JESS: Actually, I came down the chimney and pulled a Santa Claus.
Jess refers to Santa Claus delivering gifts by coming down the chimney, a common tradition in many European countries. It probably pre-dates Christianity, as in Germanic legend, the Norse god Odin was said to bring gifts down the chimney at Yuletide, and in folklore elves and fairies brought gifts down the chimney to leave on the hearth. The fireside and hearth has been held sacred since ancient times, probably since humans began using fire.
Santa Claus coming down the chimney became part of American tradition upon the publication of the 1823 poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas, by Clement Clarke Moore, which begins, “’Twas the night before Christmas …”. Enormously popular, it had a massive effect on Christmas traditions in the US, many of which can be dated to the publication of the poem.
Jess is quick to counter Lorelai’s suggestion that he broke into their house to steal the bracelet by instead aligning himself with a benevolent figure who actually brings gifts, rather than steals them. Jess does the right thing in returning the bracelet as soon as he can, but gets nothing but grief for it.
EDIT: Edited to change a Jeff to a Jess, thank you to Carol Stamm for help in my battle with autocorrect. Otherwise we’d all be reading about Laurel Gilmore and her daughter Dory, in the little town of Tars Hello.