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Santa's Wife – Mrs. Claus

Mrs. Santa

Introduction

Mrs. Claus is the wife of Santa Claus; however, she does not have a counterpart in mythology or folklore, but was the creation of American authors. In 1899, Katherine Lee Bates, author of “America the Beautiful”, created and introduced her in the poem “Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride”. Here is the first paragraph from the poem:
“Santa, must I tease in vain, dear? Let me go and hold the reindeer,
While you clamber down the chimneys. Don't look savage as a Turk!
Why should you have all the glory of the joyous Christmas story,
And poor little Goody Santa Claus have nothing but the work?”

Origin

  1. James Rees, a Philadelphia-based Christian missionary, first mentioned the wife of Santa Claus in the short story “A Christmas Legend” in the year 1849.
  2. In 1851, the student author mentioned Mrs. Claus by name in the pages of the Yale Literary Magazine. The lines from that magazine are:

“[I]n bounded that jolly, fat and funny old elf, Santa Claus. His array was indescribably fantastic. He seemed to have done his best; and we should think, had Mrs. Santa Claus to help him.”

  1. In 1854, an account of a Christmas musicale included an appearance of Mrs. Santa Claus, with baby in arms, who danced to a holiday song at State Lunatic Asylum in Utica, New York.
  2. In 1862, a passing reference to Mrs. Claus was made in an essay in Harper’s Magazine.
  3. In 1887, E. C. Gardner in his article “A Hickory Back-Log” in Good Housekeeping magazine gave the detailed description of Mrs. Claus dress.
  4. In 1889, poet Katherine Lee Bates gave the first most active appearance of Mrs. Claus in her poem “Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride”.

In Media

Mrs. Claus is sometime called as Mary Christmas or Mother Christmas. She has been depicted by media as a fairly heavy-set, kindly, white-haired elderly woman baking cookies somewhere in the background of the Santa mythos. She has appeared as the main character in children’s books about herself and as a secondary character in books about Santa Claus. Here are the names of few books –

  • Mrs. Santa Claus, Militant (one-act play) by Bell Elliott Palmer, 1914.
  • The Great Adventure of Mrs. Santa Claus by Sarah Addington and Gertrude A. Kay, 1923.
  • The Story of Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus and The Night Before Christmas by Alice and Lillian Desow Holland, 1946.
  • How Mrs. Santa Claus Saved Christmas by Phyllis McGinley, 1963.
  • Mrs. Santa Claus by Penny Ives, 1993.
  • A Bit of Applause for Mrs. Claus by Jeannie Schick-Jacobowitz, 2003.
  • The Story of Mrs. Santa Claus by Bethanie Tucker and Crystal McLaughlin, 2007.
  • What Does Mrs. Claus Do? by Kate Wharton and Christian Slade, 2008.
  • Mrs. Claus Takes A Vacation by Linas Alsenas, 2008.