Stephen formed the basis of the modern Santa, but his wife Sophie managed to expand the tradition with innovations still being expanded upon today. Her biggest contribution was the formation of a close knit group of friends and family she playfully called her “elves”.
Sophie enlisted the help of craftsmen and magicians, allowing Santa to become more than just a single person delivering gifts to neighbors in town. Sophie eventually got in the habit of delivering gifts to two towns, and although her one attempt at including a third town did not end well, she began an expansion that would eventually reach across the entire world.
Some would argue Sophie had an even bigger impact on Santa tradition than her husband. She even made his coat, which she herself wore in his memory (as well as a scarf that didn’t catch on, unfortunately). Together, she and Stephen turned a small family tradition into the magic of Santa Clause.