The history of Santa Claus entering homes through the fireplace is an idea spanning back several hundred years to the ancient Nordic (of Norway) people. The legend states that Odin (King of the Gods) would enter your home through the “fire hole” in your roof as a symbol that the first day of winter had arrived. This started the yearly celebration of Yule, a ritual lasting from the Winter Solstice to January 12th. During this time, a “Yule Log”, which was usually an entire tree, would be burned as a symbol of light, warmth, and the promise of warmer weather in the spring.
The ancient Italians had a similar story of an old woman, named Befana, who would visit the homes of good children on Epiphany Eve (January 5th) and grant them gifts for their good behavior. She is traditionally depicted as being covered in soot from all the chimneys she’s traveled down.
The idea of Santa entering your home via the chimney came to America with European settlers in the early 1800’s. Back then winters were frigid and it wasn’t considered prudent to leave a door or window open for St. Nick so the idea was that your chimney was always “open”.
Happy Holidays from Hearth Craft!