Christmas Past

The fascinating stories behind your favorite Christmas traditions

Backstory — A Visit From Saint Nicholas

a visit from saint nicholas

A Visit from Saint Nicholas wasn’t the first published poem to describe Santa Claus arriving on a sleigh to deliver toys on Christmas Eve. But it is the best known poem to do it. In fact, it’s one of the best known poems in the English language. But the story behind A Visit from Saint Nicholas, is in its own way, almost as elusive as catching a glimpse of Santa Claus himself on Christmas Eve. It’s a story of somewhat mysterious origins, disputed authorship, combining of legends, and the making of modern Christmas.

Thank you to Debra Schmidt Bach from the New-York Historical Society for appearing in this episode.

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