Originally invented by Martin Luther, explicitly to discourage the figure of St. Nicholas, it was adopted in Catholic areas during the 19th century, while it began to be gradually replaced by the secular Weihnachtsmann ("Father Christmas") in Protestant regions.
The Christkind is a sprite-like child, usually depicted with blond hair and angelic wings. Martin Luther intended it to be a reference to the incarnation of Jesus as an infant. It is presumed by some to be so, but seems to be rooted in the Alsatian-born myth of a child bringing gifts to the baby Jesus. Children never see the Christkind, as parents will always tell them that the Christkind just disappeared before they came.
Since the 1990s, the Christkind is facing increasing competition from the Weihnachtsmann in the American version of Santa Claus, simply for the reason that adults dressing up as Santa Claus can be hired to stand in front of department stores, other than the Christkind, which is supposed to be a child and very elusive.
- Kris Kringle a similar figure