Christmas at Pioneer: Saint Nicholas becomes Santa Claus

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pioneer villageWho was St. Nicholas? When was he born? Why do we call him “Santa Claus” today? Why did his home move from Turkey to the North Pole? These and many other questions will be answered when you and your family come to Pioneer Living History Museum this Christmas Season.

On Saturday, Dec. 18, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Arizona’s Pioneer Living History Museum is having a special Christmas party, just for you and your family. Nine different houses or buildings will be delightfully decorated to put you into the Christmas Spirit. There will be docents in each of the buildings to read a special portion of St. Nicholas’ biography for all good boys and girls.

Guests will follow St. Nick’s story from early admiration, through troubled times, to his transformation into a modern icon. They will learn why the date of celebration moved from Dec. 6 to Dec. 25. They will also follow the transformation of his image and name through many countries and cultures as St. Nicholas evolved into Santa Claus.

The tenth and final stop will be the Opera House, where refreshments, crafts, and visits with Santa will provide a festive conclusion to the visit. You and your family will be able to create a special Christmas decoration as a keepsake of this special occasion. And don’t forget your camera; there will be ample opportunity at all stops for photos.

Pioneer Living History Museum is located in the North Valley and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Exit I-17 at Pioneer exit 225, just south of Daisy Mountain and north of Carefree Highway. Entrance fees are $7 for adults, $5 for students 6-18 years, $6 for seniors 60 and over. Children under 5 years of age are free.