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St. Nicholas wouldn't recognize himself as the American Santa Claus, yet he is the original Santa. Nicholas was the church bishop in Myra (now Denre in Turkey). He was known for his humble generosity. He inherited great wealth and used it for others.

Writer Washington Irving made him elf-sized, flying about in a horse drawn wagon to bring children presents. Poet Clement Moore created eight reindeer to pull his sleigh. Cartoonist Thomas Nast changed his name to Santa Claus and moved him to the North Pole. Coca Cola ads in the 1920s gave Santa Claus his colors and set his appearance, as we know it.

In Europe he is still St. Nicholas, a thin man in a bishop's robe riding a white horse. St. Nicholas' Day, December 6th, is the main day for gift giving in Europe. In Germany and Poland, boys dressed as bishops beg gifts for the poor.

In the Netherlands and Belgium, St. Nicholas arrives on a steamship from Spain to ride a white horse on his gift-giving rounds. The Dutch share candies, chocolate initial letters, small gifts and riddles. Dutch children leave carrots and hay in their shoes for the horse, hoping St. Nicholas will exchange them for small gifts.

Source: Bible Almanac For Kids by Terry Hall.
Excerpt permission granted by White Stone Books

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Harrison House
Web site: Harrison House
In November 1975, Buddy and Pat Harrison launched Harrison House Publishers, releasing their first titles in 1976. Since then, Harrison House has published and distributed more than 100 million books in 42 languages and in more than 175 countries. Since Dr. Harrison's homegoing in November of 1998, Harrison House has continued to publish the uncompromised Word of God.

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