Santa Claus was a legendary figure who is said to bring gifts to the homes of well-behaved children on Christmas. Unknown to the people on Earth, Santa Claus was given being because of humanity's belief in the deeds of three different characters in history. These three people, whom belief in together created the true magical being of Santa Claus, are who the people of Earth think Santa Claus actually is or originated from.
Legendary Figure: Saint Nicholas
One theory of Earth people is that Santa Claus' origin came from a 4th-century man named Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was born near the coast of modern-day Turkey, and became the bishop of Myra in his life. Many miracles were attributed to him, and he was known to to be very kind, to be very generous, and to have a great love of children. Some of his miracles include appearing to Emperor Constantine in a dream once to save three wrongly accused soldiers from execution, and restoring three beheaded children of sailors back to life. The most famous story told of the bishop Nicholas is how he attempted to give money anonymously to a family of daughters whose father could not pay their dowries for them to get married. He tried tossing a bags of gold into their house on the nights the girls were to get married, and it is said that on the third night he dropped the bag through the chimney, where it landed in a stocking hanging out to dry. Despite Nicholas' wishes, word of his good deeds spread, and eventually whenever anyone received an unexpected gift, they began thanking Nicholas as custom. After Nicholas' death, a church was built in dedication of him.
Hundreds of years later, after Myra's end, the Russian Emperor Vladimir decided to make Bishop Nicholas the patron saint of Russia after visiting Constantinople and hearing all the wonderful stories of him. These stories eventually spread to the Laplands, to the people of the reindeer sleds. In the Netherlands, the name Sint Nicolaas was contracted into Sinterklaas, which inspired the name Santa Claus. The day before the anniversary of Nicholas' death, December 5th, became a time of giving, which eventually became linked to Christmas, the December 25th Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Other sources believe the origin of Santa Claus was simply inspired by the all-father of the Asgard (the realm of the gods), Odin after a special night where he saved a village's Midwinter's feast from not happening. Hundreds of years ago, an Asgardian Troll named Grylak the Greater was attempting to blackmail Odin to give him control of Asgard, threatening to destroy it with a giant asteroid otherwise. At the same time on Earth, a fisherman named Sigurd was sailing home to his village's Midwinter's feast, but was caught in a storm that blotted out the stars and stopped Sigurd from being able to navigate home. Sigurd's wife, Sia, prayed to Odin to help her husband. In answer, Odin commanded his son, Thor, to not attack Grylak but to first gather some of Asgard's finest wines, linens, and foods. Afterward, killing two birds with one stone, Odin ordered Thor to hurl his magic hammer, Mjolnir, at the Troll's asteroid; destroying it in a blinding flash of light that appeared as a bright star in the sky to Sigurd and his crew on Earth, allowing them to navigate home.
Later that night at Sigurd's village, his wife Sia heard a strange sound that caused her to rush to the hearth and find an unknown man (Odin) wearing furs and holding a huge bundle. The man vanished in a flash of light, leaving behind the goods collected by Thor, and at that same moment Sigurd returned home. Sigurd and Sia looked outside to see Odin, in furs, riding a sleigh driven by two flying rams and crying "A good Midwinter to all! And to all a good life!"
Possible Origin: British Elders
Another theory is that the origin of Santa Claus comes from pre-medieval Britain. It is said that there was a custom among tribes for the community elder to dress up in furs as a character called "Old Winter", and go from dwelling to dwelling delivering food and drink. It was thought that if someone was hospitable to Old Winter, the winter season to be kind to them. This tradition survived for many, many, years, and after the introduction of Christianity, Old Winter began to be known as "Old Christmas", "Old Father Christmas", and eventually just "Father Christmas".
The Generation of Santa Claus
When humanity's belief in the three listed legends mixed together with spiritual energy, the true magical being known as Santa Claus was created. This being was the physical manifestation of giving, as that was the common aspect among all the fables believed in. After being generated into existence, Santa initially set up his base of operations in Finland's eastern frontier, at a city called Korvatunturi. He rode a horse around and began delivering gifts to people on Christmas morning. Later, he took a wife and they moved to the North Pole where they established a workshop. Santa then brought together a workforce of elves to create toys throughout the year in preparation for each Christmas. The majority of these elves were descended from the Light Elves of Alfheim, one of the ten realms of Asgard.
On Christmas Eve, Santa Claus magically fills a dimensionally limitless sack with toys and travels the planet via his sleigh, driven by eight flying reindeer, delivering the toys to good boys and girls, bending the laws of space and time to accomplish the feat over the course of one night. Santa Claus magically slips down the chimneys or uses magic passkeys to enter apartments, and delivers the toys, around a tree or in stockings put by the fireplace, often taking the time to enjoy cookies and milk left for him by the children and/or their parents. In a variety of different forms and known by numerous names, Santa Claus performs similar deeds across Earth. In some cultures, he is sometimes accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht, or Black Peter, who punishes bad children. Frenchwomen sometimes prayed to him for husbands. He supposedly "inherited" some of his magic from Melchior, one of the Three Kings of Bethlehem. His horse, reindeer and elves are all allegedly gifts from Odin; Odin's goats, Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder (later gifted to Thor), and his eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, are the likely inspiration for these. By some accounts, Santa Claus and Father Christmas are separate beings, though they may share similar magical origins.
On one particular Christmas Eve, a thick fog settled over the North Pole, seriously hampering visibility. Santa found a solution in Rudolph, the adolescent fawn of one of his flying reindeer, Donner. Rudolph had previously been ostracized by the other reindeer for his nose, which glowed a bright red, but this very feature made Rudolph a perfect candidate to guide Santa's sleigh through the fog. Saving Christmas that year, Rudolph became a popular and legendary figure to the other reindeer. Accounts of Santa Claus' interactions with humanity are often discounted as folklore and/or imagination, but a number of such exploits have made public record. Early reports of Santa, in his modern incarnation, were made by author Washington Irving (under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker) in his 1809 "History of New York", and by writer Clement Clarke Moore in 1923's "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" (more popularly known as "Twas the Night Before Christmas").
Santa also had an evil counterpart, the wicked demon known as Krampus, who once a year he went to the earthly realm to punish the bad children by feeding on their souls, in contrary to Santa. Santa eventually fought the demon and banished him, causing the knowledge of Krampus to become nothing more than a myth.
In December, 1943, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler had Santa Claus captured to destroy the U.S.A.'s morale, but U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt sent Sgt. Nick Fury, Captain America (Steve Rogers), and Bucky (James Barnes) to rescue him. On Christmas Day 1954, Santa Claus, posing as a wealthy man, instructed Smith City garage attendant Sammy Glenn, an intelligent man who had never made good on his abilities, to watch his car and luggage for six hours. On impulse, Glenn "borrowed" the car and a suit and entered an executive club, where he met an attractive woman and received a job offer. Stunned by his good fortune, Glenn returned the car to its owner not realizing that the man was Santa Claus. That same year, Santa had a run-in with an unidentified burglar. The following Christmas, Santa (keeping his identity anonymous) chastised wealthy miser Oliver Gombul for his selfish ways; but Santa was pleased when Gombul vowed to become a better man after the young Ned Evans, son of one of Gombul's employees, gave him a present - the first Gombul had ever received.
In more recent years, on Christmas Eve, Santa saved New York City from the Hate-Monger (a clone of Hitler) when his sleigh - seen only as an unidentified flying object - soared through the air at unprecedented speed, distracting one of the Hate-Monger's pilots, who crashed into the Hate-Monger's nuclear bomb.
Years later, on another December 24th, Cerebro, the mutant-detecting computer of the X-Men, detected "the most powerful mutant ever registered" in New York's Rockefeller Center. This being was also detected by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (Unus the Untouchable, the Blob, the Toad, and Mastermind) who sought it out, resulting in a skirmish with the X-Men. This ended when Santa briefly transformed the Brotherhood into inanimate toys, teleported the X-Men away, erased both groups' memories of his involvement, and then gifted the city with snowfall, the first white Christmas in years.
Howard the Duck
Affected by the new reality of the ever-changing world, Santa at least once attempted to modernize. He took to wearing a smaller beard, using a more lavish fake beard on Christmas. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals then forced Santa to rebuild his sleigh so that it ran on its own power, not from being pulled by the reindeer. Claus initially used steam until an oil company representative (possibly from the Roxxon Oil Company) convinced him to switch over to high-octane fuel. Caught up in this trend, Santa opened up a nuclear power plant and gas station at the North Pole. The plan was actually controlled, however, by Greedy Killerwatt, who had been a "jumper" (worker hired to enter "hot" areas of nuclear plants to do various tasks) mutated into a form resembling a light bulb. Santa took in a convict named Pinball Lizard, after conferring with his parole officer, as director of his Fun N' Games department. However, Pinball Lizard fell in with Greedy Killerwatt, who used his powers to change Pinball into a lizard-like being, as well as mutating many of Santa's elves into trolls. Attempting to destroy Santa Claus by putting an insufficient amount of gas in his sleigh so he would crash, Pinball took over the workshop and forced elves who did not become trolls to construct mass-produced, shoddy toys while Santa went on his rounds.
Killerwatt intended to take over Christmas in revenge against society for his mutation. Santa crashed in Cleveland, where he encountered Howard the Duck. Discovering that he was out of fuel, Santa realized that since gas rationing was in effect, he could not get enough fuel to return to the Arctic. However, Howard, who worked at the "To Hack and Back" taxi company at the time, offered to let Claus use their pumps. Howard filled the tank, and he and the young Carol Starkowitz (daughter of Claude Starkowitz, designer of the "Iron Duck" armor) went to the North Pole with Claus. Mrs. Claus told them of Pinball Lizard's rebellion, and Santa, Howard, Carol, the loyal elves, toys animated by elf magic, and a gun-toting elf named Sunquist (originally from Florida) drove off Pinball Lizard and his trolls, who escaped via dirigible. However, the nuclear power plant still threatened to "melt down" through the center of the earth until it reached Antarctica, thus destroying the world. Pinball Lizard rendezvoused with Killerwatt, who dispatched mutated seals, polar bears, penguins, and whales against Howard the Duck and his compatriots, who were joined by Chief Ollakook of a local tribe. Howard and Carol sidestepped the mutated animals to find Pinball Lizard, whom Howard speared in the tail. Sunquist shot Killerwatt in the head, and Killerwatt's injury undid his mutations, returning Pinball Lizard and the others to normal. Santa promised to shut down the nuclear power plant, swearing to convert the toy shop to solar power, and to power his sleigh with organic fuels, as Sunquist had recommended all along.
More recently, a criminal scam artist, working as a mall Santa, asked children where they lived so he could deliver their presents. He then appeared at their windows dressed as Santa, duping the children to letting him in, after which he would loot their house. Spider-Man (Peter Parker) eventually encountered the thief, who fled to the roof, where the real Santa Claus, angry at this misuse of his identity, scared the thief into giving up crime before Spider-Man arrived.
For a time, Santa used his knowledge of who was naughty and who was nice to become the world's greatest detective as "Nick St. Christopher". In this role he aided the She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) in locating evidence for a murder investigation. Entranced by the She-Hulk, St. Christopher made a pass at her, but then Mrs. Claus arrived to corral him and to punish She-Hulk by filling her office with reindeer droppings. Before departing, St. Christopher gave She-Hulk a present, telling her to use it on Christmas for something special. When she was later trapped in She-Hulk form, she opened the present, which allowed her to temporarily return to her human form to celebrate a normal Christmas evening with her father, Morris Walters.
Howard the Duck Again
Another year, demoralized by mankind's lack of faith and belief, Santa sold his entire franchise to the terrorists of Hydra. Around the same time, Howard the Duck had been drafted by his partner, Beverly Switzler, to act as a mall Santa (a.k.a. Santa's helper) at the Mondo Mega Mall after the regular helper had been injured in an escalator accident. One of Santa's elves recruited a number of other Santa's helpers - including Howard the Duck, Vito Claus, Bubba Clause, Santa Clara, Claus Tse-Tung, Sanity Claus and Willy Lumpkin Claus - to prevent Hydra from ruining Christmas. Ultimately Howard and the recently orphaned Dionysus Finster, who had latched onto Howard as the mall Santa and accompanied him to the North Pole, convinced Santa to renege on his deal with Hydra, and the various Santa's helpers joined forces with Santa and the elves to drive off the Commando Corps of Hydra Accountants.
Great Lakes X-Men
One Christmas, Santa aided the young mutant team Generation X against the youth-abducting Nanny and Orphan Maker. Another year, the Doorman (DeMarr David), who had recently been drafted as the Avatar of Oblivion, encountered Santa and asked him for a Christmas miracle for his dad: "Some toy he'd always longed for ever since he was a kid, something to teach him the true meaning of Christmas and help forge a bond between father and son?" Unfortunately, as Christmas Eve was Santa's busiest time of year, he didn't have time to help out Doorman, though later he was able to join Doorman and his teammates (then the GLX/Great Lakes X-Men) on their Christmas celebration.
When Santa Claus disguised himself as a homeless man, he was captured alongside Captain Marvel by Grave Valentine and Toxie Doxie. They intended to use him as guinea pig, not knowing he was Santa, but Carol was able to break free which prompted Santa to reveal himself and help Carol in defeating the the two villainesses who were then imprisoned by Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S..
Due to Santa's lack of expertise in business practices, one of his elves named Tinsel came along and organized the North Pole's operations. After becoming greedy, Tinsel attempted to convince Santa to bring outsiders to help cut the costs, but he refused since money was never his motivation and he couldn't bring himself to sell off to a corporation. In retaliation, Tinsel spread lies about Santa to the other elves, causing them to turn against him and abandon the North Pole. With operations in his factory shutting down, Santa let himself go and became manic. With his home dilapidated, Ms. Claus could barely stand her husband's presence.
When Christmas came and no presents were delivered, a group of indignant kids assembled to hire Deadpool to kill Santa. Deadpool traveled to the North Pole and confronted Santa. Following an arduous battle, the mercenary managed to subdue Santa, but couldn't bring himself to kill him. After Ms. Claus explained the reason for Santa's predicament, Deadpool decided to instead track down Tinsel to Roxxon Toys, where he was subjecting the other elves to corporate abuse. After Deadpool killed Tinsel, the other elves gladly returned to the North Pole. Although Santa regained his composure, since he still needed to clean himself up and regain his lost weight, Deadpool convinced him to let him borrow his sleigh and go around delivering presents seized from Roxxon Toys.
Santa Claus has a number of magical abilities, including longevity, the ability to fit himself and others through any chimney (avoiding fiery injury in the process), levitate up a chimney (usually by touching his nose and nodding), alter the appearance of himself or other objects or beings (including physically transforming a person into an inanimate object), change the size of other objects, teleport himself and others across the world, generate snow and determine who has been naughty or nice. Lapland's Korvatunturi is said to resemble a hare's ears, which were rumored to be Santa's ears, the means with which he listened to determine who was behaving. His normal strength is augmented on Christmas Eve to lift (press) 2 tons. Santa's full powers are not revealed, though he prefers not to use them in combat or other struggles. While he appears to be a senior, Santa has not physically aged in centuries. Santa Claus has access to a wide range of supernatural artifacts, which he uses to accomplish various feats of magic. Though often depicted as Caucasian in appearance, Santa actually appears to most people in their own racial features, though he usually retains his white hair and beard. He radiates a subtle charismatic charming effect on people, able to soften hardened hearts, and convert criminals.
He commands a sleigh pulled by a number of magic flying reindeer - including Blitzen (a.k.a. Blixem & Blixen), Comet, Cupid, Dasher, Dancer, Donner (a.k.a. Dunder & Donder), Prancer, Rudolph, and Vixen - who magically enable him to travel across the planet, stopping at most houses along the way, in a single night. His magical sack - actually a tesseract serving as a portal to a sort of storage dimension - holds enough presents to supply the entire world in one trip. At each home, he travels down the chimney (or the closest alternative where chimneys are lacking) and deposits presents for good boys and girls, but leaves only a lump of coal for the naughty. He frequently will consume cookies and milk left for him before departing on to the next house. His reindeer Rudolph's nose gives off a bright red glow that enables Santa to see and navigate through the worst blizzards, fogs, or other conditions of poor visibility. Santa briefly used a gasoline-powered sleigh, and he has also at least once empowered a pack of huskies to pull his sleigh.
Santa is served by a number of magical elves, who construct the toys he gives out. Though some have differing origins, the elves are descended from the Light Elves of Asgard's Alfheim, and they are resistant to aging and conventional disease. The elf Sunquist, in particular, is solar-powered and can animate toys and rearrange matter. In addition, Sunquist is a member of E.L.F., the Elf Labor Federation, which protects elves - an exploited minority - so that they might offer their services only to the extent that they did not cause humanity to become unduly reliant on elfkind. In addition, across America and other places, regular men (and women) serve as Santa's helpers, meeting with children, learning what they want for Christmas, and passing this information on to Santa himself.
Presents have a mild reality bending, and he may have immortality.
- Given that Santa Claus was the "most powerful mutant ever registered" by Cerebro, there is a possibility that Santa is an Omega Level Mutant.
- 26 appearance(s) of Santa Claus (Earth-616)
- 3 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Santa Claus (Earth-616)
- 9 minor appearance(s) of Santa Claus (Earth-616)
- 51 mention(s) of Santa Claus (Earth-616)
- 26 image(s) of Santa Claus (Earth-616)
- 1 quotation(s) by or about Santa Claus (Earth-616)