Santa was a Vanir

by Morgan Holmes

This Christmas day reminds of the years in REHupa when Rick McCollum would draw one his “Santa was a Vanir” illustrations. One year he had Santa as biker type with battle axe, another year had Santa naked wearing a reindeer skull helmet doing battle with a bunch of elves. Almost as good as the time Rick had a drawing of L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter as sorcerers of Acheron. De Camp was drawn with female breasts in that one.

Seabury Quinn wrote a story called “Roads” for the January 1938 issue of Weird Tales. That is one of his better stories wherein Santa Claus is originally Klaus, a Germanic warrior in the Roman Legions. He is present at Christ’s crucifixion and given immortality for having mercy on Jesus. Quinn was on to something but Santa Claus’ origins go back millennia.

He was right that Claus was originally Klaus or some proto-Teutonic name like that but — Klaus was a Vanir born at the end of the Hyborian Age. He was part of the band of Vanir who cut their way down through the Pictish Wilderness finally ending up in Stygia. He took part in the overthrow of Stygia but was seduced by the history of sorcery in that land. Expelled for delving too much into monstrous elder lore, he made his way back north.

His “elves” are actually mongoloid dwarves found in “Children of the Night” and “People of the Dark.” How is he able to deliver all those toys on one night? The answer is obvious, he is using some sort of time dilator using arcane science originated by Yog Sothoth described by H. P. Lovecraft. He has obviously made some sort of pact with the Ice Demon described by Clark Ashton Smith in order to live in polar wastelands.

Be careful with those toys he brings when the stars are right…