“Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus,” my son sings from the back seat, “right down Santa Claus Lane…”
It’s a week before Christmas, and we’re heading over to my in-laws to celebrate Christmas with them, and my six-year-old son is so excited he’s about to burst. Oh, and we also just saw Star Wars: Rogue One the night before, so he’s also on a Stat Wars bender. Honestly, listening to him sing half the lyrics off-key had been a nice change of pace.
“Right down Santa Claus… dad? Dad? Daddy?”
“Yes?” I ask.
“What does Claus mean?”
Yeah. You know where this is going.
This one actually turned out to be shockingly simple. I checked a couple of sites – Behind the Name and BabyNamesPedia and AllBabyNames – and all of them agreed. “Claus”, pronounced KLAWS, is simply a shortened form of the name Nicholas. “Claus” has no specific meaning in and of itself, but the name “Nicholas” is a Greek name meaning “victor of the people”. Interestingly enough, other shortened forms of Nicholas include Nick (“jolly old Saint Nick”) and Colin.
No, I have no idea how you get “Colin” out of “Nicholas”. But imagine how things would have changed if calling him “Santa Colin” had caught on. At bare minimum, the Beach Boys would have had to rewrite their Christmas song, because “The Little Saint Colin” would not have scanned.
Merry Christmas, everyone!