Just to weigh in on this craziness floating around the internet. I think Santa is a nice fantasy for kids. Just like the easter bunny and the tooth fairy. Should a child ask the direct question is Santa Claus real? The answer should be that he is a fantasy character based on real people that lived long ago. He does not exist as a real person at the north pole. Elves are NOT real. In FACT,living at either of the two poles on this planet is one of the hardest things a human can do. Should the child prod further feel free to explain the origins of this fantasy character by telling them about St. Nicholas.
No damn it, Santa did NOT start out as a white guy.
Santa Claus is a Dutch corruption of Saint Nikolaos, a fourth-century saint from the Mediterranean coast of Anatolia in what is now Turkey. He was also known as Nikolaos Thaumaturge, the master magician.
Eastern Orthodox icons of St. Nicholas (the Latin form of the name) often depict him as dark-skinned, to show his Mediterranean origins.
As David Roediger argues, the American term “white” was deployed by middle and upper class Protestants of northern European origin to demarcate themselves not only from African-Americans but from working class Catholics such as the Irish.
Finally, as we all know the myth of a man (jesus anyone?) often gets twisted and changed as time goes by with more and more fantasy and inaccuracies heaped upon legend. The modern looks and behaviors of the fantasy character Santa stem from first the dutch and their adoration of Nikolaos Thaumaturge and then multiple artists and their own imaginations. (John Pintard, Washington Irving, Clement Clarke Moore, J. C. Leyendecker, Haddon Sundblom, and Norman Rockwell. )
The bottom line is Santa means different things to different people so it is only natural that this fantastic symbol of how a story can be corrupted and changed over time continue to evolve allowing people to use their own imaginations and see him in their own image. After all we did create him. Seems that is a common theme in creation myths that the created are made in the image of their creator. Funny how that works.