Definition of Santa Claus noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


Santa Claus

BrE BrE//ˈsæntə klɔːz//
; NAmE NAmE//ˈsæntə klɔːz//
(also Santa) (British English also Father Christmas)
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an imaginary old man with red clothes and a long white beard. Parents tell small children that he brings them presents at Christmas. see also Secret Santa Word Originoriginally a US usage, alteration of Dutch dialect Sante Klaas ‘St Nicholas’. CultureSanta ClausSanta Claus, also called simply Santa or, in Britain, Father Christmas, is a fat, cheerful old man with a long white beard who brings children their presents on Christmas Eve. Traditionally, he wears a bright red suit, a red hat lined with white fur and shiny black boots. Santa Claus is said to live at the North Pole and to have a workshop there where he and his elves makes toys. Santa Claus is also called St Nick and identified with St Nicholas, who lived in the 4th century AD and is the patron saint of childrenIn the period before Christmas children write letters to Santa telling him what gifts they would like. In Britain these letters are ‘posted’ up the chimney or sent to local newspapers, which arrange for Santa to send a reply. Children are careful to behave well, because Santa only brings toys to good children.During this time Santa can also be found visiting many large shops, so that children can tell him what presents they would like. In Britain children have to pay to enter Santa's grotto and in return receive a small gift from him; in America visiting Santa is free.On 24 December, the night before Christmas, children hang stockings (= long socks) at the end of their beds. Santa leaves the North Pole with a sled or sleigh (= a kind of carriage with metal strips instead of wheels so that it can move over ice and snow). Santa's sled is pulled by reindeer (= a kind of deer) called Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph, who know how to fly. They travel through the air stopping on the roof of every house where a child is sleeping. Santa slides down the chimney and leaves big presents under the Christmas tree and small ones in the stockings. He usually finds that the children have left him a plate of Christmas cookies (= sweet biscuits in special shapes) or, in Britain, a mince pie (= a small pastry containing dried fruits), and possibly salt or a carrot for his reindeer.Santa Claus is an important symbol of Christmas, and pictures of him appear on Christmas cards and decorations. He is mentioned in poems and Christmas songs (= traditional songs) such as The Night Before Christmas and Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer. As children get older they realize that Santa Claus cannot be real and stop believing in him.

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