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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Santa's Evolution

(Click directly on images to enlarge them)

When you think of Santa Claus, what images come to mind? Probably something along the lines of the two graphics immediately below:

Clement Clarke Moore's poem 'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Undated greeting card

Santa Claus (aka St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle) didn't always have such a jolly physical aspect, however.

This article from Smithsonian Magazine offers some fascinating facts and photos. For example, St. Nicholas had this less-than-jolly appearance in 1837:

As portrayed by Robert Walter Weir (1837)

Quite the impish trickster!  Is he bringing gifts — or burglarizing the house?

Read more about Weir's portrayal HERE (a different link from the one above and the one below).

Click HERE to read the article and to see the slideshow of images.


  1. "When you think of Santa Clause, what images come to mind? '

    My childhood, when why Mother took me all over the City to see Santa and all the Christmas displays in the department stores.

  2. I recall the first two pictures taken of me screaming like I was about to lose my life while sitting on Santa's lap! I did get over it, the later ones I looked much happier.

  3. ______ YES SANTA EXISTS ______

    Yes, dear children, Santa Claus is real,
    Even though so many don't agree.
    Sana lives wherever people feel
    Sweet and kind in all sincerity.
    And show their love with understanding gifts,
    Not gaudy, foolish, merely costly things.
    The gift of Recognition often lifts
    A sagging spirit high, and lends it wings.
    Elves aplenty fashion tokens bright as
    Xanadu excursions, jewels and such.
    If connected well, these brings delight. As
    Substitutes for love, they're not worth much.
    The more we spend sometimes the less we give.
    Santa comes to hearts that love to live.

    ~ FreeThinke - The Sandpiper - Christmas, 1995

  4. I was under the impression that Coca Cola was responsible for the modern day Santa.

  5. I'm a HUGE Santa fan and have them all over the downstairs at Christmas time....I've never ever been in any foreign country which didn't connect Joy and Jocularity, candy, toys, etc., with Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Der Weinnachstmann, Pere Noel, etc...never. All jolly, happy, and good...
    Yes, I'd heard he was originated in Turkey, too, which probably makes him Armenian, since so much of Turkey once was. As is St Patrick, according to some scholars. Maybe that's why I LIKE HIM, too? :-)

  6. __________ SANTA CLAUS __________

    He comes in the night! He comes in the night!
    He softly, silently comes;
    While the little brown heads on the pillows so white
    Are dreaming of bugles and drums.

    He cuts through the snow like a ship through the foam,
    While the white flakes around him whirl;
    Who tells him I know not, but he findeth the home
    Of each good little boy and girl.

    His sleigh it is long, and deep, and wide;
    It will carry a host of things,
    While dozens of drums hang over the side,
    With the sticks tied in bundles with strings.

    And yet not the sound of a drum is heard,
    Not a bugle blast is blown,
    As he mounts to the chimney-top like a bird,
    Then descends to the hearth made of stone.

    The little red stockings he quuetly fills,
    Till the stockings will hold no more;
    The bright little sleds for the great snow hills
    He gently sets down on the floor.

    Then Santa Claus mounts to the roof like a bird,
    And glides to his seat in the sleigh;
    Not a sound of a bugle or drum may be heard
    As he noiselessly gallops away.

    He rides to the East, and he rides to the West,
    Of his goodies he touches not one;
    He eateth the crumbs of the Christmas feast
    When the dear little families are done.

    Old Santa Claus doeth all that he can;
    For this generous mission of his;
    So, dear children, be good to the little old man,
    When you find who he really is.

    ~ Anonymous (gently emended by FT)


    Among the earliest saints of old,
    ___ before the first Hegira,
I find the one whose name we hold,
    ___ St. Nicholas of Myra:
The best-beloved name, I guess,
    ___ in sacred nomenclature,—
The patron-saint of helpfulness,
    ___ and friendship, and good-nature.

    A bishop and a preacher too,
    ___ a famous theologian,
He stood against the Arian crew,
    ___ and fought them like a Trojan:

    But when a poor man told his need
    ___ and begged an alms in trouble,
He never asked about his creed,
    ___ but quickly gave him double.


Three pretty maidens, so they say,
    ___ were longing to be married;
But they were paupers, lack-a-day,
    ___ and so the suitors tarried.
St. Nicholas gave each maid a purse
    ___ of golden ducats chinking,
And then, for better or for worse,
    ___ they wedded quick as winking.

    Once, as he sailed, a storm arose;
    ___ wild waves the ship surrounded;
The sailors wept and tore their clothes,
    ___ and shrieked “We'll all be drownded!”
St. Nicholas never turned a hair;
    ___ serenely shone his halo;
He simply said a little prayer,
    ___ and all the billows lay low.

    The wicked keeper of an inn
    ___ had three small urchins taken,

    And cut them up in a pickle-bin,
    ___ and salted them for bacon.
St. Nicholas came and picked them out,
    ___ and put their limbs together,—
They lived, they leaped, they gave a shout,
    ___ “St. Nicholas forever!”


And thus it came to pass, you know,
    ___ that maids without a nickel,
And sailor-lads when tempest blow,
    ___ and children in a pickle,
And every man that's fatherly,
    ___and every kindly matron,
In choosing saints would all agree
    ___ to call St. Nicholas patron.

    He comes again at Christmas-time
    ___ and stirs us up to giving;
He rings the merry bells that chime
    ___ good-will to all the living;
He blesses every friendly deed
    ___ and every free donation;
He sows the secret, golden seed
    ___ of love through all creation.


Our fathers drank to Santa Claus,
    ___ the sixth of each December,
And still we keep his feast,
    ___ because his virtues we remember.
Among the saintly ranks he stood,
    ___ with smiling human features,
And said, “Be good! But not too good
    ___ to love your fellow-creatures!”

    ~ Henry van Dyke (1852-1933)

  8. Henry van Dyke was born on November 10, 1852 in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in the United States. He graduated from Princeton University in 1873 and from Princeton Theological Seminary, 1877 and served as a professor of English literature at Princeton between 1899 and 1923.

    Van Dyke chaired the committee that wrote the first Presbyterian printed liturgy, The Book of Common Worship of 1906. In 1908–09 Dr. van Dyke was an American lecturer at the University of Paris. By appointment of President Wilson, a friend and former classmate of van Dyke, he became Minister to the Netherlands and Luxembourg in 1913. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and received many other honors. Van Dyke was an "ardent foe of the annexation of the Philippines, [and] told his congregation in 1898, 'If we enter the course of foreign conquest, the day is not far distant when we must spend in annual preparation for wars more than the $180,000,000 that we now spend every year in the education of our children for peace.'"[2]

    Among his popular writings are the two Christmas stories, The Other Wise Man (1896) and The First Christmas Tree (1897). Various religious themes of his work are also expressed in his poetry, hymns and the essays collected in Little Rivers (1895) and Fisherman’s Luck (1899). He wrote the lyrics to the popular hymn, "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" (1907), sung to the tune of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy"....



    Saint Nicholas (Greek: Ἅγιος Νικόλαος, Hagios Nikólaos, Latin: Sanctus Nicolaus); (15 March 270 – 6 December 343),[3][4] also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek[5] Bishop of Myra (Demre, part of modern-day Turkey)[6] in Lycia. Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker (Νικόλαος ὁ Θαυματουργός, Nikolaos ho Thaumaturgos). He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, a practice celebrated on his feast day―St Nicholas Day (6 December in Western Christianity and 19 December in Eastern Christianity);[7] and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas, itself from a series of elisions and corruptions of the transliteration of "Saint Nikolaos". His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints.[8] In 1087, part of the relics (about half of the bones) were furtively translated to Bari, in Apulia, Italy; for this reason, he is also known as Nikolaos of Bari. The remaining bones were taken to Venice in 1100.


  10. Thanks to all for the input.

    I am not responding as much as usual because I'm preoccupied with being caught in the medical loop with my own neurological problems, but I am reading all comments.

  11. Twas the Race Incident Before Christmas

    In this update to "Twas the Night Before Christmas", Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton accuse Santa of racism.


  12. Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


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