From a 4th-century Anatolian bishop to a jolly elf in a fur-trimmed suit, the personage known as Santa Claus has evolved over time, an amalgam of folk and religious traditions from pre-modern pagan influences to veneration of saints, cemented into popular culture in the early part of the 20th century by Clement Clarke Moore, Thomas Nast, and Madison Avenue.
Although typically portrayed as joyous and kindly, might there be a darker side to Old St. Nick? After all, we are talking about a supernatural sprite that scries your every thought all year, before sneaking into your home in the dark of night to met out rewards and punishments. Kind of gives a shivery new meaning to “secret Santa,” kittens. Whether Kris Kringle is saintly or sinister may remain to be seen, darlings, but these thirty-one creepy vintage Santas will have visions far less pleasant than sugar plums dancing in your head tonight!