Many German farmers in the new world also had Saint Nikolaas traditions, but they called him Pelznickel. This word came from "pelz," meaning fur, and "nickel" for Nicholas and so, to them, Saint Nicholas or Pelznickel was a man dressed in fur who came once a year with gifts for good children. Also called Belsnickel the individual has been variously described as thin or portly, and as a man or woman but existed as the angry counterpart of the Christ Kindl. The popularity of Belsnickel and Christ Kindl dwindled as the more popular modern day image of Santa Claus began to take shape.





The Christ Kindl (formally Christkindlein) was Martin Luther's direct answer to St. Nicholas when he banned the Saint from religious households in the 1600s. Christ Kindl, short for small Christ Child, was portrayed as a non gender-specific angelic child wearing long gowns of white carrying small baskets of fruit or candles. After years of mispronunciation in North America, Christ Kindl was corrupted and became "Kris Kringle", eventually another name for Santa Claus.



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