Here Comes Surfing Santa, But Where Did Santas Claus Come From and How Did He Get His Name?


Pictured is a California beach version of Santa riding a surfboard and driving a sleigh of dolphins in cities Sunset Beach (left photo) and Surfside.

Los Angeles is known as the “city of angels” and Santa Claus is known throughout California from Santa Monica to Santa Margarita, Santa Paula and Santa Catalina, as the good-natured, fun-loving dude who rides in the waves from the West, dropping off toys to all the good girls and boys throughout the state.

Though some may scoff at this wacky state’s own version of the the Santa Story, “Santa” is a common name of for cities throughout California and has good vibrations as the word in Spanish is assigned to female saints. Oh, so Santa Claus is a woman? Not so fast!

  • Saint Nicholas of Dutch Sinterklaas legend, reportedly inspired Americans when they adopted their own version of a gift-giving character originally called Santa A. Klas.
  • In 1773 the name appeared in American press as St. A Claus.
  • The Night Before Christmas, a story by writer Clement Clarke Moore, borrowed Washington Irving’s Saint Nicholas reference, but called the jolly character Santa Claus.
  • In 1860 Santa Claus was further elaborated by illustrator Thomas Nast, who depicted a large, round Santa for Harper’s magazine, adding details such as Santa’s workshop at the North Pole and Santa’s list of the good and bad children.
  • After the turn of the 20th century, Coca-Cola marketers transformed Santa into a human sized character, with toyshop workers portrayed as elves.
  • In in some parts of Switzerland children can get coal in a stocking if they are bad.


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