"Here Comes Santa Claus (Down Santa Claus Lane)" was originally written and performed by Gene Autry, with music composed by Oakley Haldeman. Autry's original version was a top-10 hit on the pop and country charts; the song would go on to be covered many times in the subsequent decades by artists such as Doris Day, Elvis Presley, and Alvin and the Chipmunks.
What makes Eliot's verses especially memorable is that while they deal with a religious holiday, they speak to a very secular concern: our struggle to hold on to our inborn capacity for wonder, that same essential faculty that fuels both science and spirituality.
Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honour of the deity Saturn. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving. As the Roman Empire came under Christian rule, many of its customs were recast into or at least influenced the seasonal celebrations surrounding Christmas.