We have come across a number of legends associated with Christmas, which also entail some interesting characters. These characters of Christmas have their origins in the ancient past, some of which existed even before the birth of Jesus Christ. As time passed by, most of these figures went through several transformations. The Yule Goat, for instance, is among the oldest Christmas characters and has a Scandinavian origin. In the beginning, it stood for the sacrifices of goats that were made during the Germanic pagan festival of Yule. However, later the Yule Goat took the form of a Christmas character and is now a goat-like figure made of straw, which is kept under the Christmas tree. Santa Claus, who is now almost synonymous to Christmas, is based on a saint who existed in the 4th century and was known as Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was a follower of Jesus Christ and used to deliver secret gifts to the needy. Later, his deeds and legends gave way for the legend of the gift-giving Santa Claus whose name is just a deviation from the saint's name. It isn't just ancient rituals and real people who have become part of Christmas characters though. 'Rudolph, the red nose reindeer' is a fictional character who made its first appearance in 1939 in a booklet written by Robert May, and has become indispensable to Christmas ever since.
So, these characters, as we see, have either descended from ancient rituals, actual people or were created to entertain children. Irrespective of all, these figures have gained popularity over a period of time and all have now become an essential part of Christmas.