Old World Santa Claus

old-world-santaOld 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: