The Changing Face Of Santa Claus (12 pictures)

Father Christmas, Santa Claus, St. Nicholas. Whatever you call him, the chimney traveler has inspired myriad renderings, names and associations for centuries. Is he a historical figure, a saint with a penchant for secret gift-giving, or a rosy-cheeked, chubby, and perpetually jolly man packaged and sold by marketing execs to eager children worldwide?

Though Claus’ core spirit of generosity remains unchanged, the appearance of the iconic, non-denominational symbol for the Christmas holiday has shifted greatly over the centuries. Here’s a handful of examples.

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