Actually, this is quite a tricky matter: Santa Claus, Santa Claus, Christkind, Santa Claus, year-end man, Sinterclaas, Père Noel, Joulupukki – who actually brings us presents?? And when? On the metamorphoses of a legendary figure – and the protections around him.
There was a bishop in Myra (today Demre, Turkey) in early Christian times, whose name was St. Nicholas. Probably even several, which later merged into a single saint in the lore. Saint Nicholas is one of the most important saints of the Catholic and especially the Orthodox Church; he is the patron saint of the Russians. Almost nothing is actually known of the historical Bishop Nicholas, except that he probably lived sometime between 270 and 365 and most likely died of a 6. December died.
santa claus once brought gold nuggets
Deleted mark DE 398430977
As befits a saint, Nicholas is credited with various miracles and good deeds. For example, he is said to have given three poor maidens a gold nugget each night, saving them from going astray (St. Santa Claus is u.a. also the patron saint of prostitutes). This is the origin of the Christian tradition that St. Nicholas brings the presents overnight.
On the eve of St. Nicholas Day, in joyful anticipation, we set up containers for the gifts. Once there were paper ships, because St. Nicholas is also the patron saint of sailors, since he is said to have saved three sailors from a storm. The Santa Claus ship was later replaced by shoes or stockings, which children put in front of the door or hang on the chimney. At night the saint then fills them with "apple, nut and almond seed" or other good gifts.
Word and figurative mark DE 611100
Originally, St. Nicholas was the day of the big gift-giving, not Christmas. In some countries this is still the case. In the age of the Reformation, however, this changed in many places: Martin Luther was suspicious of the veneration of saints; he moved Christ to center stage and the Bescherung to the Christmas Eve of his birth. Over time, this has evolved into the image of the Christ Child – a handsome boy with curly hair – who brings the presents.
But the gift-bringing Santa Claus celebrated in the 19. Century a comeback – mutated to Santa Claus. The song "Tomorrow comes Santa Claus", written in 1835 by Hoffmann von Fallersleben, made him particularly popular in this country. He is best known as the author of the "Song of the Germans". In the case of both songs, the original text is today regarded as problematic and only abbreviated or. is sung. Because the first verse
Tomorrow Santa Claus will come,
Comes with his gifts.
Drum, pipe and rifle,
Fahn and saber and more,
Yes a whole army of war,
Would like to have.
alienates with their martial wishes.
How "Santa Claus" came into being
Today we imagine Santa Claus as a rotund older gentleman with a red suit, white beard and pointed hat. This has little to do with the episcopal garb of St. Nicholas with staff and mitre. Where does the? In short, this is the American in Santa Claus. The custom of Santa Claus came in the person of the Dutch "Sinterklaas" to "New Amsterdam", so today’s New York. From "Sinterklaas" and "Saint Nicholas" the anglicized "Santa Claus" was born. In the Anglo-American area the Bescherung does not take place on Christmas Eve, but on the morning of Christmas Day, because Santa Claus brought the gifts at night.
Formative for the conception of his appearance became the anonymous American poem "’Twas the Night before Christmas" ("A Visit from St. Nicholas") from 1823, which today is mostly Clement C. attributed to Moore. Here, "St. Nick" is described as a "jolly old elf" with round cheeks and just such a belly ("He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf"), a red nose, long white beard and pipe. Also appears here for the first time his sleigh with eight named reindeer.
Santa Claus, drawing by Thomas Nast, 1881
"Santa’s" description in this enormously popular poem was translated into drawings by German-born cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840-1902), which first appeared in the 1862 Christmas issue of Harper’s Weekly magazine. In the following years, Nast, who is considered the father of political caricature in America, returned to the subject again and again. He created the Santa Claus/Santa Claus image that is predominant today.
It is often claimed that Santa Claus was actually the invention of a lemonade manufacturer. Indeed, the Coca-Cola Company’s advertising campaigns featuring the red-clad, chubby-cheeked "Santa" from 1931 onward did much to spread his image – smoothed out and standardized – around the world. The company holds the rights to a corresponding figurative trademark (EM002996502, applied for in 2003).
Figurative mark DE 302012007371
Since then, there has always been a hint of commerce around Santa Claus. Santa Claus/Nicolas has to serve for a plethora of brands in this country:
For example, one liquor manufacturer adopted "St. Nikolaus" secured as word mark (DE2913462; for Nice class 33, spirits). The company has also acquired the word and figurative mark "Fein&" In – The guarantee for this real st. Santa Claus" (DE886795) and holds the rights to a Santa Claus liquor emblem (word-picture mark DE611100).
A brewery has also secured "St. St. Nicholas" as a word mark for the corresponding Nice class (DE2010932), as well as "St. Nicholas". Nikolaus Brau" (DE422473).
To stay with beverages: There is also the trademark "St. Nikolaus Quelle Die Mineralwassermanufaktur" (DE3020110380074, see also u.a. EN3020161056843). And for tea, the trademark "Santa Claus" was registered in Germany (DE398403945).
Tomorrow, kids, there’s going to be something…
EM 02996502, figurative mark of the Coca-Cola Company
A coffee roaster presents itself as the "Official Partner of Santa Claus" by means of a corresponding word mark (DE306573474). "Santa Claus in town" has been secured as a word-picture trademark by a German supermarket chain (DE3020120073719).
A chocolate manufacturer has registered a word-picture trademark with its logo and the saying "We believe in Santa Claus" (DE3020170130635).
Even his facial hair is apparently interesting from a protection point of view: There is the word mark "Weihnachtsmann Bart" (DE3020172143203) – for cotton candy (Nice Class 30). However, the application for "Santa Claus" as a word mark was rejected in 2000 (AZ300236883/DE).
On the other hand, the word and figurative mark "Nikolaus von Myra" (DE3020161089318), registered by the Katholische Jugendfursorge der Diozese Augsburg (Catholic Youth Welfare of the Diocese of Augsburg), refers to the saint’s roots; furthermore, there is another figurative mark "St. Santa Claus", which it has pinned down for relevant Nice classes (41, 43, 45) (DE302016111131).
Where does Santa Claus live??
Finland is "Santa Claus Land (EM 001650142)
Outside from the forest he comes. He drives a reindeer sleigh and comes down the chimney, that much is known. But where does Santa Claus live? In the Anglo-American cultural circle it is generally known: Santa Claus lives at the North Pole (by the way, this also goes back to Nast). In Scandinavia one is divided opinion: Swedes locate its homeland in Dalarna, Danes in Greenland.
The Finns know exactly: Joulupukki, as they call him, lives in Lapland, in Rovaniemi to be precise. At least there are several trademark registrations claiming that: "The Official Hometown of Santa Claus" the city has registered as a word mark (EM008183535). In Rovaniemi there is also "The official airport of Santa Claus" (word-picture mark EM000272047), i.e. the official airport of Santa Claus. There is also a "Santapark" (DE3020160282106, EM012523999) and in it again a "Santa Claus Akatemia" (EM018002398).
Alternative facts: According to some Finnish children’s books, the Joulupukki lives in the mountain Korvatunturi.
Is Santa Claus a Finn?
EM 011443744 (excerpt)
The whole of Finland sees itself as "Santa Claus Land", as EM001650142 states (also EM015363617, 018064852 and 018131027). Here you can also find "Santa Claus’ Main Post Office Arctic Circle Finland" (a word-picture trademark of the Finnish Post Office, EM011443744).
And of course Santa also has his office in Finland: "Santa Claus Office Arctic Circle Finland" has been registered as a word-picture trademark by Lapland Safaris (EM017558529). Even for its reindeer, the Finns have secured a trademark, "Santa Claus reindeer" (EM017966227).
As a precautionary measure to distinguish itself from any other "official" Santas, there is also the word-picture trademark "The official Santa Claus of the Arctic Circle" (EM014557731).
Living in the kingdom of heaven
In competition with this, there is also a German trademark "Dorf vom Weihnachtsmann" (DE3020140221012), which, however, is not described in detail. Is it Himmelreich near Hannover? Himmelreich near the Hollental in the Black Forest? Himmelstadt near Wurzburg? Himmelpfort in Brandenburg, north of Berlin? Himmelpforten near Stade? If you write to Santa Claus at one of these addresses, you have a good chance of getting a reply thanks to the local Christmas post offices… Alternatively, you can write to the Christ Child: Christkindl post office, a district of Steyr in Austria.
Santa and the inventors
Whether Santa or St. Santa Claus – Santa Claus is also a source of inspiration for inventors: around the lucrative Christmas marketing, there is an abundance of new designs and developments every year. A few examples, across the years:
A "toy monorail" attached to the trunk makes Santa’s sleigh whiz halay around the Christmas tree ( DE4445708A1).
Not on rails, but on a rope Santa moves in US5743781 from 1996: "Ornamental toy capable of running up and down" provides for a Santa figure climbing up and down on a string of beads.
"Animated display device" from 1956 lets Santa, together with his sleigh and reindeer, become a high-wire artist: Gear-driven, the team whizzes along on a wide-stretched line ( US2787088A).
"Disappearing Santa in chimney" from 1960 is a clever decoration idea: Santa emerges from the chimney by means of a sliding mechanism and disappears back into it ( US3159935).
A patent application for a bell ringing Santa Claus was filed in 1950: "Electrically operated bell ringing decorative device" ( US2716745). Santa’s arm seems to pull on the bell rope in this chime.
US6210250B1 follows a similar idea: In this application from 1999, the bells are missing, but there is also music and a movable Santa Claus: "Musical ornament having concealable and movable figurine" – a small Christmas tree opens, Santa Claus appears and turns, seasonal music plays – actually a classical carillon, only the music comes from a tape.
Santa Claus Trap
A "Santa Claus Detector" patent application was filed in 1994: It is designed to report when Santa Claus comes climbing down the chimney. The stockings that the children have hung on the chimney in joyful anticipation then begin to glow ( US5523741A).
In addition, a kit to simulate a visit by Santa Claus at night was registered in 2005 ("Kit for simulating a visit by Santa Claus", US2006/0116049A1): The children find (in addition to presents) a handwritten greeting card, the hoofprint of a reindeer or Santa’s sleigh driver’s license.
Designer Santa Claus
In addition to the numerous technical devices for entertainment purposes, there is an abundance of seasonal decorative items, some of which have been registered as designs. For example, Santa Claus-shaped pasta (M9704954-0007), metal hangers (40206635-0003), tableware decorations (40302818-0001) or specially designed decorative figures (z.B. 40400821-0001, 40307853-0001).
A plethora of design patents have been filed in the U.S. over time: Santa in golf ball look ( US311045S), Santa asleep in bed ( US360165S), Santa in bathtub ( US372207S), or a soap blowing Santa ( US393017S), to name a few of very many.
Registered design 040082100101
There are covers for hollow chocolate figures in Santa look ( US3821423A) or hair ornaments with Santa face, where the hair braid then forms Santa’s beard; a nice optical gag ( US5097854A).
The bishop from Myra has undergone many a metamorphosis and experienced many things over the course of time. But: whether the st. St. Nicholas, Santa Claus, Santa, Joulupukki or yet the Christ Child brings the gifts- and whether that is on 6. or 24. The most important thing is to have a healthy, peaceful family celebration – especially in this second pandemic winter!
Text: Dr. Jan Bjorn Pottast; Images: DPMAregister, DEPATISnet, Thomas Nast / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons