There are many well known Christmas characters to be found in festive holiday stories, here are five of the best.

1. Santa Claus

Also known as Saint Nicholas or Kris Kringle, Santa Claus is the father of Christmas and one of the most beloved Christmas characters. There are numerous versions of his history. One tradition can be traced to the 1820s and places Santa Claus at the North Pole living with elves and reindeers. Then there’s Saint Nicholas of Myra, a 4th century Greek Christian bishop famous for his generous gifts to the poor or the legend of Father Christmas which dates back as far as the16th century in England during the reign of Henry VIII, when he was pictured as a large man in green or scarlet robes lined with fur. But be assured, he knows if you’ve been naughty or nice.

2. The Little Drummer Boy

“Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum”… The Little Drummer Boy is from a Christmas song composed by Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onoratiand Harry Simeone in 1958. It reminds us all that you don’t have to have money or gifts to celebrate during this season,after all, the little drummer boy had “no gift to bring, that’s fit to give the King.” Instead, he says, “I played my drum for Him, I played my best for Him.”

3. Ebenezer Scrooge

Ebenezer Scrooge was created by Charles Dickens.In A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer is a miserable man renowned for his phrase “Bah!Humbug!” When he is visited by three Christmas spirits – the ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of Christmas present and the ghost of Christmas yet to come, he changes his ways and becomes a better person. A story with a moral message!

4. Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer

This fictional reindeer (although I suspect there may be a few red nosed reindeers in the world) was created by Robert L. May to lead Santa’s sleigh. He was the smallest among the reindeer but saved the day on one dark night when his nose lit up and led the way, so to speak.

5. The Little Match Girl

The Little Match Girl is a sad tale written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1845. It tells of a little girl outside on a cold New Year’s Eve selling matches in the street. She lights the matches to warm herself, each time seeing visions of Christmas and families. As she lights her final match, she sees the vision of her kindly grandmother and when she runs out of matches, the child dies and her grandmother carries her soul to Heaven. That’s cheered you up hasn’t it?

Can you help us get to 20? Tell us your favorite characters in the comments!