Old World Santa Claus is a term for “pre-Santa” or alternative Christmas personas with names such as St. Nicholas (who was a real 3rd century bishop in what is now Turkey), Father Christmas, Pere Noel, Kris Kringle, Belsnickel, etc. These old World Santas served a similar gift-giving symbolic purpose but did not necessarily share the same overall look as the chubby, jolly Santa Claus so commonly pictured today. Old World Santas generally have their roots in Europe.
These days, the phrase “old world” Santa is used mainly to describe Santa Claus decorations depicting the older Santa-type characters. These Old World Santas often have a more serious look — a white-bearded man who is not necessarily fat and does not necessarily dress in a jaunty red suit. However, there is no clear definition of what makes a Santa “old world”, so you may see a wide range of images or figurines being sold as “old world.”
Sites that sell Old World Santa decorations include:
- eBay – Old World Santa Claus tabletop decorations, ornaments and more for sale or up for auction.
- Reasons To Believe offers a number of Old World Santa figurines, including some labeled as Bulgarian and German styles.
- The Wooden Duck has many collectible Santas in the Old World style.
- Old World Santa Quilt Patterns on eBay – Make your own Old Word Santa quilt with these.
- FineArtAmerica.com has Old World Santa greeting cards for sale.
- Laraines.com features many Old World Santa figures among its Santa dolls collection.
- YonderStar has many Old World Santa figures among its collection of Christmas decorations.
- Of course Amazon.com has a bit of everything, including Old World Santa decorations and ornaments.
- Costumes of Nashua has some Old World Santa suits / costumes among its collection of suits for purchase or rental.
- Etsy offers quite a few interesting Old World Santa decorations, but the site is very hit-and-miss in terms of singling out the Old World Santas from all the rest.
- Online shopping club Jet.com offers a number of Old World Santa decorations from its partner retailers.
- Zazzle offers a number of Old World Santa products, along with some labeled “vintage” and “Victorian,” including Christmas cards, pillows, wrapping paper, stickers and more.
- The American Toy Marble Museum claims to have the oldest Santa figure produced in the United States — made in the 1890s and clothed in a blue hooded coat of the Old World style.