When we are young children, we are told about Santa's existence. Later, when we're about seven years old (or maybe seventeen!) we find out that he's really just a fictional character. And some kind of way, as parents, we can justify lying to children for the first Ten yrs of their existence, yet it is inexcusable when those same children lie to us during adolescents. And then we learn that, he doesn't exist now, but he used to. Even though St. Nicholas is our inspiration for creating Santa Claus the image and characteristics of Santa come from Odin and His Mighty Horse:
Odin, the ruler of Asgard was one of the major deities among the early Germanic tribes. A number of Odin's escapades parallel those of the figure who would become Santa Claus. Odin was depicted as leading a hunting party through the skies, while riding his eight-legged horse, named Sleipnir. Sleipnir is described as being able to leap great distances, which some scholars have compared to the legends of Santa's reindeer. Odin was typically portrayed as an old man with a long, white beard -- much like St. Nicholas himself.
During the winter, children placed their boots near the chimney, filling them with carrots or straw as a gift for Sleipnir. As a reward, when Odin flew by, gifts were left in the boots. This practice survived despite the adoption of Christianity, in several Germanic countries. As a result, of the adoption of Christianity the gift-giving became associated with St. Nicholas.
The Dutch settlers, whom settled in New Amsterdam (now New York), brought with them their practice of leaving shoes out for St. Nicholas to fill with gifts. They also brought the name Sinterklaas, which over time morphed into Santa Claus. Although a the Dutch version of St. Nicholas was written about by author Washington Irving around 1809, it was about 15 years later that the figure of Santa as we know it today was introduced.
So the next time your teenager breaks curfew and then lies about it, before you become infuriated remember all the lies that you thought it was ok to pass on to the young and innocent child (Christmas and Santa Claus aren't the only ones [Easter bunny]).