A quick search of the Internet reveals that Santa Claus in his present form has only really been popular for the last 100years. I know that some will object and point the 4th century Bishop Saint Nicholas of Myra
"who was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes."I know also that there are many other countries where the Santa tradition has had its various forms for more than 100years. I also appreciate that there are many who try to rescue the current day Santa by pointing back to these traditions, but my observation is that the Santa narrative in its current and persuasive form has not been around that long.
Just how persuasive is evident in research that was conducted in the United Kingdom.
"The story of Jesus appears to have been rejected by kids in favour of Santa, with only 8% of children now associating Christmas with religion.
A survey by media buying agency MediaCom TMB asked 1,200 eight-to-16-year-olds to nominate one or more of five options as the thing they most associated with Christmas. Presents topped the poll, followed by family and school holidays. Religion (8%) only just beat TV, which racked up 7% of the vote."
to be continued... (if you know of better Australian research please let me know)