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Christmas Trivia

Screenshot from 2012-12-25 17:36:17

Google’s Santa Tracker 2012

Santa Claus is possibly more popular among kids than the Lord on his own birthday. When and how did the American version of Santa Claus originate?

The American version of Santa Claus comes from the Dutch legend of Sinterklass. Sinterklass is the dutch version of St. Nicholas, who has the reputation of secretly giving gifts back in the 4th century AD.

The Dutch immigrants brought the concept of Sinterklass to New Amsterdam (modern day New York) in the 17th century. Sinterklass, in his modern version of Santa Claus, initially appeared in the press as “St. A Claus”. In 1809 Washington Irving, possibly one of most famous New Yorker ever, wrote a book titled the “History of New York” under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker. You can read that book online: Knickerbocker’s History of New York, Complete by Washington Irving. In this book Washington Irving described Santa Claus and concocted the legend that he came on a horseback (and not on a sleigh!) each year on the eve of St. Nicholas.

In 1823, Clement Clarke Moore in a poem titled: “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, illustrated Washington Irving’s Santa Claus with additional details that included Santa’s reindeers and his winks and nods. This poem is popularly know as “The Night before Christmas”. Interestingly though Santa himself was an elf as far as this poem goes.

Between 1860 and 1880, Thomas Nast, expanded on these original ideas of Santa Claus and converted him into a fat round character with reindeers, who went every Christmas night giving gifts around the world. His illustration of Santa Claus was published in Harper’s Weekly. A human size and form of Santa Claus as we know of it today, was popularized by Coca Cola in an advertisement in 1931. This advertisement illustration was created by Haddon Sundblom.

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More Stories By Shashank Tiwari

I am a technology entrepreneur, innovator, author and, as some say, a “thought leader”. I like to solve challenging computing problems, especially those that drive innovation. Being a polyglot programmer, I can program fluently in many languages, including Java, Python, C++, C, Ruby, ActionScript, JavaScript, Objective-C, Haskell, Scala, Clojure, PHP, Groovy, Lisp and Perl. I must admit that I like to learn programming languages and if there is a new interesting one coming, I wouldn’t be far behind getting to grips with it. Over the last many years I have built some cutting edge enterprise and consumer software applications, many of which have leveraged large data sets and the web based programming paradigms. This means I also know a lot about data bases and persistence. I am very conversant with relational databases, embedded databases, object databases, text based data and XML. Having leveraged web based programming paradigms, I have first hand experience with a lot of web development frameworks, including but not limited to Adobe Flex, Spring MVC, Rails, Grails and Django. Not to forget, I obviously have worked a lot with HTML, JS and CSS. My experience and interest are varied and diverse and range a wide spectrum of application development realms that include the server, the client and the middleware. Besides, programming, I am also deeply interested in mathematics and theoretical computer science. This motivates me to bring my knowledge of applied mathematics, statistical modeling, artificial intelligence and sometimes simply data structures, to good use, when I build applications. A couple of domains like financial mathematics and scientific computing seem to have been good fit for such expertise. I am an ardent supporter of open source software and try and contribute to open source code bases and causes. I like the plurality and variety that software development offers; the choice of programming languages, the abundant availability of tools and libraries, the existence of multiple operating systems and the possibility of varied software development methodologies. As a member of the technology community, I am an active contributor to the ever evolving software development languages, methodologies and standards. I am an expert group member on a number of JCP (Java Community Process) specifications, for example JSRs 274, 283, 299, 301 & 312, and have been recognized as an Adobe Flex Champion.I run and organize a few community events like Flex Camp Wall Street, Show Ramp and Polyglot World. I bring together all my expertise in terms of services and products via my primary venture, Treasury of Ideas LLC, in which I play the role of a Managing Partner. Treasury of Ideas LLC, through its focus on innovation and value optimization, offers many best of the breed services and products and has incubated many ideas to help translate them to reality. Our clients range from large enterprises, government agencies, not-for-profit organizations to promising new startups. I write regularly in many technical journals and magazines, present in seminars and mentor developers and architects. I have authored a few books, including Advanced Flex 3 (friends of Ed/APress, 2008) and Professional BlazeDS (Wrox/Wiley, 2009) , and am in the process of authoring a few more. You can learn all about my books and public talks by browsing through the Publish & Present page at

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