The Forest Park Branch Library’s collection of International Santa Claus figurines is on display for the holidays, and with a new look. Previously, we displayed the figurines in a North Pole diorama. Now, the figurines – each representing a Santa or gift givers of countries or cultures around the world – stand proudly by the flag of his country. The Santas represent countries in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.
Joining the collection for this year are Sinter Klaas and his assistant Black Peter, both of the Netherlands. Sinter Klaas is closely associated with the legend of Saint Nicholas; Santa Claus of the United States is derived from him. Sinter Klaas delivers gifts on December 6 in Holland, sailing in by boat from Spain and making his rounds riding a white horse. At the homes of good children, Sinter Klaas orders Black Peter to drop gifts down the chimney; for bad kids, Peter delivers bundles of twigs. Children fill their wooden shoes with hay or carrots for Sinter Klaas’ horse; in exchange, candy and small toys are left in the shoes. The Sinter Klaas and Black Peter figurines are on loan from a staff member’s personal collection.
The collection will be on display through the month of December.
The web has a wealth of Santa Claus history and information. Enter the terms “Santa Claus” and “history” in your favorite search engine.
Photos of our new display are also in the CCLS photostream (but it’s best to see the display in person!)
See photos of our former display in the CCLS photostream; then visit the CultureGrams database, accessible through the CCLS website, to read about the different countries of origin (library card required)
On Christmas Eve, track Santa’s progress around the world on NORAD Santa Tracker.