Okay, so I said I wasn't going to post anymore before Xmas. But Loren has a terrific post on the connection between Santa Claus and the Snömannen, Yeti-like creatures believed to inhabit the remote areas of the forest of Lapland:
Old stories of the Wildpeople and Snowmen (Snömannen) are interwoven into those of Santa Claus. The traditional “Wildman of the Middle Ages” was described as a bestial, ape-like creature, with a beard. Its body was covered in thick, matted hair and smelled of a foul odor. The habitat of the wildman was the northern woods, where he lived in a cave or den. His traditional beast of burden was the reindeer. The Wildman shares all these traits with the hairy hominoids we know so well.