124 Other Names for Santa Claus and Old Saint Nick from Around the World

124 Other Names for Santa Claus and Old Saint Nick from Around the World

Santa is someone who remains in children’s hearts forever. He’s the imaginary make-believe man who magically brings gifts and toys to kids at Christmas. To the “grown-ups”, Santa Claus is the wonderful idea of selfless giving and goodwill.

Santa also has some other names too. Among them are Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle, St. Nick, Pelznickel.

A short history of Santa’s name in America

Two of Santa’s names – Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus – both came from the Dutch legend of Sinterklass brought long ago by settlers who arrived in New York.

The Dutch long had a legend that Saint Nikolaas brought presents to children. The dutch honored this kind saint with the annual festival celebrated on December 6th. English-speaking settlers to the new world and who lived nearby took advantage of this enjoyable Dutch festival. They, in turn, brought Sinterklass and the gift-giving custom into their own ritual celebration for Christmas.

This Dutch variation of Sinterklaas (Santa Claus, or Saint Nicholas) and Zwarte Piet/Knecht Ruprecht (Black Pete), his helper became part of the early American landscape during the Christmas season. The Dutch quickly said the name “Saint Nikolaas”, it sounded, to English ears, like “Sinterklaas.” When the English said his name, it sounded a lot closer to Santa Claus.

In Pennsylvania, West of New York, many of the German farmers there had also known of Saint Nikolaas. But the Germans called him “Pelznickel.” This comes from combining the word “pelz,” which means fur, and the word “nickel” for Nicholas. For the Germans of the Pennsylvania region, Pelznickel (Saint Nicholas) was a big man dressed out in fur who came to visit once a year with presents for all good children.

It didn’t take long for the settlers to feel that Pelznickel’s kindness and love should be a regular fixture in the celebration remembering the Christkindl (what the Germans called Jesus: “Christ child”). Over the years, this evolved into the more familiar “Kris Kringle.” Kris Kringle has morphed into another name for Santa himself.

Whatever you may call him, he remains the same jolly, short, old, fat man with a long white beard, with a fur-lined red suit.

Thomas Nast Paints Santa

The picture we have in our mind of Santa actually comes from the artist Thomas Nast. He was a Bavarian painter who immigrated to American, where he made paintings for Christmas poems. It only took one request to paint a Santa Claus Picture for our contemporary image of Santa to be solidified. 

Thomas, from southern Germany, recalled that as a wee lad each Christmas, an old fat man would give away cakes and toys to all the children. So, when he painted his version of  Santa Claus, He painted him to looked like his childhood memory of the kind old man. Up until this very day, Thomas’ version of Santa has continued to be the most popular idea of what Santa looks like. 

These days, during our Christmas season, Santa Claus can be seen everywhere from Oklahoma City to Chicago, Los Angels to New York, and in every small American city. Some are standing on the street corners, ringing bells for charities, asking shoppers for money to buy gifts and food for those in need. Other Santas can be found in shopping centers and stores hearing the requests of children. If you ever wonder where Santa is, follow the long lines of kids waiting to tell him what they want to get as a gift for Christmas. 

Father Christmas names from around the world: 

  1. Aba Chaghaloo (Afghanistan) 
  2. Aghios Vassilis (Greece)
  3. Ash Man (Germany)
  4. Aya Nicola (Turkish)
  5. Babadimri, Albania 
  6. Baba Noel, Iraq 
  7. Babbo Natale (Italy)
  8. Baboushka (Russia)
  9. Befana (Italy)
  10. Bellsnickle (Old American)
  11. Bozic Bata (Serbo-Croatian)
  12. Bozicek (Slovenia)
  13. Christkind (Austria)
  14. Christkindl (Switzerland)
  15. Christkindle (Germany)
  16. Daidina Nollag, Ireland 
  17. Ded Moroz “Grandfather Frost” (Russia)
  18. Deda Mraz (Bosnia /Serbia/Yugoslavia/Macedonia)
  19. Diado Coleda (Bulgaria)
  20. Dun Che Lao Ren “Christmas Old Man”(China)
  21. Dyado Koleda, Bulgaria
  22. Dyed Moroz (Russia)
  23. El Niiiito Dios (Mexico) 
  24. El Nino Jesus (Central America)
  25. Father Christmas (Jamaica/England/N.Z.)
  26. Feliz Navidad (Uruguay)
  27. Gaghant Baba (Armenia)
  28. Ganesha (India)
  29. Grandfather Frost/Father Frost (Russia)
  30. Gwiazdor (Poland)
  31. Hagios Nikolaos (Greece)
  32. Hoteiosho “a god or priest who bears gifts” (Japan)
  33. Hoteisho (Japan)
  34. Ilwyd (Wales)
  35. Jizo (Japan)
  36. Jolasveinn (Iceland)
  37. Joulupukki (Finland)
  38. Julemanden (Denmark)
  39. Julenissen “Christmas gnome” (Norway)
  40. Julgubben (Finland)
  41. Jultomten “Christmas brownie” (Sweden)
  42. Kaledu Senis (Lithuania)
  43. Kanakaloka (Hawaii)
  44. Karacsony Apo (Hungary)
  45. Kerstman (Belgium/Netherlands)
  46. Klees’chen (Luxembourgish)
  47. Kolyada (Russia)
  48. Korvatunturl (Lapland)
  49. Kris Kringle (Aus./Can./U.S.)
  50. Los Reys Magos (Spain)
  51. Mar Nkoula (Arabic)
  52. Menino Jesus (Central America)
  53. Mikulas (Hungary)
  54. Moss Craciun (Romania)
  55. Nicolo (Austria) 
  56. Pa Norsk (Norway)
  57. Pai Natal (Portugal)
  58. Papa Noel (Egypt/Spain)
  59. Papai Noel (Brazil)
  60. Papal Noel (Spain, Latin America) 
  61. Pelznickel (Dutch/Netherlands/Germany)
  62. Pere Noel (France/Belgium/Canada)
  63. Püha Nikolai (Estonian)
  64. Queen Mab, Canada
  65. Rauklas (Germany)
  66. San Nicola (Italian)
  67. San Nicolò (Italian)
  68. San Niccolò (Italian)
  69. San Niklaw (Malta) 
  70. San Nikolas (Basque)
  71. San Nikola (Maltese) 
  72. San Nicolás (Spanish)
  73. Saint Basil (America/England/Greek)
  74. Saint Nicholas (Aus./Can./U.S.)
  75. Saint Nick (Aus./Can./U.S.
  76. Saint Nicolas (French)
  77. Saint Nikolaas (Netherlands)
  78. Samichlaus (Switzerland)
  79. Sanctus Nicolaus (Latin)
  80. Sankt Nicolai (German)
  81. Sankt Niklaus (German)
  82. Sankt Nikolai (Norwegian/Swedish)
  83. Sankt Nikolaus (Swedish/German)
  84. Sant Nicolau (Catalan)
  85. Santa Claus (Aus./Can./U.S.)
  86. Santa Dan Short (Oklahoma City)
  87. Santa Kurohsu (Japan)
  88. Santy (Ireland)
  89. São Nicolau (Portuguese) 
  90. Sfântul Nicolae (Romanian)
  91. Shaggy Goat (eastern Germany)
  92. Shakhta Babah (Azerbaijan)
  93. Shën Koli (Albanian)
  94. Shën Kolli (Albanian)
  95. Shën Kollit (Albanian)
  96. Shën Nikollië (Albanian)
  97. Sing Dan Lo Ian (Hong Kong)
  98. Sint Nikolaas (Dutch/Netherlands) 
  99. Sint Nicolaas (Dutch/Netherlands) 
  100. Sint Sinterklaas (Dutch/Netherlands)
  101. Sinterklas (Indonesia)
  102. Sinterklass (Colonial Dutch)
  103. Sontgaclau Romansch:
  104. Sunnercla (Germany)
  105. Svätý Mikuláš (Slovakian) 
  106. Svatý Mikkuláš (Czech)
  107. Svaty Miklas (Czechoslovakia)
  108. Svetnik Miklavz (Slovenian) 
  109. Sveti Mikalojus (Lithuanian)
  110. Sveti Nickola (Serbo-Croatian)
  111. Sveti Nikola (Macedonian/Croatian/Bulgarian) 
  112. Sviatyij Mykolai (Ukrainian)
  113. Sweti Mikolaj (Poland) 
  114. Swiety Mikolaj (Poland)
  115. Svyatoy Nikolay(Russian)
  116. Svyatoy Nikolskay (Russian)
  117. Svyatoy Nikolsky (Russian)
  118. Szent Miklós (Hungarian)
  119. Szent Mikulás (Hungarian)
  120. Tsminda Nikolozi (Georgian)
  121. Vader Kersfees (South Africa) 
  122. Viejo Pascuero “Old Man Christmas”(Chile)
  123. Volvo Indo (Brazil)
  124. Weihnachtsmann “Christmas Man”(Germany)

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