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									TITLE: Who is Santa Claus? • • • • Santa Claus reflects culture and society at a given moment in time. Gift bringer to children who rewards the good and punishes the bad. Fat little man in red suit, fur trimmed cap Salesman

Sources: "The Winter Solstice", “The Truth About Christmas”, and Nissenbaum's "The Battle For Christmas".

343 A.D. - Saint Nicholas of Patara, a third-century Bishop of Myra. (Bishop of Myra was consecrated to become Saint Nicholas)

Source: Repartee Gallery.com <http://www.reparteegallery.com/jclist.php> (Accessed November 26, 2005)

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Bishop of Myra was consecrated to become Saint Nicholas. Turkish Bishop regarded as a representative of God. Patron Saint of Sailors, Marriageable Maidens, and Children Nicholas means “Hero of the people” in Greek. From an early age, Nicholas felt he had been gifted the ability to see people in danger, hear their cries for help, and go to their aid. He took no credit for gifts; he felt it was simply God’s will. Parents taught him to be modest and think of others before himself. Orphaned at 12 and gave most of his inheritance to charity. Generous gift giver who anonymously gave gifts to the poor. o His charitable contributions included secretly giving three poor daughters of a pious Christian each a dowry so that they wouldn’t be forced into prostitution. Would sneak in at night and leave food and money in shoes and stockings of the less fortunate children. This may have started the tradition of children hanging stockings on the mantle. Ordained as a priest at 19 years old after a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. His good works inspired more people to join the Christian Church. After his death on December 6, 343 A.D., people began to regard him as a Saint. o A Saint is appointed after dying and going to heaven if he or she is still able to help people on earth. By 800 A.D., the Eastern Catholic Church recognized Nicholas as a Saint.

Sinter Klaas (Sinter Claes)

SOURCE: Giblin, James Cross. The Truth About Santa Claus. Crowell: New York. 1985 p. 37

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In Holland, more than 23 churches were named for St. Nicholas by the end of the 1100’s. These churches filled three wooden shoes with coins collected for the poor and placed them beside the front door of the church. The shoes symbolized the three bags of gold given anonymously to a poor man for his three daughter’s dowries. Dutch children began to leave their empty wooden shoes by the fireside on St. Nicholas Eve hoping the saint would fill them with small gifts. According to Dutch tradition, he comes alive and returns to earth every St. Nicholas Eve, December 5th. Wore red bishop’s robes and rode through the countryside on a magnificent horse. In America, New Amsterdam was seized by the British in 1664, and they renamed it New York. The British residents celebrated Christmas (Father Christmas) instead of St. Nicholas Day. Dutch residents continued to believe in St. Nicholas (otherwise called Sinter Claes or Sinterklaas). British and Dutch colonists intermarried and Sinter Claes and Father Christmas blended into a single gift-bringer. By the end of the revolutionary war in 1783, he had acquired a new American name: Santa Claus.

SOURCE: Matthews, John and Caitlin. "The Winter Solstice". Godsfield Press. 1998 p 116.

1809 Book - Washington Irving's "Father Knickerbocker's History of New York" "Diedrich Knickerbocker's History of New York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty".

SOURCE: Nissenbaum, Stephen. The Battle for Christmas. Knopf: New York. 1996. p 80

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In 1809, Washington Irving published books depicting St. Nicholas riding over houses on a horse-drawn sleigh. Featured St Nicholas giving gifts to good children and birch rods to bad children, putting a finger on his nose, and a smoking a long Dutch pipe. o Putting one finger to the side of your nose is an ancient Celtic signal of shamanic "knowledge". o Irving writes in "The Pipe Plot, and the Rise of Feuds and Parties" that long pipes and short pipes signify the different social classes; the aristocrats (Long Pipes), and the lower order (Short Pipes). He had a desire to redress the violent behaviour of people during Christmas and steer it towards a children focused holiday and more consumer oriented economy. St. Nicholas makes a brief appearance during a dream one of the characters has. The saint came riding over the treetops in the same horse-drawn wagon he uses to bring his yearly presents to children. After landing, he lights his long Dutch pipe, and reveals a vision of New York to the startled character. Then he puts out his pipe, climbs into his wagon, flies up above the trees, and disappears. Influenced Clement Clark Moore’s famous poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, also referred to as “The Night before Christmas”.

1810 Broadside – John Pintard’s “St. Nicholas”

SOURCE: Giblin, James Cross. The Truth About Santa Claus. Crowell: New York. 1985 p. 44 (courtesy The New-York Historical Society)

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John Pintard was the founder of the New York Historical Society in 1804. Pintard created a version of St. Nicholas as both the icon of the Society, and the Patron Saint of New York City. On December 6, 1810, he persuaded the society to give a festive anniversary dinner in honour of St. Nicholas. o Pintard commissioned this Broadside at his own expense, illustrated by Alexander Anderson. The broadside features St. Nicholas bringing gifts to the good children, and birch rods to the bad.

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o The society toasted St. Nicholas, and presenters recited stories of the saint’s miracles. The event was so popular the Historical Society holds it every year. Pintard also founded the Society for the Prevention of Pauperism. From 1810-1830, he began to created “invented traditions” to be celebrated with his own social class. He wanted Santa Claus to unify New York and have him represent a historical symbol that Americans could love, cherish and respect.

1821 Poem - "The Children's Friend: A New Year's Present, to Little Ones from Five to Twelve"

SOURCE: Giblin, James Cross. The Truth About Santa Claus. Crowell: New York. 1985 p. 48

SOURCE: Nissenbaum, Stephen. The Battle for Christmas. Knopf: New York. 1996. p 74

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1821 Poem established red suit with hat that said “Sante Claus”, a bulging sack of toys, and the ability to cover vast distances in one night. Solitary reindeer drove his sleigh. Christmas is considered the “Children’s Day of Judgment”. The poem begins: "Old Santeclaus with much delight His reindeer drives this frost night O'er chimney-tops and tracks of snow To bring his yearly gifts to you." The poem ends: "But where I find the children naughty, In manners rude, in temper haughty, Thankless to parents, liars, swearers, Boxers, or cheats or base tale-bearers, I left a long, black, birchen rod, Such, as the dread command of GOD, Directs a Parent’s hand to use, When virtue’s path his sons refuse.”

1822 Poem - Clement Clark Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas"

SOURCE: Giblin, James Cross. The Truth About Santa Claus. Crowell: New York. 1985 p. 50 (Illustration by T.C. Boyd for the first illustrated edition of “A Visit from St. Nicholas")

Clement Clark Moore's 1822 poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" Opening lines of poem: " 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not event a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there." • • • • • • Poem inspired by the fat, jolly old Dutch handyman who used to work in the Moore family’s estate. Sleigh and reindeer idea came from “The Children’s Friend” poem, but he changed it to “eight tiny reindeer”. Comes down the chimney, shortened pipe to make Santa less class oriented and more family oriented. Moore created a Santa that looked like an average man and was no longer seen as a high class figure. Poem was influenced by Washington Irving's "Father Knickerbocker's History of New York" Made St. Nicholas more benevolent and looking like an elf dressed in fur and covered in soot.

Excerpt from: “The Night Before Christmas” He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all covered in ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. His eyes how they twinkled! His dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow. The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath. He had a broad face and a little round belly That shook, when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

1860-1881 Thomas Nast Illustrations

SOURCE: Matthews, John and Caitlin Matthews. The Winter Solstice. Quest Books: USA 1998. p. 133


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In 1863-1886, with the growing interest in Christmas and Santa Claus, a well-known political cartoonist Thomas Nast began a yearly issued collection of drawings illustrating Santa Claus. o His first picture for the Christmas issue of Harper’s Weekly magazine showed a short, small Santa dressed entirely in fur, white beard, and a twinkling smile. Pipe becomes long again. o Drawings depicted Santa’s Workshop with old fashioned tools o Santa kept records of good and bad children, and answered stacks of letters that children wrote to him. o Nast was known for using many red, green and gold colors in his illustrations, which are the colors and style that we are most familiar with today. In 1864, during the Civil War, Santa wore a star-covered jacket and striped trousers as he handed out gifts to Unions soldiers. In 1882, the British, Russian and Scandinavians were competing to be the first to reach the North Pole. Nast was the first to depict Santa at the North Pole. In 1890, Nast’s holiday pictures for Harper’s Weekly were published in a book entitled “Christmas drawings for the human race” that popularized the images of Santa Claus we have today.

Modern Day Santa Claus

SOURCE: <http://images.picsearch.com/is?110631402961> (Accessed November 26, 2005)

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By the 20th Century, the image of Santa Claus was everywhere. In the early 1900s, people began to focus on the needs of children, and passed laws that restricted or prohibited child labour. The notion arose that every child had the right to a joyful Christmas. o The Salvation Army Santas collect money in street corners to give presents to poor families. o Santas are hired by department stores to ask children what they wanted for Christmas. Children began to write letters to Santa, which parents intercepted to find out their desires. In 1914, a group called the “Santa Claus Association”, whose chief goal was “to preserve children’s faith in Santa Claus”, volunteered to answer the letters that arrived at the post office. People from New York would donate money to the association to pay for presents of children they felt weren’t likely to receive presents. In 1928, the New York City criticized the business practices of the Association and refused to turn over any more letters. The postal employees organized their own letter-writing campaign, and other groups and localities such as Santa Claus, Indiana joined the campaign.

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The Coca-Cola Company began its Christmas advertising in the 1920s with print ads in magazines like the Saturday Evening Post. In 1931, Haddon Sundblom illustrated his first advertisement for Coca-Cola. o His first model was his friend Lou Prentice, a retired salesman. After Prentice’s death in the late 1940s, Sundblom used himself as a model.

Bibliography Christensen, James C. Repartee Gallery.com. < http://www.reparteegallery.com/jclist.php > (Accessed November 26, 2005) Coca-Cola Company. < http://www2.coca-cola.com/heritage/cokelore_santa.html > (Accessed November 28, 2005) Giblin, James Cross. The Truth About Santa Claus. Crowell: New York. 1985. Hymns and Carols of Christmas. < http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/santa/sundblom_santa.htm > (Accessed November 28, 2005) Law Hacher, Patricia. Ancestry.com He Called for His Pipe, Part 2 < http://www.ancestry.com/learn/library/article.aspx?article=10468 > Accessed November 26, 2005) Nissenbaum, Stephen. The Battle for Christmas: A social and cultural history of Christmas that shows how it was transformed form an unruly carnival season into the quintessential American family holiday. Knopf: New York. 1996. Matthews, John and Caitlin Matthews. The Winter Solstice. Quest Books: USA 1998. Tias Antique Search. < http://images.picsearch.com/is?110631402961 > (Accessed November 26, 2005) Salvation Army. < http://www.salvationarmy.ca/ > (Accessed November 29, 2005)

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