...That's essentially the theory of Jeffrey Vallance, whose story of making this connection in the deep woods of Lapland is pretty compelling.
I like the connections he makes between the Sami "Snömannen," Big Foot, the Grinch, and Santa, though I don't buy his assertion that "Santa Claus, the wildman and Snömannen must spring from the same ancient source." Why, O Why, must such interesting and loose cultural connections always be tied up with one impossible Unifying Theory (Which Is Also Always Ancient)? Isn't the paradox of parallel diversity more intriguing?
I found Vallance's article by way of Cryptomundo, a blog about "cryptozoology (the study of unknown, hidden, and as yet to be verified animals)," by way of a BoingBoing post that featured this family tree, drawn by Vallance:
I'm relieved to see that Vallance's theory includes a hefty dose of humor. But the real reason I'm re-posting this here is because the Wildman family tree includes the Bellsnickle (sic)!
So next time you're out in the woods, kids, don't worry about bears, or even Biggie himself--beware the Belsnickle!