Did you know that the history of Santa Claus dates back to 1773? The name Santa Claus evolved from the Dutch nickname “Sinter Klaas,” which was a shortened form of Sint Nikolaas. Dutch families in New York used to gather in honor of the anniversary of St. Nicholas’ death on December 6th, and referred to him as “the protector of children and sailors.”

Washington Irving, the famous author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, helped popularize the Sinter Klaas stories when he referred to St. Nicholas as the patron saint of New York. As a result, American families started to center the holiday around children and gift giving. So, in the early 19th century, stores began to advertise Christmas shopping and newspapers were creating separate sections for holiday advertisements which often featured images of the newly-popular Santa Claus.

In the early 1890’s, the Salvation Army needed money to pay for the Christmas meals they provided to needy families, so they began dressing men up in Santa Claus suits and sending them into the streets of New York to collect donations. To this day, the familiar Salvation Army Santas are ringing bells on the street corners of America, spreading joy and collecting donations for the needy.

Present-day Santa Claus is known for his bright red coat, full white beard, and a sack full of toys for children. This image was first started in 1822 by an Episcopal minister, Clement Clarke Moore, who wrote a Christmas poem for his three daughters named An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas. This poem unknowingly created a new and immediately popular American icon. In 1881, cartoonist Thomas Nast drew inspiration from Moore’s poem to create the first “Santa Claus” image, which depicted Santa as a cheerful man with a white beard, holding a sack full of toys for children. He also gave Santa his bright red suit with white fur, his workshop at the North Pole, and his wife, Mrs. Claus.

Santa Claus has since been used in ads for just about anything. The most popular and well known company that uses Santa Claus to advertise is Coca-Cola. Coke ads have been featuring Santa since the 1920’s, and these ads helped shape the image of present-day Santa. In 1931, Coca-Cola began placing ads in popular magazines, and wanted to show a wholesome Santa who was both realistic and symbolic. From 1931 to 1964, Coca-Cola advertising showed Santa delivering toys, pausing to read a letter and enjoy a Coke, visiting with the children who stayed up to greet him, and enjoying the treats left for him by the children.

Throughout history, the physical image of Santa Claus has changed drastically, from being described in the book The History of New York by Washington Irving as a “rascal” with a blue three-cornered hat and yellow stockings, to a man wearing a broad-brimmed hat and a “huge pair of Flemish trunk hose.”

The modern-day Santa is known for his jolly presence, red suit, and eight reindeer who fly him all over the world to deliver presents to children. The most popular reindeer of the eight is known as “Rudolph,” and was created by Robert L. May, who created a Christmas themed story to help bring traffic into his department store. The sales trick worked; Americans loved the underdog story of Rudolph being bullied by his fellow reindeer because of his glowing red nose, and then showing how Santa needed his glowing red nose to see when the weather was foggy. Still today, Americans love rooting for Rudolph the underdog reindeer and taking their kids to get their picture with a jolly Santa Claus at their local mall.

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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Republished with permission from MercuryOne.org.

On the radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck sat down with chief researcher Jason Buttrill to go over two bombshell developments that have recently come to light regarding former Vice President Joe Biden's role in the 2016 dismissal of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

"Wow! Two huge stories dropped within about 24 hours of each other," Jason began. He went on to explain that a court ruling in Ukraine has just prompted an "actual criminal investigation against Joe Biden in Ukraine."

This stunning development coincided with the release of leaked phone conversations, which took place in late 2015 and early 2016, allegedly among then-Vice President Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Ukraine's former President Petro Poroshenko.

One of the audiotapes seems to confirm allegations of a quid pro quo between Biden and Poroshenko, with the later admitting that he asked Shokin to resign despite having no evidence of him "doing anything wrong" in exchange for a $1 billion loan guarantee.

"Poroshenko said, 'despite the fact that we didn't have any corruption charges on [Shokin], and we don't have any information about him doing something wrong, I asked him to resign,'" Jason explained. "But none of the Western media is pointing this out."

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A recently declassified email, written by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and sent herself on the day of President Donald Trump's inauguration, reveals the players involved in the origins of the Trump-Russia probe and "unmasking" of then-incoming National Security Adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn.

Rice's email details a meeting in the Oval Office on Jan 5, 2017, which included herself, former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former President Barack Obama. Acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, fully declassified the email recently amid President Trump's repeated references to "Obamagate" and claims that Obama "used his last weeks in office to target incoming officials and sabotage the new administration."

On Glenn Beck's Wednesday night special, Glenn broke down the details of Rice's email and discussed what they reveal about the Obama administration officials involved in the Russia investigation's origins.

Watch the video clip below:

Fellow BlazeTV host, Mark Levin, joined Glenn Beck on his exclusive Friday episode of "GlennTV" to discuss why the declassified list of Obama administration officials who were aware of the details of Gen. Michael Flynn's wiretapped phone calls are so significant.

Glenn argued that Obama built a covert bureaucracy to "transform America" for a long time to come, and Gen. Flynn was targeted because he happened to know "where the bodies were buried", making him a threat to Obama's "secret legacy."

Levin agreed, noting the "shocking extent of the police state tactics" by the Obama administration. He recalled several scandalous happenings during Obama's "scandal free presidency," which nobody seems to remember.

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Colleges and universities should be home to a lively and open debate about questions both current and timeless, independent from a political bias or rules that stifle speech. Unfortunately for students, speaking out about personal beliefs or challenging political dogma can be a dangerous undertaking. I experienced this firsthand as an undergraduate, and I'm fighting that trend now as an adjunct professor.

In 2013, Glenn Beck was one of the most listened to radio personalities in the world. For a college senior with hopes of working on policy and media, a job working for Glenn was a ticket to big things. I needed a foot in the door and hoped to tap into the alumni network at the small liberal arts school where I was an undergrad. When I met with a career services specialist in early March 2013 about possible alumni connections to Glenn Beck, she disdainfully told me: "Why would you want to work for someone like him?" That was the beginning and end of our conversation.

I was floored by her response, and sent an email to the school complaining that her behavior was inappropriate. Her personal opinions, political or otherwise, I argued, shouldn't play a role in the decision to help students.

That isn't the kind of response a student should hear when seeking guidance and help in kick starting their career. Regardless of the position, a career specialist or professors' opinion or belief shouldn't be a factor in whether the student deserves access to the alumni network and schools' resources.

Now, seven years later, I work full time for a law firm and part time as an adjunct teaching business to undergraduate students. The culture at colleges and universities seems to have gotten even worse, unfortunately, since I was an undergrad.

College is a time to explore, dream big and challenge assumptions.

I never want to see a student told they shouldn't pursue their goals, regardless of their personal or political beliefs. College is a time to explore, dream big and challenge assumptions. I never got access to the alumni network or schools' resources from the career services office.

Lucky for students in 2020, there are several legal organizations that help students protect their rights when an issue goes beyond what can be handled by an undergraduate facing tremendous pressure from a powerful academic institution. Organizations like Speech First and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), for instance, are resources I wish I knew about at the time.

When I experienced mistreatment from my college, I spoke up and challenged the behavior by emailing the administration and explaining what happened. I received a letter from the career services specialist apologizing for the "unprofessional comment."

What she described in that apology as a "momentary lapse of good judgement" was anything but momentary. It was indicative of the larger battle for ideas that has been happening on college campuses across the country. In the past seven years, the pressure, mistreatment and oppression of free expression have only increased. Even right now, some are raising concerns that campus administrations are using the COVID-19 pandemic to limit free speech even further. Social distancing guidelines and crowd size may both be used to limit or refuse controversial speakers.

Students often feel pressure to conform to a college or university's wishes. If they don't, they could be expelled, fail a class or experience other retribution. The college holds all the cards. On most campuses, the burden of proof for guilt in student conduct hearings is "more likely than not," making it very difficult for students to stand up for their rights without legal help.

As an adjunct professor, every student who comes to me for help in finding purpose gets my full support and my active help — even if the students' goals run counter to mine. But I have learned something crucial in my time in this role: It's not the job of an educator to dictate a student's purpose in life. I'm meant to help them achieve their dreams, no matter what.

Conner Drigotas is the Director of Communications and Development at a national law firm and is a Young Voices contributor.