Culture & Literature
LIFE Santa Claus

LIFE Santa Claus

LIFE Santa Claus

He is one of the most iconic figures in human lore, the "right jolly old elf" who embodies the benevolent spirit of Christmas. In fact, Santa Claus (or, St. Nicholas, or Kris Kringle, or Sinterklaas, or Father Christmas, if you will) has had a rich, colorful history, dating back almost two millennia to what is now present-day Turkey. Now, with this special edition and just in time for the excitement of the holidays, you can trace Santa's journey, through all its twists, turns and iterations around the world, as he has enchanted and delighted children of all ages. There is magic in the myth that endures and evolves, generation after generation. Celebrate Santa, a beacon of light and hope in an often dark and uncertain world.

United States
Meredith Corporation
Read More
$20.81(Incl. tax)

in this issue

4 min.
the magic of santa claus

Shortly before Christmas several years ago, there erupted a cable-and-Internet-fueled firestorm, a furious debate among television pundits and talk-show hosts, print and online pontificators, and doubtless more than a few families at dinner tables across this great land. Was it triggered by domestic politics or an international crisis? Some sensational crime or environmental disaster? A shocking twist on Game of Thrones? No, this time the great American outrage machine ginned up over the nature of Santa Claus. The precipitating event was an essay on Slate.com by Aisha Harris, a black journalist. As a child, Harris had asked her father whether Santa was “brown, like us? Or was he really a white guy?” With Solomonic wisdom, her dad replied “that Santa was every color. Whatever house he visited jolly old St. Nicholas…

2 min.
santa sightings around the world

45 min.
must be santa

In our Christmas Eve dreams, Santa Claus is a jolly old elf with a broad belly and a billowy beard who brings us whatever we ask for—as long as we have been good. A more than fair deal all around, we can agree. We know where he lives: at the top of the world, the North Pole, where he and his elves toil throughout the year making toys and other desirable gifts. We know his fabulous reindeer by name, all nine of them (if you include the red-nosed Rudolph), each of these caribou yearning ever so for the big night when they will pull his jingling sleigh over the rooftops of the world. That, at least, is the Santa Claus who resides in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans. But that’s…