eye view of how much room you have to work with. It also provides a working draft of all the different areas you want to cover. Once you have an overview of how much space you want to fill and elements you want to light, you can more easily assess how many larger light displays and what type of backdrop lighting will produce the most dramatic effects.

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The Best Collectible Christmas Gifts

While giving Christmas gifts like socks and candies may be useful and delicious, neither one is going to be around for the long haul. Collectible Christmas gifts, on the other, can be enjoyed for years to come. Collectibles refer to gifts that are beloved, cherished, passed down through the generations, and may often align with a specific theme as part of a larger collection. We here at Christmas Night Inc. are big fans of collectible Christmas gifts of all sorts and sizes, and we gathered up the best collectible Christmas gifts to share with you.

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