So, this is going to seem a little ridiculous, but Santa Claus is a Istari. Like Gandalf.
To the facts:
Both are thousands of years old. Both are “elderly chaps, big grey beard(s) pointy hats.” Also, Santa is “never late….nor is he early; he arrives precisely when he means to” being midnight on Christmas.
This is the semi-joking version of my theory.
In reality, Both Santa and Gandalf are amalgamation of mythological characters, cheifly: Odin of Norse mythology. This is where the elderly bearded thing comes from.
In Middle-Earth, the Istari (or Wizards) generally wandered the world, helping mankind (and Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits) This seems to be exactly what Santa does. Wizards have incredible powers, and can do amazing things. Santa very much does this every year.
Older myths of Santa, when he was still mostly Dutch, said he rode a small cart pulled by a goat. Very much like Gandalf’s Cart. Also, Santa is good with animals. Much like Radagast the Brown. So, perhaps in the 6,000 years since Middle-Earth, Radagast stayed and became something else.
I’m sure Tolkien didn’t want to make an direct correlation between the two, but it is there if you look for it. But there is a lot of correlation between Tolkien’s works and mythology.
This is just a little theory that I have come up with this Christmas season.
Also, if we’re going with Middle-Earth beings, then Santa’s Elves are not Elves. Elves are tall and fair, not short, and stout. So to that end, Santa’s “Elves” would most likely be Hobbits or even Dwarves. Dwarves are good workers.
Santa Claus in tengwar:
Merry Christmas all.