The character Santa Claus is roughly based on the real person St. Nicholas, a 4th century bishop in modern-day Turkey.

While Santa Claus has a team of elves who make gifts which he then delivers to children around the world with the help of magical flying reindeer, St. Nicholas is best known for his generosity, orthodoxy, and the fact that he apparently punched the heretic Arius at the council of Nicaea.

We all know what Santa Claus is supposed to look like. But how did the original St. Nick look?

A team of scholars at Liverpool John Moores University used “Turkish tissue depth data and CGI techniques… [to] depict the face of a middle-aged man with a long grey beard, round head and square jaw.” They also took into account the fact that St. Nicholas apparently had a broken, asymmetrical nose.

The result? The best guess at what the real St. Nicholas looked like:


The image was shown publicly for the first time at St. Nicholas Catholic Primary School, located next to LJMU’s School of Art and Design.

Share this post