This came up as a joke in conversation with another self-described pagan. The person joked that ‘hey, maybe Santa is really Fae since he likes milk and cookies and the fae like milk or cream and biscuits / cookies too!’
I was a little dumbfounded but also excited.
YES. YES – santa clause IS Fae. He is an Elf which is of the fae.
Now, this is a classic moment where I thought that this was common knowledge.
Santa Clause (Yule Father), or the lore surrounding, has been retold in the perspective of abrahamic religions. But the reality is that ‘Santa’ is an Elf, which is a member of the Fae community.
He also goes by other names around the world – Yule Father and Old Man Winter are a few names. In norse Odinist (per conversations I’ve had with others), the 8 original reindeer are for Odin’s 8 legged horse, Sleipnir.
Here we can break it down:
You leave an offering of milk and cookies so that he will visit your house. (an offering to the fae).
He is surrounded by elves in his workshop – because he himself is an elf.
We bring evergreens into the house because the fae are most comfortable in the trees and the house is warm for them, we offer them a place to stay safe and warm. And they give gifts during the winter solstice, as we are also giving gifts to our other family members. It’s less about good / bad and more about inviting the fae in and being thankful for keeping them warm in the winter. But that gets into a WHOLE lot more about living in synchronicity with the fae in general.
If you don’t have the fae living in your house, you might bring in evergreens for a short time (the coldest month of the year) and as the earth starts to warm (solstice) they leave a gift in thanks and start to head out (we leave our tree up for them until January, that’s how we do)
But even still, you can invite the fae for the coldest night of the year and it still makes sense.
The community is invisible, hidden to non believers – just as with all fae. But also, they exist in the fae realm.
He is large and then he is small. He can fly to the roof and then come into the house through the tiny chimney. (The fae can change size at will. They can be large, they can be tiny as a fly)
He will give good children gifts – and naughty children, or children that see him, coal. (pranksters, the fae are so like this. They are judgy and they will not give you a gift ‘just because’. They will eat your cookies and then leave you nothing if you’re a jerk)
He has enchanted reindeer that can fly. (the fae are pranksters and will make things float / fly etc)
He can visit your home even if you don’t have a chimney… because of magic. (magic being the explanation of EVERYONE). In reality, the fae can get very tiny and will always find a way into a house because the fae are stubborn and clever and if they want in, they are getting in.
Many people will place a small fae door in their house for the fae. Often, this is the door that all fae (including santa) would use to get into a house without a chimney. The door doesn’t have to WORK… because the fae will make the door working using MAGIC aka it’s a portal of sorts.
This is a discussion that I would love to continue. I know it’s not exactly the season at the moment but I know this discussion will come up again in the future.
Even though our family followed the winter solstice, we still incorporated Santa sometimes – which is great for kids! But if you go through the effort of stripping out the religions that would retell this story, if you go back to basics, your kids can still enjoy the holiday season and Santa.
Santa is an elf. We leave an offering. He might bring us gifts if we were good. Or they might play a trick on us! It’s a great way to teach the kids about the fae.
And it’s a GREAT example of how I thought this was the common understanding of Santa clause and apparently it’s not so common. This is how I grew up, thinking this was normal. I’m actually a bit confused how people from abrahamic religions make this work and explain this to their own kids, but make it about their religion somehow. But what is important is this is a way to bring the magic into the world for your kids, in a way that won’t be suspicious to outsiders.
If I have forgotten anything, do post below!