At the time of the writing of Charles Dickens', A Christmas Carol, "scrooge" was a slang word synonymous with the word, "squeeze". And "a humbug" was a person who put on false airs as in a person who behaves as if everything is rosy when his life is anything but. What Scrooge disapproved of was the false display of gaiety and good will from people who behaved otherwise the rest of the year.

mike_2000_17 commented: Cool! +0

Then by that definition, I'm definately scrooge-like. I'm even worse at new year, with all the insincerity that brings!

That's a really interesting original definition. No wonder it got twisted into meaning a cheap and miserable man. Nobody likes to be told that they are hypocrites, they prefer to say that the guy who points it out is a miserable fool.

Santa Claus is based on St. Nicholas of Myra. He was a 5-foot-tall Greek man with a broken nose, and lived in modern-day Turkey around A.D. 200 to 300. He was renowned for his generosity, his kindness to children and his amazing boxing skills.

Indeed Reverend Jim, the fact that he came with a steamboat from Spain with oranges and Zwarte Piet, was "invented" in the Netherlands!
The fact that Santa Claus wears his typical red-white suit, comes from Coca-Cola advertising in the beginning of the previous century.

If you check here as well as a few other sources you will see that the modern version of Santa Claus is in fact an amalgam of many old myths/legends/possibly historic figures. Sorta like Robin Hood and Jesus.

My father was born in Canada but both his parents came from the Netherlands in the late 1800s. You are likely familiar with the old threat that bad boys and girls would get a lump of coal in their stockings. In Holland, bad children were told they would get a (not sure of the spelling) slaypee which was a dried turd on a string. Sheesh. At least you can burn coal to stay warm.

Do you recall some of the old ads that used Santa (the modern Coca Cola version) to sell cigarettes?