22 December 2009

The Origin of Santa Claus

The first rendering of Santa Claus, published in 1863 in Harper’s Weekly  of New York, showed a hefty little gnome entering a chimney. He issued from the hand of the artist Thomas Nast, vaguely inspired by the legend of Saint Nicholas.
Christmas of 1930 saw Santa Claus working for Coca-Cola. Before then he did wear a suit and generally preferred to wear blue or green. The artist Haddon Sundbloom dressed him in the company colors, bright red with white piping, and gave him the features familiar to us all. Every child’s friend has a white beard, laughs all the time, travels by sleigh, and is so plump that no one can figure out how he gets down the world’s chimneys loaded with presents and carrying a Coke in each hand.
Neither can anyone figure out what he has to do with the birth of Christ.