Mrs. Claus: From Dutiful Wife to Spunky Modern Sidekick

Although our modern Santa Claus had a long evolution from the 3rd century bishop, Saint Nicolas, to the secular, jolly old elf of the 21st century, Mrs. Santa Claus seems to have sprung to life unexpectedly. Not based on myth or tradition, she simply appears at Santa’s side in popular writings by American authors in the mid-1800s.

The first mention of a Mrs. Santa Claus occurs in the writings of James Rees in 1849. Although his story features a couple disguised as an old man and his wife delivering wonderful gifts on Christmas Eve, the story ends with the characters not being Mr. and Mrs. Claus after all. But the idea is planted and soon begins to grow.

Over the next few decades Mrs. Claus is presented in stories as the supportive wife, handling the list of who’s been naughty or nice, or keeping Santa and his elves well fed. It wasn’t until 1889 that Mrs. Claus takes on a bit of personality of her own in the poem “Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride.” The endearing Mrs. Claus convinces Santa to take her with him on Christmas Eve. She tends the reindeer, but sadly, doesn’t get to deliver any toys! Always the helper, she mends a stocking for a poor little boy so Santa can fill it with presents.

For years, she continued to be portrayed as merely a background character, there to support Santa Claus in his exhaustive work. Mrs. Claus is often shown as a rotund, gray-haired, kindly woman, willing to selflessly help Santa and his elves in their workshop at the North Pole, feeding them her delicious meals, and making sure they are safely prepared for their long journey. Although this is the most common portrayal of Mrs. Claus, more recent stories and movies have featured Mrs. Claus in a variety of roles, showing her to be a resourceful and energetic woman who could almost handle Christmas Eve on her own!

Children’s books and television daringly featured Mrs. Santa as the main character. Books focusing on Mrs. Santa have been written since 1914, and television has had a great time with Mrs. Santa. She’s been everything from a vampire to the spunky main character of the 1996 Hallmark special, Mrs. Santa Claus.

Bringing Mrs. Santa Claus to Life!

Today, Mrs. Claus has a wide choice of stylish or traditional outfits to wear on Christmas Eve. Whether you are seeking a classic, warm-hearted Mrs. Claus costume, looking like she just stepped out of the North Pole kitchen, or a modern Ms. Claus who is ready to knock old Santa’s socks off when he returns from his journey, there is a costume available for every taste. She can be naughty or nice!

From the grandmotherly companion making sure that Santa wears his winter scarf to the vixen who first made Santa fall in love, Frankel’s Costume has the perfect Mrs. Santa Claus costume for your spectacular Christmas Eve. Bring Mrs. Claus to life!  Have her deliver the presents at the office party or your club’s Christmas celebration. Thrill the children early on Christmas Eve with a classic Mrs. Claus outfit, then delight Mr. Claus later by slipping into one of our sensational Mrs. Claus outfits, unheard of fashions when she first met Santa in the 1800s!

Be sure to check out our full line of Mrs. Santa Claus costumes. Dressed in the daring Sleigh Belle costume, you’ll be the star of the office party or the temptation that keeps Mr. Claus at home for the evening. In the  Mrs. Claus costume, you’ll look like you just arrived from the North Pole with a tray of cookies hot from the oven. Christmas Gift has you ready to be unwrapped for a delightful Christmas Eve surprise!


Ho, Ho, Ho!

The familiar  figure of a jolly Santa Claus is everywhere during Christmas time: on Christmas cards, ubiquitously used in advertising, in film, and live in shopping malls and town squares. Who exactly is this character we all know and love, and where did he originate?

The jolly old elf we all recognize as the delightful deliverer of Christmas gifts to good, and sometimes naughty, children has a long history covering three continents and stretching all the way back to 280 AD. Today’s version of Santa Claus, dressed in warm red clothing trimmed with white fur, a long white beard, rotund and laughing, would be a strange vision to people several centuries ago, and we would certainly not recognize the ancient version that eventually evolved into today’s Santa Claus!

The historic roots of the Santa Claus myth stretch back to the 3rd and 4th century Turkey and the monk St. Nicholas. Born in 280 AD near what is now Myra, Turkey, St Nicholas is believed to have given away his vast inheritance, traveling the countryside giving assistance to the poor and sick. Although little factual information is known about his life, he did became a bishop at a young age and must have been a kind and generous man, as so many mythical stories tell of his enormous good deeds.

Over the centuries, he grew in popularity and was revered as a protector of children. By Renaissance times, he was one of the most popular saints in all of Europe, especially in Holland where his feast day on December 6th was joyously celebrated.

From Holland to their new home in the United States, Dutch settlers brought the tradition of Sinter Klaas, the Dutch form of Saint Nicholas’ name. By the late 1700s and early 1800s, he was a familiar character in New York where the Dutch settled. Sinter Klaas quickly evolved into the Americanized name Santa Claus and was portrayed as a rather stout Dutch sailor with a fur trimmed green coat and pipe. This imagery is quite a transformation from a thin, yet generous bishop from ancient times!

Washington Irving was one of the first to connect Santa Claus with Christmas. His descriptions were the inspiration for many writers and illustrators in the 1800s who pushed the image of Santa Claus much closer to the well-known, modern vision of a jolly, fat character, all dressed in red, delivering presents to children on Christmas Eve by slipping down the chimney.

By the early 1800s, stores began promoting Christmas shopping, and by the 1840s, newspapers joined in the holiday shopping spree with separate sections for advertisements. The first Santa appeared in a store in 1841, but just a model of him! It didn’t take long before stores featured a live Santa Claus to lure children and families to their holiday promotions.

Although ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas was published in 1822, giving rise to the “jolly old elf” description of Santa, it wasn’t until 1881, when the political cartoonist Thomas Nast created a cartoon for Harper’s Weekly, that the modern version of Santa Claus was solidified. Complete with a sack of toys, dressed in bright red clothing trimmed with white fur, Nast’s version of Santa Claus stuck in the popular mind and has endured for 130 years.

The vision of Santa Claus, joyously sipping a Coke on Christmas Eve, has been an enduring icon of Christmas time since the early 1930s when the ads first appeared. The artist Fred Mizen premiered the first Coca Cola ad in the Saturday Evening Post. Haddon Sundblom took over as artist in 1931 with a much more enjoyable version of Santa, and continued to create the ads until 1964. Each successive year, a new portrait of Santa appeared during the holiday season, always a happy fellow with rosary cheeks, dressed in his fur trimmed red suit in the tradition of the Sundblom ads. If Santa could advertise Coke, he could also advertise everything from cars to razor blades!

The tradition of Santa Claus films reaches all the way back to the 1890s and continues to this day. Santa has been portrayed as a hero, an imposter, and a mischievous elf. Every Christmas, families gather to watch their favorite movies starring Santa Claus.

What would Christmas be without published letters to Santa in the local paper, Christmas Eve anchormen and women tracking his trek across the globe, and the Post Office who delivers the millions of hopeful letters? You’ll have plenty of luck finding your Santa here at our store. Don’t forget Rudolph, we have him too!