Christmas Lyn

Who Is Santa Claus’ Wife?

Updated February 18, 2024

Who is Santa’s wife? Mrs. Claus, of course! However, the title “Mrs.” doesn’t tell us much about her personality and story.

Mrs. Claus may seem an addition to Santa without a life of her own or any significant role, but that’s far from the truth.

The appearance, age, and name of Mrs. Claus are widely debated.

Some characteristics remain constant, though – Mrs. Claus is inevitably portrayed as a kind and loving person who genuinely cares about her husband.

The truth is, Mrs. Claus is a much more independent and strong character than we’re used to thinking. Mrs. Claus’s origin and further actions showcase her as a smart, brave, and adventurous woman.

Some call Mrs. Claus the symbol of modern feminism. Others view her as an example of the perfect wife.

Cultural references show that she’s both at once, and without her, Christmas wouldn’t be as magical as we’re used to.

What Is Mrs. Claus Like?

Nearly all children around the world know that Santa’s wife is Mrs. Claus or Mother Christmas. Her name is widely debated, but the most common theories are Martha, Mary, and Layla. But what is Mrs. Claus like?

Like Santa himself, Mrs. Claus tends to be portrayed differently depending on the source. However, certain characteristics can be found in most descriptions.

Mrs. Claus is traditionally depicted as an elderly woman with white hair and rosy cheeks, often wearing glasses and a red dress with white fur similar to Santa’s suit.

She’s typically described as a kind-hearted and cheerful person.

Mrs. Claus’ birthday is December 25, i.e., Christmas Day. This may be a coincidence, but many insist she was destined to marry Santa one day.

A Christmas Legend

Mrs. Claus made her first appearance in a short story of American author James Rees called A Christmas Legend, written in 1849. The book narrates an old couple carrying a large, heavy sack on Christmas Eve.

Kind-hearted homeowners give the weary travelers shelter. During a talk, the hosts mention that not the entire family has gathered for Christmas.

Their eldest daughter was missing for a long time, and the poor parents thought she was already dead.

In the morning, children of the family discover an abundance of gifts under the Christmas tree that weren’t prepared by their parents.

In the next moment, the old travelers reappear to the hosts as a young couple. The hosts recognize their long-lost daughter in the old woman they gave shelter to.

The parents are scared and angry at first, not believing what’s happening is real. The father says the man standing next to his daughter is a paramour, but she then replies he’s her loving husband of many years.

The author then explains the pre-history. The girl was young and foolish and fell in love with someone whom her parents didn’t accept.

And so, she left her home in America to England, where her loved one inherited a large estate. She was sending letters to her parents, but they never received any.

Finally, the daughter asks forgiveness, and the parents grant it. They hug, and the story ends.

Although the book clearly hints that the travelers were Mr. and Mrs. Claus, it isn’t told explicitly. Still, it is widely considered to be the first mention of Santa’s wife in print.

Mrs. Claus Gains Popularity

Two years later, in 1851, Mrs. Claus was mentioned again in the Yale Literary Magazine by a student author whose real name we don’t know to this day.

He described the appearance of Santa at a party along with Mrs. Claus, who helped him distribute the gifts.

The concept quickly became popular in America, and Mrs. Claus began appearing in culture more and more often. So, in 1854, she was featured in a Christmas musical in Utica, New York.

In 1862, a reference to Mrs. Claus was made in the Harper’s Weekly, the very magazine that published famous Thomas Nast’s illustrations with Santa’s North Pole village.

A short comic novel, The Metropolites, written in 1864 by Robert St. Clar, describes Mrs. Claus as a woman wearing a red petticoat, an old straw bonnet, and Hessian high boots.

In the 1878 children’s book Lill’s Travels in Santa Claus Land and Other Stories, the main character encounters “a lady sitting by a golden desk, writing in a large book” in Santa’s village.

The woman’s name is Effie, and she works as Santa’s secretary, writing down lists of the good and the bad behaving children.

Throughout the 20th century, Mrs. Claus was often given a more independent role.

The general story was always the same: Santa was either asleep or injured, and his wife had to take his sleigh and dress in his suit to bring children gifts.

In the book How Mrs. Santa Claus Saved Christmas (1960), she is portrayed as an old, kind woman who takes care of Santa and his elves.

A decade later, Rankin/Bass stop-motion Christmas special Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town told the world the story of a school teacher Miss Jessica who later becomes Mrs. Claus.

Over time, the role of Mrs. Claus in Christmas only grew in importance. In the 21st century, she began making more appearances on festivals, in print, and in movies than ever before, even as a standalone character.

In recent years, Mrs. Claus is sometimes depicted much younger than Santa Claus – for instance, in movies Fred Claus and The Christmas Chronicles. Young Mrs. Claus likely had either blonde or red hair.

How Old Is Mrs. Claus?

One of the most common questions in letters to Santa is – how old is Mrs. Claus? Well, like all women, Mrs. Claus is rather modest about her age. It was never mentioned explicitly.

If we consider Mrs. Claus’ first appearance in print as her birthday, she must be a little under 180 years old. However, some sources state that her age is 228 or even 1,139 years.

Regardless of Mrs. Claus’ exact age, we know for sure that she’s younger than Santa. Still, many questions remain, such as – why Mrs. Claus doesn’t age like normal people?

That’s a justifiable concern since all sources agree that Mrs. Claus was initially just an ordinary girl. Most likely, Mrs. Claus was granted immortality by the Christmas spirit, just like Santa himself.

Mrs. Claus Role in Christmas

Mrs. Claus is not simply Santa Claus’ wife who stays at home and does nothing apart from cleaning and cooking. She has plenty of responsibilities throughout the year and, particularly, at Christmas time.

First of all, Mrs. Claus takes care of Santa, his elves, and reindeers. She must limit Santa’s cookies intake and ensure he exercises regularly to be able to carry the heavy toy sack.

Since Santa and Mrs. Claus don’t have children of their own, she treats elves like her kids, teaching them what’s right and wrong.

According to Lill’s Travels in Santa Claus Land and Other Stories, Mrs. Santa is also Santa’s secretary. She writes down the names of children around the world along with their behavior and planned gifts.

Sometimes, Mrs. Claus has to take over Santa’s direct duty – bringing gifts to children, for instance, when her husband is sick. In other words, Mrs. Claus is Santa’s right hand.

Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride by Katherine Lee Bates implies that Santa’s worldwide journey wouldn’t be possible if not for Mrs. Claus.

She oversees the workshop, helps to pack the gifts, and gets Santa’s supplies ready for the trip.

Some may wonder – with all these responsibilities, does Mrs. Claus have a life of her own? Well, she didn’t live alone for long compared with how long she’s been with Santa.

But despite being so heavily involved in Christmas preparations for hundreds of years in a row, modern books and movies typically describe Mrs. Claus as a rather independent woman and not simply an addition to Santa Claus.

Mrs. Claus Today

The role of Mrs. Claus in Christmas continues to gain importance, and the perception of her personality tends to change with times, based on cultural, political, and economic shifts.

Mrs. Claus actively joins Santa in his shopping mall meetings with kids and sometimes even replaces him entirely – perhaps, letting her beloved husband rest and get ready for Christmas Eve.

In some of the recent movies, Mrs. Claus reflects public concerns over inequality, raising the topic of diversity. For instance, in the 2020 movie Fatman, she’s portrayed as a black woman performed by Marianne Jean Baptiste.

In the 2018 movie The Christmas Chronicles, Mrs. Claus is played by Goldie Hawn and depicted as a white witch rather than an ordinary person.

Sometimes, Mrs. Claus appears in TV commercials. For example, Boost Mobile’s ad has raised some criticism by portraying her in bed with a snowman, and the Marks and Spencer 2016 campaign showcased her riding a hi-tech snowmobile, delivering gifts to children.

Some activists insist that Mrs. Claus is the ultimate feminist figure. Her surging popularity, more independent role and frequent appearances in the media showcase the changing perception and role of women in society.

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