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Kids' Zone Abeja Dispatch

You Say Santa Claus, I Say Sinter Klaas! How Other People See St. Nick!
February 23, 2000

What do you know about Santa Claus? That he lives at the North Pole, and drives a sleigh with eight reindeer (plus Rudolph!) once a year to deliver presents to good little girls and boys?

That's your side of the story! There are people half-way around the world-and some even closer!-that call Santa Claus by all sorts of different names, like Saint Nicholas, Noel Baba, Father Frost and Sinter Klaas! We've met some of them, and they all have different ideas about who Santa Claus is.

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The ruins of this old basilica are being cared for today
Some people believe St. Nicholas was a bishop of Myra, the town in Turkey (now called Demre) where we are now. They say he was kind and worked miracles, like saving three drowning sailors by stopping a huge storm at sea and giving all his money to poor children.

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This is where they say St. Nicholas himself was entombed, until the Italians broke in and stole his bones!

Other people say the St. Nicholas story is actually about two people -- a child who brought gifts to children in secret, and a dwarf who traveled with him. The people called this St. Nicholas "Kris Kringle."

And other people think St. Nicholas used to be a god of the sea, like Poseidon (say, "po-sigh-don") who ruled over the Greeks, or Neptune (say "nep-toon") who watched out for the Romans.

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The spirit of giving is alive here, where the groundskeeper gave me an orange before taking my picture!
If you believe in the Santa Claus with the big belly and the red suit, that version of him is right out of a poem called "The Night Before Christmas." Maybe you've heard it, or had it read to you on Christmas Eve.

Whichever Santa Claus, Father Frost, Noel Baba or Kris Kringle you believe in, isn't it wonderful that children all around the world believe in him too?


p.s. - Please e-mail me at

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