Santa Claus and Jesus

An excerpt for the someday maybe to finally get published my The Soviet Union and Lincoln County USA:

I think Santa Claus is an ancient custom adopted by Christians mainly because it was embedded in the culture. Maybe it was embedded to make it easier to manage children’s behavior. Somewhere in the distant past it was probably sub-consciously recognized as a way to make sure children would someday believe in someone they can’t see who knows everything they do and rewards the good and punishes the bad. As adults it is an easy transition to a god that does the same thing. About three hundred years after the birth of Jesus, it was clever of the Pope to piggyback Jesus’ birthday on Santa Claus and ancient religions’ celebrations of sacred season changes.

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (, and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation ( I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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