The first Santa Claus Club in the United States was formed in 1946 by World War II veterans to provide gifts for critically ill children in the village of Valatie, New York. It has since grown to the point that on Christmas Eve, a Santa visits every child in the village below the age of 10 and gives him a gift. In this and many other ways, Valatie is representative of small-town America. It is a small community in Columbia County which was settled in 1665 as part of New Amsterdam, the original Dutch settlement in New York. The name Valatie comes from the Dutch “vaaltje” meaning “little falls;” the name comes from the waterfalls on either end of what is now Main Street.