Santa Claus Worldwide distills the cheerful essence of Christmas from many sources and studies, old and new. In addition to his wide reading, author Tom A. Jerman has brought a wealth of personal experience
Italy’s Le Befana, the Christmas witch, is shown here in two separate paintings. Befana was probably inspired by the German goddess Berchta, who, like Befana, flew down chimneys to deliver gifts to deserving children on Epiphany, January 6. Befana’s back story is that she was asked by the Biblical Magi to join them in visiting the newborn Jesus but declined to do so; upon realizing her mistake, she has spent two thousand years delivering gifts to children of the world.