Santa as he appears today is an advertising device created by CocaCola company. His origins lie in history.
Of particular note is his incarnation as St. Nicholas. Translate this into another language - Santa Claus. Santa is not a respelling of Satan, but a Spanish translation of saint - note the towns and cities with Santa in the name (e.g. Santa Barbara).
Santa in his present incarnation does tend to skew the meaning of Christmas into a self-centred greed, rather than a celebration of love.
Santa has appeared in many different incarnations around the world, throughout history.
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