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Kris Kringle

Who is Kris Kringle?

Santa Clause is sometimes referred to as Kriss Kringle, a name most likely derived from Christ Kindl (Christ-child). The German name of the Christ Child is Christkind, commonly used in its diminutive form Christkindel. The Dutch-German protestant reform movement brought in the idea that the Christchild should be the standard bearer for Christmas. Traditionally an image used for his messenger was a young child with a golden crown who holds a tiny "Tree of Light", and brings the gifts of the Christ Child.

The transformation from Christkindl to Kris Kringle did not take many generations, especially with intermarriage between the Pennsylvania Dutch and the English settlers in the America. So despite the intentions of the Protestant reform movement, the original meaning of the word faded. Once thought to be the Christchild's chief helper, the image of Kris Kringle has over time reverted to an image of Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus).

The name Kris Kringle is still strangely popular as the Santa Claus of some Pennsylvania Dutch web Pages today. He carries a tiny Christmas tree and enters the house through a window left open. When he has left the presents, he rings a bell allowinq the household to know of his departure. Thus "Kris Kringle" a name deriving from the German Christ Kindel is another name for Santa Clause.

The use of the name was magnified and publicised by the American movie, "Miracle on 34th Street", a story of a man named Kris Kringle who gets a job playing Santa Claus at Macy's department store in New York City and again in the 1970 animated film "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" of a legend where the orphaned baby, Kris, adopted by the "Kringle" toymaker family, grows up to distribute toys to the underprivleged.

So, whilst "Santa Clause" is more popular and recognisable the world over, to some people Kriss Kringle or Kris Kringle (an anglacised version of the german words for Christ Child) has become used as another synonym for Santa Clause


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