Kris Kringle

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An 1893 depiction of Kris Kringle or the Christkind (proper noun, sense 1)

Borrowed in a modified form from Pennsylvania German Christ-kinkle, from German Christkindl ((dialectal diminutive) Christ Child), Christkind (Christ Child), from Christ (Christ) + Kindl (dialectal diminutive), Kind (child).[1]


Proper noun[edit]

Kris Kringle (plural Kris Kringles) (chiefly US)

  1. Synonym of Christkind (a personification of the baby Jesus who, in German-speaking parts of Europe, takes the place of Santa Claus in bringing gifts to people at Christmastime)
    • 1937, Emma Hackett Knox, “Holidays”, in The Story of the Old Homestead: (The Smith-Hackett Homestead), [Rahway, N.J.]: Privately printed [by Quinn & Boden Co.], OCLC 8712644, part II (The Owners and the Families that have Lived on the Old Homestead), pages 205–206:
      The Dutch of New Netherlands called the good giver of gifts, Kriss Kringle, the Christ Child, and the name came into our family vocabulary through our Dutch ancestor, Great-grandfather Wible.
    • 1977, Norbert Krapf, editor, Finding the Grain: Pioneer Journals, Franconian Folktales, Ancestral Poems, Jasper, Ind.: Dubois County Historical Society and Herald Printing, →ISBN, page 13:
      The Germans brought to the county not only their skills but customs that we still see followed throughout the area. Some of these were the celebrating of Bels Nichol or Kris Kringel on the eve of St. Nicholas' feast in December; [...]
  2. Synonym of Santa Claus
    • 1842, “Introduction”, in Saint Nicholas’s Book for All Good Boys and Girls, Philadelphia, Pa.: Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., OCLC 12305485; quoted in Alfred L[ewis] Shoemaker, “[Woodstove Christmases] Christ-Kindel to Kriss Kringle”, in Christmas in Pennsylvania, 50th anniversary edition, Lanham, Md.: Globe Pequot Press, 2009, →ISBN, page 60:
      Now is not "Kriss Kingle" a nice, fat, good-humored looking man. See how eagerly those little boys embrace him, hoping that he will give them some nice little present or other. Mr. "Kriss Kingle" loves good little boys and girls, and if they behave and mind what their parents tell them, they may rest assured that he will pay them a visit, and leave them something nice, as a reward for their good behaviour.
    • 1847, “Advertisement”, in Kriss Kringle’s Christmas Tree. A Holiday Present for Boys and Girls, Philadelphia, Pa.: Published by Grigg & Elliot, OCLC 51961252:
      The practice of hanging up stockings in the chimney corner for Kriss Kringle to fill with toys, pretty books, bon-bons, &c., for good children, is being superseded by that of placing a Christmas Tree on the table to await the annual visit of the worthy Santa Klaus.
    • 1853 February, P. L., “Home and Its Recollections”, in D[avis] W[asgatt] Clark, editor, The Ladies’ Repository: A Monthly Periodical, Devoted to Literature and Religion, volume XIII, Cincinnati, Oh.: L. Swormstedt and A. Poe; [], OCLC 247142692, page 74, column 2:
      In the New-Year's days of "the winters long ago," many was the romp I had with little Fanny. Gay and ringing—clear as bells of silver—was her New-Year laugh, as she peered into her stocking, in the early morning, and found the hundred beloved knickknackeries that the fabled Kris Kringle used to put there—so fond of the dear little creature was this bearded old friend of infancy.
    • 1878, Leonard Kip, “St. Nicholas and the Gnome”, in Hannibal’s Man and Other Tales. The Argus Christmas Stories, Albany, N.Y.: The Argus Company, printers, OCLC 14714373, chapter III, page 331:
      What if that other room, also, had its Christmas tree? What if in every room these evidences of Kriss Kringle’s more enterprising handiwork had already been obtruded?
    • 1947, Valentine Davies, chapter 10, in Miracle on 34th Street, New York, N.Y.: Harcourt, Brace and Company, OCLC 939904169, page 63:
      "The symbolic figure of Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, or Kris Kringle," he began, "represents a classic expression of the wishful dreaming of all children. He is the omnipotent Giver, the generous Father. Mature adults who seek to perpetrate this myth reveal themselves as incomplete and neurotic personalities. They are clinging to infantile fantasies and show themselves unable to face reality."
    • 1976, Good Housekeeping, volume 183, New York, N.Y.: Hearst Magazines, ISSN 0017-209X, OCLC 658990223, page 76:
      In Germany, Santa has long been known as "Kriss Kringel" (derived from Christ Child). In America, the name is still used by the Pennsylvania Dutch.
    • 2000, E[ugene] F[orrest] Shelby, “The Antisanta”, in Gothic Alaskan and Other Stories: Bad Horror from the Dark Subcontinent, Lincoln, Neb.: Writers Club Press, iUniverse, →ISBN, page 198:
      “I find it appalling that Kriss Kringel’s brother could be so cold-hearted about Christmas,” said Bartoli.
    • 2004, Ballooning, volume 37, San Luis Obispo, Calif.: Balloon Federation of America, ISSN 0194-6854, OCLC 4944418, page 26:
      Standing in the reception was a tall older man with a big bushy white beard that looked exactly like Kris Kringel in Miracle on 42nd Street.[sic – meaning Miracle on 34th Street]
    • 2006, Mike Thaler, “Deck the Mall”, in The Christmas Party from the Black Lagoon (Black Lagoon Adventures; 9), New York, N.Y.: Scholastic, →ISBN, page 16:
      The mall is brimming over with Christmas spirit. There are forty Santas—short ones, tall ones, smiling ones, and grouchy ones. [...] It's full of crisp jingles and Kris Kringles—and it's only November. Christmas seems to come earlier and earlier every year.
    • 2009 June 19, Tony Esposito, chapter 18, in Don’t Ever Leave This Country, Bloomington, Ind.: AuthorHouse, →ISBN, page 116:
      [T]he two fat and jolly voice actors, both with beards and beer bellies, sitting on the edge of the fragile wooden stools, miked up and ready-to-go, looking over the script like a pair of disparaging Kris Kringles; [...]

Alternative forms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



Kris Kringle (plural Kris Kringles)

  1. Synonym of secret Santa (a Christmas tradition where a group of people give anonymous gifts to each other, with each person randomly selected to give a gift to one other person; a person who anonymously gives a present to another in such a gift exchange)
    • 1978, Judy Fletcher, Games: Activities for Your Christian Family (A Nice Place to Live), St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia Publishing House, →ISBN, page 51:
      [A] time is usually set aside for the Kris Kringles to be performed, such as by the end of the week or the month, or by Christmas or Easter. [...] Kris Kringles are kind deeds or little gifts or surprises done for the person whose name was drawn without that person knowing the source of the Kris Kringle.
    • 2011 December 20, Tiffany Hagler-Geard, “Today in Pictures: Dec. 20, 2011”, in ABC News[1], archived from the original on 30 December 2015:
      A Filipino woman looks forward as others raise their gifts during an attempt to break a Guinness world record for the biggest, simultaneous exchange of gifts, or kris kringle, in Manila, Philippines, Dec. 18, 2011.
    • 2014 January 10, Caity Weaver, “Thatz Not Okay: Can an Adult Bring a Potato Gun to a Party?”, in Gawker[2], archived from the original on 4 November 2018:
      We host a yearly After Christmas party for close friends. We always do a Kris Kringle, where everyone brings one present and randomly picks a gift. Everyone agreed on a $20.00 cap.
    • 2014 January 19, “It’s January, and Ireland’s singles are looking for love – so what are the options?”, in[3], archived from the original on 18 April 2019:
      The first month of the year is typically a boon time for dating websites, as singletons people who are single look to start afresh after a month of socialising and family get-togethers in December (who has time to find a soul-mate when there's office Kris Kringle presents to buy?).
    • 2015 December 14, Jason Murphy, “Ho Ho, Oh No: Why Kris Kringles are so Terrible”, in[4], archived from the original on 20 December 2016:
      Christmas is a hard time of year. And what makes it harder is Kris Kringle. As if you didn’t have enough on, now you have to buy a gift under $10 for someone at work who you don't know very well. [...] In an office Kris Kringle, people often don't care, or don't care enough. And it shows. For example, in last year's Kris Kringle, I mistakenly bought some very nice beer for a young guy in the office who turned out not to drink. I had no idea. Sorry again.
    • 2017 December 23, Nicole Briese, “Bill Gates Upheld His Title as the Best Secret Santa Ever with this Sweet Charitable Gift”, in Brit + Co[5], archived from the original on 6 September 2019:
      Bill Gates does it again! After completely KILLING the Secret Santa game last year by fulfilling gaming-lover Aerrix's wildest console dreams, he's back at it for 2017, playing Kris Kringle to a cat enthusiast named Megan Cummings.
  2. A gift given in a Kris Kringle or secret Santa gift exchange.



  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2022), “Kriss Kringle”, in Online Etymology Dictionary; compare “Kriss Kringle, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1976; “Kringle, Kris, proper n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.

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