Here’s a trivia question for the festive season: What is the an initial name of Santa Claus’ wife?
Trick question. Not only does Mrs. Claus have no definitive an initial name, her identity is therefore tied up in that of her husband the she is finest known for elf-wrangling, cookie baking, and assisting with toy assembly. Since she very first emerged in the mid-19th century, Mrs. Claus has actually been a second character life in the shadow of she famous, workaholic husband. Yet along the way there have been glimmers of that she is together an live independence person–and even a couple of suggestions for what she name can be.
One the the an initial hints of granny Claus’ presence came in the 1878 children’s book Lill’s travel in Santa Claus Land and also Other Stories. In it, Lill, a young girl, goes because that a stroll beyond the family members orchard, meet a wall that extends right into the sky, and follows it come Santa Claus Land, wherein she encounters ”a lady sitting by a golden desk, composing in a huge book.”
This unnamed woman, who Lill’s sister, Effie, speculates is “Mrs. Santa Claus,” is basically Santa’s secretary. Lill watches together the big guy in red spies on kids through a telescope, climate dictates his naughty-or-nice observations for the apparent Mrs. Claus to transcribe. An accompanying illustration mirrors the scene:
After lurking in the elevator of Santa-focused tales for a couple of decades, Mrs. Claus ultimately got a starring duty in “Goody Santa Claus top top a Sleigh Ride,” an 1889 city by Katherine Lee Bates. The poem is told native the perspective of Mrs. Claus herself, who is given a name of sorts: Goody, i m sorry is quick for Goodwife, a polite form of address once provided in place of “Mrs.”
Goody has actually a few bones to pick with her jolly old husband. Bates depicts her together a dutiful wife vulnerable to questioning the odd passive-aggressive question. “Santa, wouldn’t it be satisfied to surprised me through a present?” she asks, having laid out the fact that Santa it s okay “all the glory that the joyous Christmas story” while “poor tiny Goody Santa Claus” it s okay “nothing yet the work.” two stanzas later, the resentment gets more intense:
You just sit here and grow chubby off the goodies in mine cubbyFrom December to December, till her white beard sweeps her knees;For you must allow, my Goodman, the you’re yet a lazy woodmanAnd depend on me to foster all our fruitful Christmas trees.
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Eventually, Goody convinces Santa to let her come top top his Christmas Eve current delivery run, during which she fulfills she dream of diminish a chimney to repair the hole-filled socks the a poverty-stricken child. Live the up, Goody.
In the 20th century, story focusing on mrs Claus tended come tell the same basic story: Santa’s wife takes his sleigh ~ above Christmas Eve, one of two people sneakily while the is asleep, or by necessity because of him gift incapacitated by disease or injury. She costume in his clothes, stuffs she shirt with pillows, and makes the worldwide round the deliveries, frequently screwing things up follow me the means by mixing up the presents—but in an endearing, forgivable manner.
Despite appearances, Santa is not strangling his mam in this 1919 postcard. (Image: Wikipedia)
This “Mrs Claus delivers gift while Santa is indisposed” trope was created in a 1914 one-act comedic beat entitled Mrs. Santa Claus, Militant. In this story, Mrs. Claus walk rogue and steals the sleigh when Santa sleeps, having obtained fed up v receiving no acknowledgment for her tough work:
Here ns sit year after ~ year in Iceland dressing dolls and also making liquid bags and aprons and slippers and caps and what-not, and when they room all done Mr. Santa Claus just packs them in his sleigh and also hitches his deer and away he goes to have actually all the fun and all the thanks. (Laughs merrily.)
Having discovered her ruse and also chased she down, Santa resolves to take Mrs Claus—whom he refers to as “my helpmate”—along because that the ride on all future Christmas deliveries. A similar storyline unfolds in the 1923 book The good Adventure of Mrs. Santa Claus, as well as the 1963 poem, ”How Mrs. Santa Claus saved Christmas,“ in which the “cozy, rosy, grandmotherly” mrs accidentally it is intended “ribbons come tomboys” and toy dump trucks to doll-loving girls. In every one of these works, Mrs. Claus stays unnamed.
The most radical image change for Mrs. Claus come in the 1970 Rankin/Bass stop-motion Christmas special Santa Claus is Comin’ come Town. The regimen tells the story of Kris Kringle, a plucky redheaded man voiced through Mickey Rooney that goes ~ above to come to be Santa Claus. In the tale, Kringle travel to Sombertown, a grey-hued bummer that a place in which toys have been outlawed. There he meets a college teacher named miss out on Jessica who will eventually end up being his Mrs. Claus. Santa’s main squeeze goes from being a kindly, put-upon grandmother type come a fetching young fashionista with a real first name and also a sleek red Vidal Sassoon-style coif.
Miss Jessica; future Mrs. Claus. (Screenshot from Santa Claus is Comin’ come Town)
The Rankin/Bass depiction of Mrs. Claus as a i know good chick through a beehive is something of one anomaly, however it did usher in stories the Mrs. Claus that give her a fuller life of her own. The 21st century has actually thus far presented a higher appreciation for Mrs. Claus as key character in books like A little bit of Applause because that Mrs. Claus (2003), The Story of Mrs. Santa Claus (2007), and What walk Mrs. Claus Do? (2008).
As for her name, Mrs. Claus was called Anna in a 1996 made-for-TV film starring Angela Lansbury–though the title of the film was Mrs. Santa Claus. (The plot likewise follows the same old “Mrs. Claus, emotion neglected, takes the sleigh the end for a joyride” story.) A 2011 children’s book about the beginning story that Mrs. Claus dubbed her Annalina, if in Jeff Guinn’s 2006 book, The Autobiography of Santa Claus, Santa refers to his wife as Layla.
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“She’s a much an ext interesting human than the meek little lady people usually picture,” that assures.