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The Origins of Santa Claus

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Program Description

Santa Claus, the iconic fictional character, has become a household name across the globe. He was the first imaginary character to influence human buying decisions, paving the way for other famous figures like Ronald McDonald, Aunt Jemima, and the A&W Root Bear. Santa Claus can trace his origins back to St. Nicholas, one of the most revered male saints of the Middle Ages. This presentation will delve into the fascinating history of these two gift-bringers and explore how they have evolved over time. SCHEDULE: Thursday, December 7, 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM LOCATION: Online ABOUT THE PRESENTER: Dr. Gerry Bowler is a Canadian historian, specializing in the intersection of religion and popular culture. He is the author of numerous books including The World Encyclopedia of Christmas, Santa Claus: A Biography and Christmas in the Crosshairs. Gerry grew up in Saskatoon and earned his first two academic degrees from the University of Saskatchewan. He received his Ph.D. in History from King’s College London with a dissertation on Protestant political theory of the Tudor period. While continuing to teach Medieval and Early-Modern European history at the university level, he switched his area of research to the intersection of religion and popular culture, publishing works on The Simpsons, the relationship between Aristotle and professional wrestling, Wayne Gretzky, and Bloody Mary, but eventually focusing his main efforts on the history of Christmas.

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