Santa Claus, alternatively named Saint Nicholas or Kris Kringle, is a legendary figure of Western culture and international symbol of Christmas. He is commonly depicted as a portly, joyous old man in a red-and-white outfit who brings Christmas gifts to the homes of well-behaved children and children at heart, as determined by lists of people throughout the world whom he categorizes according to their conduct. He delivers Christmas presents, toys, and candy to every well-behaved person in the world, and coal to all those who have misbehaved, on the night of Christmas Eve; he accomplishes this feat with the aid of his wife, Mrs. Claus, his elves at the North Pole, and a sleigh pulled by Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and eight flying reindeer.
History with the Macy's Parade
Santa Claus has generally appeared at the end of every Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade since the event's introduction in 1924, with his arrival into Herald Square marking the start of Christmas and the holiday season. At the end of the first parade, the Jolly Old Elf was enthroned on the balcony at the entrance to the Macy's department store on 34th Street, where he was crowned "King of the Kiddies." The only Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade that Santa has not ended with is the 9th annual parade, from 1932, in which he instead led the convoy of marchers riding on the Herald Square Express.
In addition to his live appearances at the conclusion of the parade, he was briefly given a balloon likeness which debuted in 1939. The balloon made subsequent appearances in 1940 and 1941. But during the 1941 Parade, the balloon leaked helium and collapsed to the ground when it reached 106th Street which may have been the reason for his retirement. The balloon along with many others were scrapped and donated as portions of the 650 pounds of rubber donated to war efforts during the United State's involvement with World War II.
In 2009, a novelty balloon created by Robin Hall called Big Man Santa debuted and appeared in the various editions of Macy's Holiday Parade in Universal Studios Florida, which was loosely based on the 1940's Santa Claus balloon.